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Series of storms increases avalanche danger, prompts road closures

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 18:58:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A storm moving through the area is causing road closures and avalanche dangers throughout the state.

Road restrictions have been put in place for several counties, according to the Utah Department of Transportation website. In Salt Lake County, Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons require chains or 4×4 drive for all vehicles traveling in the area.

In Utah County, State Route 92 will be closed from Provo Canyon to Sundance. It will also be closed on the American Fork side. The closure will go into effect at 9 p.m. and will be lifted sometime Tuesday. U.S. Highway 189 will have intermittent closures between 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

In Iron County, no semis are allowed on State Route 14 between Cedar City and Long Valley Junction at U.S. 89.

Wasatch and Summit Counties on U.S. Highway 40 from Heber to Park City are experiencing heavy congestion due to road weather. Motorists should expect delays.

State Route 158, Powder Mountain Highway, will close Tuesday from 6 to 8 a.m. for avalanche control.

According to the Utah Avalanche Center, heavy snowfall and strong winds are creating dangerous avalanche conditions. Some avalanches were occuring before the storm, now the slides are more widespread.

Both human- and natural-triggered avalanches are likely, according to the center. Areas affected include mountains in northern and central Utah as well as parts of southeast Idaho, the Bear River Range, the Western Uinta Range, the Wasatch Range and the Manti-Skyline Plateau.

Anyone who does go into the backcountry is advised to avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees including avalanche runout zones.

For more information on avalanche safety and conditions, visit https://utahavalanchecenter.org/.

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