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Avalanche danger remains 'high' in most Utah mountains, 'extreme' in Salt Lake area mountains

Posted at 10:55 AM, Feb 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-17 14:57:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Avalanche Center's forecasts for Wednesday show most of Utah's mountain ranges have a high rating of avalanche danger, and the Salt Lake area mountains have "extreme" danger.

Extreme avalanche risk in Big Cottonwood Canyon, road still closed

"Extreme Avalanche Danger for the Salt Lake mountains. Avoid all avalanche terrain on all aspects and elevations. Natural and human-triggered avalanches are certain! Avalanches may run historic distances and create new avalanche paths," a tweet from UAC says.

RELATED: Cancellations, closures and delays in place due to Wednesday's winter storm

UAC's website lists "High" avalanche danger for the Logan, Ogden, Uintas, Provo and Skyline area mountains. The avalanche danger for the Moab and Abajos area mountains remains "moderate."

"What we're seeing is avalanches breaking to the ground, they're breaking wide, they're taking out large swaths of timber. On a scale of one to five, we're at a level five, so it's an extreme danger." said UAC spokesman Craig Gordon. "While it's not unprecedented, it's pretty rare that we reach that criteria."

RELATED: UDOT advises drivers to stay off the roads until after 10 a.m. Wednesday

The National Weather Service has issued avalanche warnings in Beaver, Box Elder, Carbon, Duchesne, Emery and Juab counties.

Click here to check for weather advisories and warnings in your area.

Six people, all skiers, have died in Utah avalanches so far this winter season.

UAC recorded seven different avalanches on Tuesday.

RELATED: Blast of wintry weather!
Gordon advises winter recreation enthusiasts, even trail runners and people walking their dogs, to stay off and out from under steep slopes.

"Right now, Mother Nature just needs a big breather, just needs to relax a little bit and become adjusted to the additional load," Gordon said of Wednesday's storm.

RELATED: Witnesses help after avalanche trapped SUV in Big Cottonwood Canyon