In partnership with: The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Public Safety Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management,
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Thursday, November 25, 2004 7:30 Am
morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the
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Skies are overcast this morning and wind speeds increased last night ahead of an approach cold front. Currently, the southwest to northwesterly winds are in the 15 to 25 mph range at most mountain stations, with speeds across the highest peaks in the 30’s with gusts into the 50’s. Temperatures have warmed into the mid 20’s to low 30’s. The mountains received a trace to 2” of snow overnight, and yesterday a few select areas received a brief episode of freezing rain which put a thin glaze of ice on the surface of the snow. Snow surface conditions are about as varied as American polotics – pockets soft, recrystallized powder on shady, wind sheltered slopes, breakable and supportable crusts, wind scour and wind drifts.
The main avalanche concern for today will be any fresh drifts of wind blown snow.
The old snow surface snow is covered with weak faceted crystals and surface hoar on almost all aspects, and I expect any new wind drifts to break under weight of a person. Today, I expect the drifts to be small and pockety. They will be near ridgelines, lower down in open bowls, and often form around terrain features, at breakovers and gully sidewalls. Some may become just large enough to knock you off your feet or take you for a ride if they surprise you or break above you. So avoid any fresh drifts of wind blown snow, especially on steep slopes.
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than about 35 degrees with recent deposits of wind drifted snow. Other slopes have a generally LOW danger. With more wind and snow in the forecast, I expect the avalanche danger to increase significantly tonight and tomorrow.
Today will be a blustery day, with westerly winds in the 20 to 30 mph range, and even stronger across the highest peaks. Temperatures will be near 25 at 10,000’, and the mid 30’s at 8,000’. An inch or two of snow is possible today. The approaching cold front should arrive around sunset, followed by a moist northwest flow through Friday morning. Most of the snow will fall during the night, with 6 to 12” of new snow possible by Friday morning. Areas favored by northwest flow will receive the greater amounts. The ridgetop winds will continue to be in the moderate to strong range through the night. Drier and more stable air will move in Friday afternoon for a break, and the next small system will move in Saturday.
If you are getting out, drop us a line or an email with any reports or observations from the backcountry. You can leave us a message at 524-5304 or 1 800-662-4140. Email us at [email protected], or send 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.