Avalanche warning issued for northern Utah mountains and foothills

Apr 9, 2023, 4:45 PM | Updated: Apr 10, 2023, 5:24 am

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utahns enjoy the spring weather, forecasters said it’s important to stay aware of weather warnings, including those for avalanches.

The Utah Avalanche Center said there was considerable to high avalanche risk Sunday due to warm temperatures melting the snowpack. This avalanche warning extends to the mountains and foothills of northern Utah.

“Very unusual for us to have this much snow from the ridgelines to mid-canyon and then stretching down to our foothills,” forecaster Craig Gordon said.

Forecasters warn people living in the foothills of the Wasatch Front and Tooele, Cache and Ogden valleys to stay weather aware.

“Something to be aware of is that, even though some of our foothills are starting to melt out, there can be a hazard overhead that you don’t even see,” Gordon explained.

He said this warning would likely last through the middle of this week.

“What we’re going to be seeing this week is a period without any solid refreezes, so that is going to make the snowpack cranky,” Gordon said. “We expect the avalanche danger to be elevated through at least mid-week.”

Cottonwood Canyons partially closed for several days for avalanche control

He said not only skiers, but those recreating at lower elevations need to be cautious.

“An avalanche can be triggered well above where you’re traveling and can easily flush down into our mountain trails, so if we’re trail running, we’re dog walking, we’re doing any kinds of those exercises, we definitely want to be cognizant and be armed with the latest avalanche forecast,” Gordon said.

The UAC said people should avoid being on or underneath slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

“The things that we want to think about are avalanches that are shedding their winter coat that could easily spill into our mountain communities and then secondly, all of this snow that’s on top of roofs, well, it’s going to be affected, it’s coming back to life, so we definitely don’t want to be playing around or underneath any of our steep roofs that have so much snow piled up top,” Gordon said.

He added that travelers should expect intermittent closures of both Little and Big Cottonwood canyons throughout the week for avalanche control work.

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Avalanche warning issued for northern Utah mountains and foothills