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Avalanche danger in Utah decreases following dangerous February

Posted at 10:12 AM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 12:12:26-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Following a deadly February in which multiple people were killed in Utah avalanches, the current forecasts for some areas in the state have been lowered dramatically.

The danger ratings issued by the Utah Avalanche Center have been reduced to "Low" in Salt Lake, Ogden and Provo. Those ratings are a far cry from the "Extreme" designation posted in mid-February.

READ: Backcountry business booms in bad year for avalanches

Five people were killed in Utah avalanches in February, including the Millcreek Canyon avalanche on Feb. 6 in which four skiers lost their lives. Following those incidents, plus another death in January, the UAC issued the "Extreme" warning.

Because of a dry late fall/early winter throughout Utah, the base that had to support the new snow in January was too unstable to hold it, reports The Salt Lake Tribune.

Recent snowfall has made the base more stable, allowing for the avalanche danger ratings to be lowered heading into spring.

WATCH: Skiers killed in Millcreek avalanche thought site would be safe, report says

“We’re optimistic that big, dangerous avalanches are behind us,” Drew Gagne, a UAC forecaster, told the Tribune. “But you never know.”

Several areas, including Logan, Moab, and Uintas remain under the "Moderate" rating.