WEATHER

Avalanches are bigger, more dangerous than past seasons in Utah

Mar 28, 2023, 10:00 PM | Updated: Mar 29, 2023, 4:52 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah gets hundreds of avalanches every year, but this year, those numbers are higher, and the slides themselves are becoming bigger and more dangerous.

You can chalk it up to the massive amounts of snow still hitting the mountains this late in the season.

Last March, Utah had just over 150 avalanches. This March, that number is over 250.

Crews recover body of missing snowmobiler who was buried in Utah County avalanche

Craig Gordon with the Utah Avalanche Center said the slides won’t stop until the snow does.

“More snow equals more avalanches,” he said.

On Tuesday, a slide in Morgan County sent a snowcat with two people inside tumbling 40 feet. Luckily, both escaped without serious injury.

As Gordon looked at the footage from Chopper 5, he said things could have been a lot worse.

“This avalanche is packing a lot of heat, and it’s got a lot of volume to it, enough to tip this snowcat over.”

BREAKING: Two buried, injured in Morgan County avalanche

Of the two people inside that snowcat, one was able to get out, but it took crews nearly two hours to dig out the other man, who was then flown to University of Utah Hospital with minor injuries.

The two were joyriding in snowcats as part of a group of seven people up Gold Ridge Canyon.

Gordon said snow is usually predictable by this time of year, but that’s not the case right now.

“The problem is, this pre-existing snowpack isn’t catching any breaks.”

That means stronger, bigger and more frequent slides can be expected.

Gordon said you can always check avalanche conditions at utahavalanchecenter.org.

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Avalanches are bigger, more dangerous than past seasons in Utah