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 Information

Wednesday, April 27, 20055:30 pm
Good afternoon, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, April 27, 2005, and its 5:30 pm.Weíll issue intermittent afternoon updates as conditions change until around the end of April.

Current Conditions:
There was a nice refreeze last night with clear skies this morning making for some fine, immature corn.But itís all over now because the next storm is starting to kick in.Moist, unstable air has arrived in Utah and it is currently snowing in the mountains with the rain-snow line around 8,000í.Todayís high temperature was around 50 at 8,000í and near freezing on the ridge tops.The overnight low was near freezing at 8,000í and in the low 20ís along the highest peaks.

Mountain Weather:
This afternoon we return to winter again, or at least cool, wet, springtime weather that looks like it will last for at least the next 10 days or so.The total snowpack depth and the water equivalent in the mountains is the largest it has been since the famous spring of 1983.Thatís the spring where it continued to snow through the first two thirds of May and when it finally warmed up, people were kayaking down State Street.†† Iím not saying that will happen this year, but this cool, wet weather will continue to not only delay the runoff of our very deep snowpack but it will increase the amount of snow.This spring, you can continue to comfortably ski, snowboard and snowmobile in the upper elevations probably into June.If you want to check out some of the impressive statistics and graphs of snowpack as well as stream flows, you can visit the National Weather Service River Forecast Center web site at: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/river/

In the mean time, we will get thunderstorms this afternoon and Thursday with ridge top winds blowing 25-30 from the southwest and ridge top temperatures near freezing. Then, a cold front should arrive on Thursday.We will probably get a foot of snow at higher elevations by Friday afternoon.Thursdayís cold front will cause the ridge top temperatures to drop to the mid teens by Friday morning with ridge top winds turning to the northwest.Then, it looks like continued cloudy and cool with occasional snow showers through the weekend.We may get a break in the action about Wednesday but it should be snowing again the following weekend.

Avalanche Information:
During the warm weather these past couple days, there was the usual number of wet sluffs and occasional wet slabs, but they all seemed to come down without involving any people.As you know, spring is the flip-flopping season.You deal with new snow when itís storming and you instantly deal with wet snow when it gets sunny and warm after the storm.We are now entering the new snow phase again.As usual, as the new snow piles up, you need to first, carefully check how well the new snow is bonded to the underlying melt-freeze crust, second, check to see if there is any weak layers within the new snow, and finally, check to see if the wind has created wind slabs in the new snow.Luckily, you can do all of these things easily by jumping on test slopes, doing slope cuts and simply digging down with your hand.I suspect that most of these problems will be easy to deal with, but if the snow piles up more than a foot deep, especially in wind drifted, steep slopes, things could get more serious.

Since we are operating on a reduced staff and thereís not much information coming in this time of year, we wonít issue any avalanche danger ratings.††

Finally, remember that with the exception of Snowbird, all the ski resorts are closed for the season and they are not doing any avalanche control.So you need to treat them like the backcountry and follow the usual safe-travel ritual, like one-at-a-time, donít travel above other people and get out of the way at the bottom.

We will probably end our avalanche advisories for the season after this weekend.

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.

Weíll update this forecast as conditions warrant, and thanks for calling.