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.

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AVALANCHE ADVISORY

Saturday, March 10, 2007 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 Saturday, March 10, 2007 and its 7:30 in the morning.

Current Conditions:

A weak storm system moving through northern Utah this morning has produced an additional 1 to 3 of dense snow, with the rain/snow line around 7,000. This is on top of the 4 to 7 of dense snow from Thursday. After a warm night, cooler air is moving in with the front, and temperatures at all but the lowest elevations have dropped below freezing, with 10,000 temperatures down into the mid 20s. Winds are in the process of shifting from southwest to northwest, and are generally in the 5 to 15 mph range, with gusts to 30. The best place to look for cold dry powder is on northerly facing slopes, above about 9,000.

 

Snow and Avalanche Discussion:

The new snow continued to be sensitive yesterday, especially on north and east facing slopes and in wind drifted areas. Dry soft slabs, wet slabs, and wet sluffs were easily triggered. All of these were small, up to 6" deep x 50' wide, involved only new snow, but were moderately long running.

 

Today, there will be the same three avalanche problems Bruce listed yesterday. First, you may be able to trigger relatively shallow, soft slabs within the new snow from the past two storms, especially on steep slopes with recent wind drifts. Second, youll be able to trigger wet loose sluffs and a few wet slabs on steep slopes of almost all aspects and elevations as the snow heats up with sun and daytime heating, and at the lower elevations where it rained last night. Old bed surfaces with new snow will also be sensitive. All these new snow slides pack just enough punch to knock you off your feet and carry you, so dont get surprised and shoved off a cliff or into a terrain trap such as a gully.

 

And finally, there are still isolated places on northerly and easterly facing slopes where you could trigger a hard-slab avalanche 2-5 feet deep. This would be most likely in a thinner snowpack area or in a shallow rocky place, and with a large trigger such as two or more people or snowmobiles on the slope at the same time.

 

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

The avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes of about 35 degrees and steeper, especially with recent drifts of wind blown snow or where the snow is heating up from the warm temperatures and sun. There is also a MODERATE danger of triggering a large, hard-slab avalanche on slopes that face the north and east quadrants of the compass, especially in thinner snowpack areas.

 

Mountain Weather:

A weak storm system is moving south through the area, with high pressure rapidly building in this afternoon. Expect a few more snow showers through mid morning, with skies becoming partly sunny by afternoon. Temperatures will warm to near 40 at 8,000 and be in the low 20s at 10,000. The winds are in the process of shifting to the northwest, and will average 5 to 15 mph at most locations, with the highest peaks having gusts in the 40s and 50s this morning. High pressure will dominate through mid week, with temperatures rapidly warming into the mid to upper 30s at 10,000 on Sunday.

 

Announcements:

Yesterday, the Wasatch Powderbird Guides was in Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, American Fork and Snake Creek. If the weather permits, they will operate two ships in the Tri-Canyons today, in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly, White Pine, Millcreek, and American Fork. With questions regarding their areas of operation call 742-2800.

 

The UAC and ACE are offering a day long Womens Avalanche Awareness class at Alta on March 22nd covering beacon use and basic safe travel, terrain and snowpack information, for a nominal fee. For more details go to: www.altaarts.org.

 

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UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found HERE or by calling (801) 975-4838.

Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

For a list of avalanche classes, click HERE
For our classic text advisory click HERE.
To sign up for automated e-mails of our graphical advisory click HERE

We appreciate all the great snowpack and avalanche observations weve been getting, so keep leaving us messages 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.

Drew Hardesty will
update this advisory by 7:30 on Sunday morning, and thanks for calling.