Wasatch Cache National Forest
In partnership with: Utah State Parks and Recreation, The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center, Utah Department of Emergency Services and Homeland Security and Salt Lake County.


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Avalanche advisory

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Tuesday March 1, 2005, and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:
The skies are clearing and the little disturbance that moved through last night produced a trace of new snow at most locations and up to 2 in the upper Cottonwoods and Park City Ridgeline. Ridgetop temperatures are around 20 degrees and winds are light from the northwest.

Avalanche Conditions:
There was no avalanche activity reported from the backcountry on Monday. While doing field work yesterday I did note that the snow surface has become very loose with faceted snow and surface hoar that is starting to sluff easily on slopes steeper then around 38 degrees. Sluffing will be the biggest concern today especially in areas that received any measurable new snow from last night.

I noticed that the highest most exposed automated stations recorded some gusts in the 20 to 25 mph range last night which might be enough to form some shallow wind slabs along the highest ridgelines. The consequences if you crack one of these out will not be much but watch for them so you dont get surprised.

The more experienced folks Ive talked with still think its possible to find pockets where you could trigger a slab breaking into older weak snow. The most likely place would be on slopes approaching 40 degrees with a shallow snowpack.

Bottom Line (Salt Lake, Park City, Provo, and Ogden mountains):
The small amount of new snow will not change the danger much. While most terrain is in the LOW danger category, a MODERATE danger exists on mid and upper elevation northwest through east facing slopes approaching 40 degrees with a thinner snowpack. Watch for sluffing on steeper slopes and shallow wind slabs along the highest ridges.

(http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-scale.htm for an explanation of avalanche danger ratings.)

Mountain Weather: (You can find the afternoon Weather Update here.)
Skies will continue to clear today and well return to high pressure. Temperatures wont get real warm with 8000 highs in the mid 30s and 10,000 highs around 20. Ridgetop winds will be 10 to 15 mph from the northwest.

Another system should affect northern Utah Wednesday night into Thursday which could produce 3 to 6 inches of new snow however weather models indicate that this low pressure could close off and drift south and to our west which would give us only a trace to an inch. High pressure will dominate after Thursday and through next week.

Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in American Fork and the Cascade area and today will fly in the Bountiful Sessions, Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, returning through Grizzly or White Pine.

If you have any snow or avalanche observations, call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mailing us at [email protected]. Fax is 524-6301.

UDOT COTTONWOOD CANYONS HOTLINE FOR ROAD CLOSURE AND AVALANCHE CONTROL INFORMATION: 975-4838. We try to update our early morning avalanche activity report by around 5:30 am at 364-1591.

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.

Evelyn Lees will update this advisory by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.

Thanks for calling.

For an explanation of avalanche danger ratings: