Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Drew Hardesty for Monday - November 28, 2016 - 5:32am
bottom line

I expect the danger to rise to HIGH today with the expected heavy snowfall and strong northwest winds. Both natural and human triggered avalanches are expected. Avalanche terrain is to be avoided...even terrain with steeper slopes above. Traumatic injury is likely with any involvement in our still fledgling snowpack. Many avalanche incidents occur during times of changing conditions. Such as now.




special avalanche bulletin

THE FOREST SERVICE UTAH AVALANCHE CENTER IN SALT LAKE CITY HAS ISSUED A SPECIAL AVALANCHE BULLETIN

* TIMING…IN EFFECT FROM 6AM MST THIS MORNING TO 6 AM MST TUESDAY

* AFFECTED AREA…FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF NORTHERN UTAH INCLUDING THE WASATCH RANGE...UINTA MOUNTAINS...BEAR RIVER RANGE.

* AVALANCHE DANGER…THE AVALANCHE DANGER IS EXPECTED TO RISE TO HIGH

* IMPACTS... EXPECTED HEAVY SNOWFALL AND STRONG WINDS WILL CREATE WIDESPREAD AREAS OF UNSTABLE SNOW. BOTH HUMAN TRIGGERED AND NATURAL AVALANCHES WILL BE LIKELY. STAY OFF OF AND OUT FROM UNDER SLOPES STEEPER THAN 30 DEGREES.

THIS WATCH DOES NOT APPLY TO OPERATING SKI AREAS WHERE AVALANCHE HAZARD REDUCTION MEASURES ARE PERFORMED.

special announcement

Check out the story HERE.

current conditions

Winter has returned home. At long last. With another 3-6" inches overnight, storm totals are now 12-20"... and the next wave is on the doorstep. Mountain temps are generally in the single digits up high, the upper teens to low 20s down low. Winds are west to northwest, blowing 15-20mph with gusts to 30. Yesterday's trailbreaking took some effort but for non-borne and bred Utahns, the snow conditions were a reminder that you moved here for a year and stayed a lifetime.

There's about a foot of snow at the trailheads and 2-3' of settled snow up high. Storm totals through this morning: (snow/snow-water-equivalent)

Little Cottonwood: 19/"1.15"

Big Cottonwood: 16-20"

Park City Ridgeline: 12-20"

Ogden: 10-14"

Provo: 16"/1.71"

recent activity

A few shallow naturals reported along with some intentional ski cuts that produced a few storm slabs in the new snow. Cracking and collapsing was also noted in the Provo mountains as precipitation intensities went through the roof.

Today will be a different ballgame: Many avalanche incidents occur during times of changing conditions.

Avalanche Problem 1
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Plenty, plenty of snow to blow around...with more on the way. New drifts will develop over the course of the day just to the lee of the ridgelines and cross-loaded beyond the sub-ridges and spines in the mid and upper elevations. Naturals are expected. Ultra-sensitive wind drifts will likely run on approach. Drifts may be 3' deep and a couple hundred feet wide. Developing cornices will also be sensitive, calving on their own, and subsequently triggering wind slabs below.

Avalanche Problem 2
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Sensitivity of the new snow will spike at times of heavy snowfall...and naturals within the new snow and stepping into yesterday's snow is likely on all aspects, particularly at the mid and upper elevations.

Avalanche Problem 3
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 24 hours
description

Any new snow avalanche in the upper elevation northerly terrain may step down to the weak sugary facets near the ground. The slides will likely be 3-4' deep and a few hundred feet wide and may be unsurvivable. We've been carefully watching the development of a load above these basal weaknesses - you'll see Greg Gagne's test in this structure, below -

weather

Heavy snowfall and moderate to strong winds are expected through the day with an inch or more of snow-water-equivalent expected through tonight. This may translate to upwards of 1.5-2' of snow in favored areas with decreasing densities as the day wears on. Temps will be in the single digits up high and dropping to the mid-teens elsewhere. The west to northwest winds will be the game changer - spiking toward 30-35mph with gusts to 50. Temps will continue to plummet tonight into tomorrow as flurries stick around through Tuesday. Another disturbance on tap for later Wednesday. More on that in our Mountain Weather forecast, updated by noon.

general announcements

Remember your information can save lives. If you see anything we should know about, please help us out by submitting snow and avalanche conditions. You can also call us at 801-524-5304, email by clicking HERE, or include #utavy in your tweet or Instagram.

To get help in an emergency (to request a rescue) in the Wasatch, call 911. Be prepared to give your GPS coordinates or the run name. Dispatchers have a copy of the Wasatch Backcountry Ski map.

Backcountry Emergencies. It outlines your step-by-step method in the event of a winter backcountry incident.

If you trigger an avalanche in the backcountry, but no one is hurt and you do not need assistance, please notify the nearest ski area dispatch to avoid a needless response by rescue teams. Thanks.

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DAWN PATROL Hotline updated daily by 5-530am - 888-999-4019 option 8.

TWITTER Updates for your mobile phone - DETAILS

UDOT canyon closures: LINK TO UDOT, or on Twitter, follow @UDOTavy, @CanyonAlerts or @AltaCentral

Utah Avalanche Center mobile app - Get your advisory on your iPhone along with great navigation and rescue tools.

Powderbird Helicopter Skiing - Blog/itinerary for the day

Lost or Found something in the backcountry? - http://nolofo.com/

Ski Utah mobile snow updates

To those skinning uphill at resorts: it is critical to know the resort policy on uphill travel. You can see the uphill travel policy for each resort here.

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This information does not apply to developed ski areas or highways where avalanche control is normally done. This advisory is from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always exist.