Wasatch Cache National Forest

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Avalanche advisory

Thursday, January 27, 2005

 

Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, January 27, 2005, and itís 7:30 in the morning.

 

This Friday, January 28th, Brett Kobernik will be giving a free avalanche talk at Milosport in Orem at 7 pm.

 

Current Conditions:

The song, ďDing, Dong, the Witch is DeadĒ keeps running through my head.The storm has broken the back of our nasty temperature inversion.Overnight, 4 inches of snow fell in the Cottonwood Canyons with 6 inches at upper elevations of Park City.The snow is a little heavier than 10 percent.The flow is from the south, just like most of our storms this past month.Ridge top temperatures are in the mid 20ís and the upper 20ís down at 8,000í.Ridge top winds are reasonable at around 10 mph from the south.This should freshen things up, and boy do we need it.The old snow surface was a bone-jarring, frozen, sun crust on south facing slopes, tricky crusts on east and west facing slopes and patches of soft, recrystallized snow on wind-sheltered, north facing slopes.

 

Avalanche Conditions:

This new snow shouldnít change the avalanche conditions too much today but as it adds up, things could get more interesting. We have no lack of hard crusts on sun exposed slopes that could provide a slick bed surface, but with the warm temperatures at the start of the storm, I suspect that the new snow will bond fairly well.Iím much more concerned about the north facing slopes where we have some weak, recrystallized snow, which will produce more persistent avalanche problems.Unlike the last storm, the potential weak layers are near the surface, so you can easily check to see how well the new snow is bonded to the old snow surface.Jump on lots of test slopes as you travel and dig down with your hand and pull on the snow to see how well itís bonded.The winds should stay light today but as they pick up tonight and through the weekend, they may create some localized wind slabs especially along the ridges.So as always, avoid any steep slope with recent wind deposits.Iím guessing that we wonít see any more of those big, deep, monster avalanches, but the smart folks are still suspicious of large, mid to upper elevation slopes that face north through east.

 

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo mountains):

Most slopes have a LOW avalanche danger, but the danger will rise to MODERATE as the new snow piles up to more than about six inches, or if the wind picks up and deposits snow into wind drifts.

 

Mountain Weather:

The snow should turn showery for most of the day with 1-3 inches.We have another pulse coming through tonight, which may give us another 6 inches of snow by Friday morning.The pulse this evening should come in on a westerly flow, which should put a more even blanket across the mountains.Then, we have another shot of snow on Saturday.Today, ridge top winds should remain light from the south but they will pick up to around 15 mph from the southwest tonight.Ridge top temperatures will be around 25 today and around freezing at 8,000í.

 

For the extended forecast, it looks like a cold pocket of air will slip down to the east of us later in the weekend and keep our ridgetop winds blowing from the east through the first part of the week with cooler temperatures.Then a high pressure ridge builds over us again through most of next week.

 

Yesterday Powderbird Guides flew in Dayís Fork and Cascade Ridge near Provo.They probably wonít have the visibility to fly today, but if they get out, they will be in Cardiff, Days, Silver and Grizzly Gulch.

 

Snowbird is hosting its 2nd annual Backcountry Avalanche Awareness Week January 31 Ė February 7th as a benefit for the Utah Avalanche Center.On Friday, February 4th, there will be a fundraising dinner at Snowbird with presentations by Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman and also Dave Breashears and Apa Sherpa and Lhapka Rita.On February 5th and 6th, there will be a variety of classes offered at Snowbird.For more information, go to www.backcountryawareness.com.

 

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION: 975-4838.

 

If you see anything we ought to know about please call and leave a message at 524-5304, or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected], remember we canít be everywhere at once, so we depend on people just like you.

 

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content.This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur.

 

Brett Kobernik will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning.

 

Thanks for calling

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For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings:

http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm