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



Sunday, March 26, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Brett Kobernik with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Sunday, March 26, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

Winds continue to blow this morning but have switched from the southwest to the northwest still averaging 20 to 25 along the ridges with gusts into the 60s at the highest locations.  The mountains of northern Utah received around 7 inches of snow overnight that is fairly evenly distributed between the Ogden, Salt Lake, Uinta and the Provo mountains.  Temperatures are in the teens to low 20s.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Yesterday’s wet snow surface should be frozen up pretty good underneath the new snow.  The main concern for today will be fresh wind drifts on top of the old snow surface with the wild card being the strong winds.  Moderate wind speeds from a constant direction almost guarantees a predictable wind slab formation however strong wind speeds from varying directions is much harder to predict which is what we are dealing with today.  The fact is we’ve had new snow accompanied by winds so you should expect any wind affected area to crack out until things are proven otherwise.  Pillowy looking drifts should be obvious.  Listen for hollow sounds under foot while traveling.  If you come across areas that are wind scoured down to the old crust, consider where the new snow has been blown to.  With strong winds many of these new drifts could be quite stout allowing you to stay on top of them but be cautious of these as they may release once you are out on to the middle of them.


Also, the new snow will be sensitive to warming especially the first time or two it becomes damp so as soon as you notice a change in the snow, start thinking wet avalanche activity and adjust your actions accordingly.


Bottom Line:

Most areas have a MODERATE danger today however, with the windy wild card I do need to mention that there are pockets that have a CONSIDERABLE danger.  Some of the fresh drifts have the potential to be large which ups the consequences if you were to trigger one.  The strong winds will make the distribution spotty with most likely places to trigger these on northeast through southeast facing slopes and on the east side of terrain features but watch for wind affected snow on other aspects as well.  There will also be a MODERATE danger of wet avalanche activity at lower elevations and high elevation southeast through west facing aspects as temperatures warm today.


Mountain Weather:

Chances for snow will continue to decrease this morning.  Strong west winds will continue for a few hours then start to taper off toward noon.  Skies will be partly cloudy.  Ridgetop temperatures will get into the mid 20s.  Monday will be partly cloudy with ridgetop high temperatures into the 30s.  Another storm will affect the area Tuesday into Wednesday that looks like it will produce another 6 to 12 inches of snow.


Here is a great link to a web site on avalanche beacon information, created by a person who did independent research and testing of avalanche beacons.

Early birds and snow geeks can catch our 6AM report at 364-1591.

Click here to check out our new online avalanche encyclopedia.

Click HERE for a text only version of the avalanche advisory.

To have this advisory automatically e-mailed to you each day, click HERE.

UDOT also has a highway avalanche control work hotline for Big Cottonwood, Little Cottonwood, and Provo canyons, which is updated as needed. 801-975-4838.

The Wasatch Powderbird Guides did not fly on Saturday and today weather permitting will be in A.F., Cascade with home runs through White Pine.  For more info, call 742-2800.

Please report any backcountry snow and avalanche conditions.  Call (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, email [email protected] or fax 801-524-6301.  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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 Monday morning.  Thanks for calling.