Wasatch Cache National Forest
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Avalanche Information

Thursday, April 28, 2005  5:30 pm
Good afternoon, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Thursday, April 28, 2005, and its 5:30 pm.  We’ll issue intermittent afternoon updates as conditions change until around the end of April.  

Current Conditions: 
As the cold front pushed into northern Utah today it dumped in northern Utah with 2.5 inches of water at Tony Grove in the Logan area mountains and 3.6 inches of water on Ben Lomond Peak near Ogden, where most of it came down as rain.  As you can imagine, it caused lots of flooding down low.  As of this writing, I haven’t heard if all the heavy precipitation in the mountains have caused any avalanche problems, but I would suspect that they caused quite a few wet slabs especially at lower elevations.  This morning in the Salt Lake area mountains, there was 6 inches of dense snow on top of a supportable melt freeze crust and some moderate winds up high along the ridges.  It was warm, though, and most of the new snow got pretty wet by mid day, with the rain-snow line around 8,500’.

Mountain Weather:
We have an obviously very juicy convergence zone that is slowly sagging southward and it will be over the Salt Lake area mountains tonight.  It has the potential to produce significant precipitation so you should definitely check the automated weather stations on the web site in the morning before you head out.  We may get another six inches to a foot of snow overnight in at the highest elevations in the Salt Lake area mountains with the rain-snow line starting out around 8,000’ and slowly lowering through the night.  We will definitely have lightning tonight.  By Friday, ridge top temperatures should drop to around 20 degrees tonight with 25 degrees down at 8,000’.  Winds should be moderate from the west and moderate from the northwest by morning.  On Friday and through the weekend, we expect just light snow showers and continued cold and cloudy.  The extended forecast calls for more of the same for the next week or so with a bit of a break on about Wednesday.

Avalanche Information:
This morning, people in the Salt Lake area mountains reported that the new snow was bonding fairly well to the old melt-freeze crust but you could find some localized wind slabs in upper elevation wind exposed terrain that you could get to crack out about a foot deep or so.  When you get out on Friday, we will have more snow to deal with—possibly significantly more snow.  So, as usual, you will need to carefully check how the new snow is behaving by jumping on test slopes, doing slope cuts and simply digging down with your hand.  Also, as always, you should avoid any steep slope with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  Most of these problems are close the surface so they will be relatively easy to see and 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.

Also, if the sun does come out, remember to stay off of and out from underneath steep, sun-exposed slopes as they will almost instantly begin to shed they load of new snow as the cold, dry snow warms up for the first time in the strong spring sun. 

Since we are operating on a reduced staff and there’s not much information coming in this time of year, we won’t 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, don’t 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.

We’ll update this forecast as conditions warrant, and thanks for calling.