Large amounts of very wet snow and high winds have combined to create serious avalanche conditions along the northern Utah mountains from Spanish Fork Canyon to the Idaho border.
The Avalanche Forecast Center issued a warning for the area, saying spontaneous and human-trigged avalanches have been reported."The danger of avalanches is high on all back-country slopes above 8,000 feet and steeper than 35 degrees," Brad Meiklejohn, a hazard forecaster at the center, said early Monday.
"We've had 20 to 30 inches of high-density snow in the area since Thursday. The combination of snow and wind are acting together to create very unstable avalanche conditions," Meiklejohn said.
Sunday, a Salt Lake woman who was in a ski touring party got caught - but was not injured - in a slide that moved about 100 yards down White Pine Canyon in Little Cottonwood Canyon. The slide was about 2 feet deep and about 100 feet wide.
Meiklejohn did not identify the woman. He said she was not hurt but was shaken up a bit.
William J. Alder, meteorologist in charge of the Salt Lake office of the National Weather Service, said large amounts of new snow fell Thursday through Saturday at a number of ski resorts and other areas. Duck Creek, Kane County, and Brighton and Deer Valley reported 34 inches; Alta, 29 inches; Beaver Mountain, 18; Brian Head, 18; Elk Meadows, 22; Park City, 30; Park West, 22; Powder Mountain, 24; Snow Basin, 23; Snow Bird, 26; and Solitude, 28.
Meiklejohn said winds during the past 24 hours generally have been out of the south and southwest. A peak gust of 95 mph was clocked "The danger of avalanches is high on all back-country slopes above 8,000 feet and steeper than 35 degrees," - Brad Meiklejohn, a hazard forecaster at the center.on Mount Ogden, east of Ogden between Ogden and Weber canyons, he said.
"We are going to see more snow and wind, which will perpetuate very unstable avalanche conditions through midweek. The avalanche warnings are for the back country. They don't pertain to developed highways or ski areas where avalanche control work is normally done," Meiklejohn said.
Persons without good avalanche skills should avoid the back country Monday.
A strong southwest flow aloft, coupled with a Pacific weather system north of Utah, will cause brisk southerly winds in Utah's western valleys again Monday. Winds were expected to be 20 to 40 mph with a few locally stronger gusts. A high-wind watch was in effect for all western Utah valleys through Monday.
The strong winds may cause problems for boaters on the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.
In western Utah, high-profile vehicles likely will be affected by the winds. Motorists are advised by to be alert for crosswinds, especially on east-west roads, said forecaster Alex Smith of the National Weather Service.
For recorded avalanche information in the Salt Lake area call 364-1581; Park City, 649-2250; Logan, 752-4146; Ogden, 621-2362; and Provo, 374-9770. The forecast center office is 524-5304.
Weather in Salt Lake City, February 1991
For Month (Feb.22) 61 degrees
Average this month 47.6 degrees
30-Yr. average 43.7 degrees
Record (Feb. 28, 1972) 69 degrees
For month (Feb. 2) 9 degrees
Average this month 25.4 degrees
30-Yr. average 24.4 degrees
Record (Feb. 9, 1933) -30 degrees
30-Yr. average 9.4"
Record (1969) 27.9"
Total for month 0.61" 30-Yr. average 1.33"
Most in 24 hrs. (Feb. 16) 0.35"
Record (1936) 3.22"
Records set at Salt Lake weather station = none
Utah weather highlights
Feb. 13-14: Moist Northwest flow produced the first significant storm of the month - but only along Wasatch Front and Wasatch mountains. Mostly rain in valleys, but an inch of snow fell in the Cache Valley and 2 inches at Heber City and Midway. Alta got 1.84 inches of water; Snowbird, 1.53; Salt Lake International Airport, 0.19.
Feb. 16-18: A storm produced goodly amounts of water, mostly in the North. Alta had 38 inches of snow; Brighton, 24 inches; Solitude, 26 inches. Water amounts; Alta, 2.61 inches; Brighton, 1.4; Holladay, 0.56; Orem, 0.96; Brighton, 0.96.
Feb. 28: Storm from California brought nice amounts of water and snow. 17 inches of snow at Duck Creek, Kane County; 2 inches, Blanding; 3 inches, Monticello, Water amounts; 1.97 inches, Duck Creek; 0.91 inches, Alta; 0.4 inches, Blanding; 0.46 inches, St. George.
Source: Salt Lake office, National Weather Service\