Utah Avalanche Experts Warn Of Possible Dangers

Jan 9, 2018

Utah Avalanche Center experts predict a Tuesday evening storm could bring in a heavy layer of snow.
Credit avalanche_storm.jpg

The Utah Avalanche Center is expecting dangerous avalanche conditions in the mountains of northern and central Utah Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are just kind of waiting for the storm to develop. It does look like it is going to be pretty productive,” said Toby Weed, employee for the Utah Avalanche Center. “We have issued an avalanche watch and we are going to up that to an avalanche warning tomorrow, we think.”

Weed is monitoring the mountains in northern Utah for the center. He says having such little snow this season has created a very shallow and very weak snowpack, which will not be able to support forecasted amounts of new snow and will produce avalanches.

"Then today with snow and rain in the mountains, it is going to add a load or create a slab on top of this really weak snow and it is going to create unstable snow,” Weed said. “It is kind of hard to say exactly how fast it is going to get dangerous, I think by this afternoon on probably many slopes.”

The human element will compound this problem according to Weed, who says many people are excited and have been eagerly awaiting fresh snow.

“I probably will not go out tomorrow because I think the avalanche danger is going to be high and it is going to even be more dangerous,” he said. “So, probably tomorrow stay out the back country overall in general. But, at least stay out of avalanche range, stay out from under steep slopes and obvious or historic avalanche paths.”

Utah avalanche experts expect snowfall will make excellent riding conditions by later this week because the initial snowfall will be heavy and dense followed by colder, lighter snow.