Utah Avalanche Center reports first backcountry slides

The Utah Avalanche Center posted its first reports of avalanches Sunday in the backcountry. Most of these avalanches were reported as soft slabs of new snow or wind-drifted snow, primarily in the upper elevation northerly facing terrain.

This recent storm delivered up to 19 inches of new snow, accompanied by elevated winds. Human-triggered new snow and wind-drifted snow avalanches may be expected in steep terrain. High-elevation shady aspects, that were holding old snow before this most recent storm, pose the highest potential avalanche risk, forecasters said, advising backcountry travelers to go with partners and carry the necessary rescue gear of a transceiver, probe, and shovel.

While burial risk is generally low, the danger lies in being carried over and through consequential terrain, causing significant traumatic injury, according to the Avalanche Center.

Prior to this storm, most of the southerly and westerly aspects were bone dry. The mid and upper elevation northerly aspects, however, held a mess of 12-20″ of wind and temperature crusts interspersed with weak sugary snow. This is a weak base for this season’s snowpack, forecasters said.


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