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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Sunday, January 27, 2008  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, January 27, 2008 and it’s about 7:30 am. 


Special Announcement:

We have issued a special avalanche advisory for the foothills and the mountains from Ogden through Salt Lake, Park City and Provo.  Strong winds with snow expected today will create dangerous avalanches at the higher elevations and wet avalanche activity is a concern with rain on snow at the lower elevations.  An avalanche Warning has been issued for the Western Uintas due to underlying weak snow.  We expect to go to Warning criteria tonight through Monday for the Central Wasatch.


Current Conditions:

Under mostly cloudy skies temperatures are fairly warm in the mid to upper 20s at many mountain locations with southwest winds averaging 10 to 25 mph at the mid elevation ridges and gusting into the 50s and 60s along the highest locations.


Avalanche Discussion:

There was no shortage of observations from Saturday with mostly clear skies and lots of people out in the Mountains.  Many observations included something about wind drifting with a number of people triggering small fresh wind drifts.  There was also a few natural avalanches reported that ran on Saturday as well.  Most of these had a northerly component but at least one was on a more southerly aspect.  A few of these were fairly large.  The winds played a roll in creating these.  In general the winds were more pronounced at elevations above around 10,000 feet until later in the afternoon when things started to pick up more.  There are a variety of somewhat weak layers within the upper portion of the snowpack on many aspects.  They are not especially weak and if left alone would probably heal nicely.  However, a storm that may produce 1 to 3 inches of water weight coupled with strong winds very well could overload a number of these layers and produce sizeable avalanches. (Check our photos page as well as our snowpit page for more information)


It will be a day with increasing avalanche danger.  New snow along with strong southerly winds will produce slabs that may release naturally as well as with human triggers.  You may find these on a variety of aspects but with the southwest winds today, they’ll be most pronounced on northwest through southeast facing slopes.  This will not be a day to go for the big lines.


We are somewhat concerned with wet activity at the lower elevations today as well.  Lots of low elevation unconsolidated snow that receives rain today may produce wet activity.  Terrain traps should be avoided at the lower elevations today.  This includes steep areas around residential neighborhoods in and along the foothills.  Roof-a-lanches are another concern for today.  Keep an eye out on your kids playing around these steep slopes and winter campers should not be below any steep slopes.


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

There will be a rising avalanche danger today.  The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on steep slopes with recent deposits of wind drifted snow.  These will be most widespread along the higher ridgelines, on northwest through southeasterly facing slopes, but be alert for drifts cross loaded onto other aspects, off ridgelines and in open bowls.  Steep lower elevation terrain should be avoided today as it becomes damp and especially if it receives rain on the snow.  We expect the danger to reach HIGH tonight and into Monday if the storm verifies. 


Mountain Weather:

The strong winter storm moving in from the southwest is going to produce windy conditions along with snow today.  We should see snow starting this morning with the rain snow line around 6000 feet which may rise to around 7000 feet as the day goes on.  4 to 8 inches of higher density snow is expected during the day with possibly a slight break this afternoon.  The storm continues into Monday with a cold front moving through in the morning and winds shifting to the northwest.  Winds will remain fairly strong on Monday.  1 to 3 inches of water weight is expected.  This could add a couple of feet if things hold together.


Wasatch Powderbird Guides flew in Mineral, Cardiff, Days, Silver, Grizzly and American Fork.  They most likely won’t get out today.  For more information, call them at 801-742-2800, or go to their daily blog.

The second annual avalanche awareness snowmobile ride is Saturday, February 2nd and proceeds will help support snowmobile specific avalanche awareness projects.  Details can be found at http://www.avarides.com/


Backcountry Awareness Week is February 8-10th, featuring a Friday night fundraising dinner with guest speaker David Oliver Relin, author of the New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time and avalanche awareness clinics on Saturday and Sunday, all held at Snowbird.  For more information, call 933-2147 or go to http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/fuac-events.htm.

If you want to get this avalanche advisory e-mailed to you daily click
UDOT highway avalanche control work info can be found by calling
(801) 975-4838.
Our statewide tollfree line is 1-888-999-4019 (early morning, option 8).

The UAC depends on contributions from users like you to support our work.  To find out more about how you can support our efforts to continue providing the avalanche forecasting and education that you expect please visit our Friends page.

If you see any avalanches or interesting snow conditions, 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.

Drew Hardesty will update this advisory by 7:30 on Monday morning.