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High avalanche danger reported in parts of Utah

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 13:01:53-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Avalanche Center is warning backcountry recreation enthusiasts about high avalanche danger in northern Utah and southeastern Idaho.

CLICK HERE to visit the Utah Avalanche Center's website.

"Heavy snow and drifting from strong wind has created widespread areas of unstable snow," a Facebook post from UAC says. "Both human triggered and natural avalanches are likely. Stay off of and out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees."

Here are the areas with high-avalanche danger and further details from UAC:

Logan Area Mountains
Issued by Toby Weed for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Heavy snow and drifting from strong westerly winds overnight overloaded slopes with widespread buried persistent weak layers. The avalanche danger is HIGH, and dangerous avalanche conditions exist at all elevations. Human triggered and natural avalanches are most likely on drifted upper and mid elevation slopes facing northwest through southeast, but possible in sheltered and lower elevation terrain. Avalanches could be triggered remotely or from a distance.

Avoid travel in avalanche terrain today. Stay off, away from, and well out from under all drifted slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.

Ogden Area Mountains
Issued by Nikki Champion for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Today, we have a HIGH avalanche danger on all steep upper elevation slopes facing west through north through east where fresh wind drifts and new snow sit atop of the weak faceted snow. There is a CONSIDERABLE danger on southerly upper elevation slopes and mid-elevation slopes facing west through north through east. Stay off of and out from underneath slopes 30° degrees and steeper at the mid and upper elevations. If you trigger an avalanche, it is likely to break down 1-3' and up to several hundred feet wide.
The remaining aspects and elevations have a MODERATE danger.

There are three avalanche problems to watch for: (1) triggering a slab avalanche 1-3' deep in the weak faceted snow, (2) soft slabs of wind drifted snow that would likely steep down into the weak snow below, and (3) sluffing within the new snow.

Salt Lake Area Mountains
Issued by Nikki Champion for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Today, we have a HIGH avalanche danger on all steep upper elevation slopes facing west through north through east where fresh wind drifts and new snow sit atop of the weak faceted snow. There is a CONSIDERABLE danger on southerly upper elevation slopes and mid-elevation slopes facing west through north through east. Stay off of and out from underneath slopes 30° degrees and steeper at the mid and upper elevations. If you trigger an avalanche, it is likely to break down 2-4' and up to several hundred feet wide.

The remaining aspects and elevations have a MODERATE danger.

There are three avalanche problems to watch for: (1) triggering a slab avalanche 2-4' deep in the weak faceted snow, (2) soft slabs of wind drifted snow that would likely steep down into the weak snow below, and (3) sluffing within the new snow.

Avalanche danger is "considerable" in five other Utah regions:

Uintas Area Mountains
Issued by Craig Gordon for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Heads up... a storm is on our doorstep and the avalanche danger changed overnight. Today's avalanches may break deeper and wider than you might expect, and they're gonna pack a punch.
In the wind zone, at and above treeline, you'll find CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger. Human triggered avalanches are LIKELY on steep, wind drifted slopes. Steep terrain facing the north half of the compass, and particularly slopes with an easterly component to its aspect are most suspect and should be avoided.

Mid elevations offer MODERATE avalanche danger on steep slopes facing the north half of the compass and human triggered avalanches are POSSIBLE.
Here's your exit strategy-

LOW avalanche danger is found on mid and low elevation slopes, particularly those facing south, but snow cover is super thin.

Provo Area Mountains
Issued by Nikki Champion for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Today, we have a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on all steep upper elevation slopes where fresh wind drifts and new snow sit atop of the weak faceted snow. There is also a CONSIDERABLE danger on mid-elevation slopes facing west through north through east. Stay off of and out from underneath slopes 30° degrees and steeper at the mid and upper elevations. If you trigger an avalanche, it is likely to break down 1-3' and up to several hundred feet wide.

The remaining aspects and elevations have a MODERATE danger.

There are three avalanche problems to watch for: (1) triggering a slab avalanche 2-4' deep in the weak faceted snow, (2) soft slabs of wind drifted snow that would likely steep down into the weak snow below, and (3) sluffing within the new snow.

Skyline Area Mountains
Issued by Brett Kobernik for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

New dense wind blown snow landing on top of old weak sugary snow keeps the avalanche danger in the CONSIDERABLE range on steep slopes. West north and east facing slopes in the mid and upper elevations hold the weakest old snow. There is still not really enough snow for many people to get into the steeper terrain but when there's a will, there's a way. Continue to use caution if you are screwing around in steep terrain.

Moab Area Mountains
Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on steep, northerly facing slopes. In these areas, layers of weak, sugary, faceted snow have become dangerously overloaded and human triggered avalanches are likely. At upper elevations, recent wind drifting has exacerbated the problem. With the current snowpack structure, steep, N-E facing slopes should be avoided for the foreseeable future. Most south-facing terrain has generally LOW danger. Be on the lookout for isolated wind drifts on SE and W facing slopes at upper elevations.

Abajos Area Mountains
Issued by Eric Trenbeath for Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The avalanche danger remains CONSIDERABLE on steep, northerly facing slopes. In these areas, layers of weak, sugary, faceted snow have become dangerously overloaded and human triggered avalanches are likely. At upper elevations, recent wind drifting has exacerbated the problem. With the current snowpack structure, steep, N-E facing slopes should be avoided for the foreseeable future. Most south-facing terrain has generally LOW danger. Be on the lookout for isolated wind drifts on SE and W facing slopes at upper elevations.