Avalanche Advisory
Advisory: Salt Lake Area Mountains Issued by Evelyn Lees for Tuesday - December 27, 2016 - 6:52am
bottom line

As the winds increase today, the avalanche danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE on steep, upper elevation slopes with new drifts of wind blown snow. In upper elevation, wind drifted terrain there also continues to be an isolated chance of triggering a deeper slide, breaking to the ground.

Out of the wind-affected terrain, the avalanche danger will remain LOW to MODERATE. Smaller wind drifts, dry sluffs and wet loose sluffs could be triggered on steep slopes.




special announcement

Once again this winter, our partners at the Wasatch Mountain Club are matching WMC member donations to the Utah Avalanche Center. If you are a WMC member and value avalanche forecasting and education, please send a check made out to the Utah Avalanche Center to the WMC at 1390 South 1100 East #103, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

current conditions

Skies are clear and temperatures have warmed to near 20 at 10,000’, with single digits remaining in the canyon bottoms where the cold air is pooled. Unfortunately, the southwesterly winds are increasing. Speeds at the mid elevation stations are reasonable – 10 mph averages, gusting to 15. But the high peaks are averaging 25 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40.

recent activity

Mostly stable snow was found in the backcountry yesterday, with many traveling in steep terrain and no reports of significant avalanches. Small sluffs and wind slabs were triggered on most aspects, including southeasterly facing slopes. Avalanche work at the resorts triggered a few larger soft slabs and isolated wind slabs.

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

The southwesterly winds are increasing at the high elevations and expected to average 30 to 40 mph, with gusts to 60, by noon. There is abundant powder snow available for transport, so sensitive wind drifts will build and become easy to trigger. A laminar flow may keep most of the damaging wind transport to upper elevations, with mid elevation terrain remaining more wind-sheltered.

Wind can change the landscape and increase the avalanche danger faster than any other weather factor, so be alert to the changing conditions and reevaluate often. Natural avalanches may become possible today, so be aware of what’s above you even when you are in wind-sheltered terrain. Plumes off the peaks, cracking of denser snow or your tracks filling in are signs of wind drifting

Yesterday's small wind drifts will be harder, deeper and wider at the upper elevations today. Eric Trenbeath photo.


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

The combination of recent snow and additional loading from today’s wind, the facets near the ground on upper elevation slopes facing northwest through easterly remain suspect. In isolated places a person or a smaller new snow avalanche could trigger a slide to the ground. On most slopes, the mid and upper snow pack weaknesses are stabilizing.

Avalanche Problem 3
type aspect/elevation characteristics
LIKELIHOOD
LIKELY
UNLIKELY
SIZE
LARGE
SMALL
TREND
INCREASING DANGER
SAME
DECREASING DANGER
over the next 10 hours
description

Out of the wind-affected terrain, smaller soft wind drifts, dry sluffs and wet loose sluffs could be triggered on steep slopes. Warm temperatures and sun could dampen the snow on steep, sunny slopes, and it may become possible to trigger wet loose sluffs.

weather

An approaching weather system will graze northern Utah, bringing increasing clouds and wind through tonight, but very little snow. The southwesterly winds will ramp up by noon today along the higher ridgelines – 30 to 40 mph averages, with gusts to 60. Speeds at mid elevations could average 20 mph. 8000’ temperatures will warm to near 30. A few inches of snow are possible tonight, mostly north of I-80. High pressure will rebuild tomorrow, and the next chance for snow in northern Utah looks to be around Sunday.

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.

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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.

Benefit the Utah Avalanche Center when you shop from Backcountry.com or REI: Click this link for Backcountry.com or this link to REI, shop, and they will donate a percent of your purchase price to the UAC. Both offer free shipping (with some conditions) so this costs you nothing!

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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.