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.

ďkeeping you on topĒ


Thursday, January 04, 20077:30 am
Good morning, this is Bruce Tremper with the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center with your backcountry avalanche and mountain weather advisory.Today is Thursday, January 04, 2007 and itís 7:30 in the morning.


Current Conditions:

Itís unanimous.Everyone agrees that we are in desperate need of more snow.Our snowpack is rotten as a crooked politician.Itís just a mess of faceted snow and in all but the deepest snowpack areas in northern Utah you just sink to the ground unless you are on a wide vehicle like a snowboard. ††Most snowpacks are 50-70 percent of normal but some stations, especially in the Uinta Mountains are close to normal. (Snotel % of average map)

But we are in luck because there is a storm on the way today, or at least what passes for a storm on a dry year like this. This morning itís blowing hard.The winds on the highest peaks have picked up from the southwest 35 with gusts to 60 But most ridge tops are around 25, gusting to 50.Itís also blowing hard in the mountain valley bottoms with 25 gusting to 50 at the base of Alta.In the Logan and Ogden area mountains, it is blowing much harder, 55, gusting to near 80. The Logan mountains got 4 inches of dense snow overnight with .7 inches of water.Snow has just started falling in the Salt Lake area mountains. Itís still very warm this morning with 8,000í temperatures near 40 and ridge top temperatures in the mid 20ís.

Snowpack and Avalanche Conditions:

The winds are blowing hard this morning even at lower elevations, so, as usual, you will need to avoid any steep slope with recent wind deposits and you will find them today in more unusual places, like the sides of gullies at lower elevations.These wind slabs will be especially sensitive since they sit on top of very weak faceted snow.

In the non-wind loaded slopes, to make an avalanche you need both a weak layer and a slab.Right now our snowpack is nothing but 100 percent weak layer and zero percent slab.Today as the new snow adds up, we will set the brick on top of the pile of tortilla chips and the snowpack will start to get cranky.So today you need to carefully monitor how this storm piles on the weight.Weíre expecting less than an inch of additional water weight today, which will probably not make the avalanche danger rise significantly, but we get two inches of water weight will make everything come unglued.As you travel today be sure to carefully test how the new snow is bonding to the old snow by digging down with your hand or jumping on small test slopes to see how they respond.


Bottom Line for the Salt Lake, Park City, Ogden and Provo area mountains:

Today the avalanche danger is quickly rising from LOW danger to MODERATE danger especially on steep slopes with recent wind deposits.If we get more than about 8 inches of dense snow today, the danger may rise to CONSIDERABLE. ††In the Logan area mountains, the danger will rise today from MODERATE this morning to CONSIDERABLE by afternoon.


Mountain Weather:

Ridge top winds will reach their maximum by early to mid morning blowing 35, gusting to 50 and 45, gusting to 70 on the highest peaks.Snow should begin by mid day and continue through the evening and ridge top winds should decrease by mid day.Weíre expecting about 6 inches of new snow today, which may be 10 inches by Friday morning in some areas.The cold front will arrive later today and it will drop ridge top temperatures from the mid 20ís this morning down to the single digits on Friday morning.Unfortunately, the storm looks like a quick-hitter and ridge top winds will drop by mid day and turn northerly very quickly tonight, which usually shuts off our precipitation.


Announcements: Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides taught an avalanche class in Grizzly Gulch.Today, they will most likely not fly but if they do, they will be in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, American Fork.

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We appreciate any snowpack and avalanche observations you have, so please leave us a message at (801) 524-5304 or 1-800-662-4140, or email us at [email protected]. (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.

Brett Kobernik
will update this advisory by 7:30 on Friday morning, and thanks for calling.