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.



Wednesday, April 05, 2006  7:30 am
Good morning, this is Evelyn Lees with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.  Today is Wednesday, April 05, 2006, and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Current Conditions:

It’s another warm and windy morning, with above freezing temperatures at almost every mountain station and temperatures in the balmy 40’s at the 8,500’ level.  The brisk, southerly winds continue to average 20 to 30 mph along the ridges, with gusts into the 40’s.  The snow surface is almost universally warm and damp, with the only dry snow to be found above about 10,500’, on northerly facing slopes.  On many slopes below about 9,000’, the snow is punchy and unsupportable.


Recent Avalanche Activity & Snowpack Discussion:

Yesterday, there were the expected reports of wet sluffs and a few shallow wet slabs.  Today, it continues to be possible to trigger wet loose sluffs on almost any steep slopes in the range.  As these sluffs move down hill, they have the potential to trigger shallow wet slabs or to gouge down, entraining more snow and resulting in deep debris piles.  Rounding out the encyclopedia of wet snow problems, is the potential for glide avalanches and for sensitive cornices to break back much further than expected.  These avalanche problems will be most widespread in terrain that has had above freezing temperatures for 72 hours, including the Odgen area mountains and many of elevations below about 8,500’.  The ability to trigger wet slides will also increase on any slope that receives a significant period of rain today.  Even after temperatures cool this afternoon, the wet snow will take at least an additional day to cool and strengthen.


The cold front should finally arrive around midday, with the snow level dropping to 6 or 7,000’.  As the new snow builds up, the strong southwesterly winds will quickly form new drifts that will be sensitive to the weight of a person on a steep slope.  It will be a different landscape tomorrow, with more widespread new snow and windslab avalanche problems. 


Bottom Line:

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today on all slopes steeper than about 35 degrees.  Due to a prolonged warming trend, human triggered wet sluffs and slab avalanches are possible, especially on any slope that receives significant rain today.  The danger of new snow slides will increase to MODERATE on steep slopes later today as the snow piles up, especially on any wind drifted slopes.  With 1 to 2’ of new snow and moderate winds forecast, the avalanche danger will increase tonight and tomorrow.


Mountain Weather:

The overdue storm continues to creep through Nevada, and the cold front should finally reach the northern mountains by early afternoon.  This morning, a few rain showers are possible, with temperatures in the 40’s at 8,000’ and the 30’s at 10,000’.  Once the cold front arrives, expect a modest burst of precipitation, accompanies by thunder and lightning.  3 to 6” of new snow is possible by 5 pm.  Winds will continue in the 20 to 30 mph range from the south, then southwest, with very strong gusts possible this afternoon.  Heavier precipitation on a moist westerly flow will develop tonight and continue through Thursday, with storm totals of 1 to 2’ to the mountains by tomorrow afternoon.  


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 Tuesday and won’t fly today.  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.

Bruce Tremper will update this advisory by 7:30 Thursday morning.  Thanks for calling.