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.


The Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center Home page is: http://www.utahavalanchecenter.com

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Avalanche Information

Wednesday, April 13, 2005  6pm
Good evening, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, April 13, 2005, and its 6pm.  We’ll be putting out updates every few days or as conditions change for the next few weeks.  

Weather Outlook: 
A strong dry cold front will move across northern Utah Wednesday night, followed by a dry westerly flow into the weekend.  Wednesday, the weather was dominated by warm temperatures and strong southwesterly winds.  Many elevations had no overnight freeze Tuesday night, and highs Wednesday were near 40 at 10,000’.  Thursday, temperatures will cool dramatically, dropping into the low teens at 10,000’.  Winds will shift to the northwest, and gradually decrease.  Then, temperatures will warm once again, reaching near freezing at 10,000’ on Friday.     

Avalanche Information:
The classic spring weather is producing classic spring avalanche conditions.  As the temperatures warm each day, the danger of wet sluffs and wet slab avalanches increase, and when the temperatures cool, the snow pack starts to strengthen.  However, there is often a time lag both ways.  Thursday morning, as temperatures cool, the snow surface will start to refreeze.  But it will be just a shallow refreeze, with damp weak snow beneath it.  A slab consisting of a frozen crust sitting on a weak layer of wet snow – it’s a classic recipe for an avalanche.  So just because there is hard snow under your feet, it doesn’t mean the snowpack is stable.  Dig down, and find out how thick that refrozen layer is and what it’s sitting on.  And if the snow becomes wet and sloppy where you are, it’s time to get off of and out from under steep slopes.  Early starts and early finishes are the spring time mantra.  Also be observant of the location of glide cracks, and avoid traveling under them as much as possible, especially during a multiday and night warming trend.  Wednesday’s strong winds may have found a bit of dry snow to drift at the highest elevations, so as always, avoid any drifts of snow on steep slopes.

The avalanche season is not over yet - in many parts of the range, the snowpack is still layered, with a mix of crusts, cold dry snow and wet snow.  As this layered snow pack warms, avalanches will occur.    

The Wasatch Powderbirds will be flying until April 15th.

The advisory on our web page contains a user survey.  Please take a few minutes to complete it so we can better our forecasts for you.  The web site is utahavalanchecenter.com, click on Wasatch Range.

As we’re still putting out avalanche information, if you run across anything we should know about, please call and leave a message at 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or e-mail us at [email protected].  Fax is 524-6301. 

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.

We’ll update this forecast on Friday, and thanks for calling.