Wasatch Cache National Forest

In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,

Salt Lake County, and Utah State Parks:

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For photos of avalanches and avalanche activity, visit:http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/photos_03-04.htm†††† (Updated 3/25)

Photos sent in by observers throughout the season visit:http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/obphotos/observer.html†††† (Updated 4/2)

For a list of backcountry avalanche activity, visit:http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/Avalanche_List.htm†††† (Updated 3/31)

 

Avalanche INFORMATION - afternoon update

Wednesday, April 28, 20043:30 pm

 

Good afternoon, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with an afternoon update.Today is Wednesday, April 28 and itís 3:30pm.

 

Current Conditions:

Well, well, it looks like spring. I was admiring the wildflowers while I was riding my bike in shorts this morning and Iíll have to shake the snow off the flowers to see them by tonight. At the base of Alta around noon the temperature dropped 20 degrees and itís now 28 degrees. As advertised, we have a strong cold front hitting this afternoon, which will probably give us 6 inches to a foot of snow by morning. It looks like a quick-hitting storm as the center of the low pressure center should park right over the top of us tonight, which will kill most of the winds that can push the moist air up the mountains, and limit the snow amounts that we could get if we had more moderate winds.At least thatís the theory.These lows that come right over the top of us are very tricky.Itís like a brontosaurus doing the whirling dervish while we hide safely under its belly.But all it has to do is move a few feet one way or the other and we get squashed.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

Since Iím issuing this forecast 16 hours ahead of when you will most likely get into the mountains, and the storm is just beginning, Iím afraid itís kind of an if-then kind of situation. If everything goes as planned, then it should snow hard this afternoon, the winds should die down tonight and give the snowpack a chance to settle out by morning and it should be fairly well behaved. If things donít go as planned, most anything can happen. If the strong snow and wind continues all night, it will probably create widespread areas of sensitive soft slabs. So in other words, you will have to carefully evaluate the conditions in the morning. Be sure to check the automated weather stations on the web in the morning to see what happened overnight.Then as you travel, jump on lots of small test slopes and practice good slope cuts before you commit to a big, steep slope. Also, if the sun comes out, it will almost certainly make some widespread areas of damp to wet sluffs on all the steep, sun-exposed slopes.In other words, itís the usual springtime snow storm conditions where you can trigger sensitive dry wind slabs in the morning, or on a shady slope, and get tangled up in wet, point-release goobers in the afternoon, or on a sunny slope.At least all the problems are right on the surface and you can easily test your theories as you travel.Be sure to use all your tools like the aforementioned test slopes and slope cuts as well as dig down with your hand and pull on small blocks and notice the avalanche activity around you.

 

Lastly, remember that except for Snowbird, all of the ski areas are closed Ė therefore, youíll need to treat your favorite resort runs as the backcountry.

 

Mountain Weather:

Depending on the whims of the brontosaurus, he snow should end this evening with 6 inches to a foot of new snow, but like I say thereís a low confidence in this kind of weather pattern. The ridge top temperatures will be chilly on Thursday morning, around the lower 20ís with light winds from the north.Skies should be partly cloudy and then clear and warmer by Friday and the weekend.

 

We will likely issue our last advisory of the season on Friday afternoon.

Backcountry snow and avalanche information is still useful to us.So if youíre still getting out and see anything of interest, leave us a message at 524-5304, 1 800-662-4140, drop us an email at [email protected], or a fax to 524-6301.The information in this advisory is from the US Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

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