Little Cottonwood Canyon to close for avalanche mitigation after winter storm

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jan 05, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — After a short break during the week, a Winter Storm Warning was issued for most Utah mountain areas with more snow forecast through Friday morning. In addition, an advisory went into effect for the Salt Lake Valley starting Thursday night.

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The storm brought more snow to Utah's mountain areas, which are still recovering from an intense snowfall that happened on New Year's weekend.

Due to the storms, Little Cottonwood Canyon will be closed temporarily for avalanche mitigation on Friday.

At 11 a.m., uphill traffic will close at the mouth of the canyon and downhill traffic will also start closing. By noon, downhill traffic will close at entry one.

Officials expect to reopen at about 2 p.m. and reopening will be in reverse order.

Snowfall began in the southern Utah mountains on Thursday, while the northern mountains got their delivery of powder in the later hours of Thursday.

Alta and Brighton got about ten inches of fresh snow while Solitude and Snowbird got 12 inches.

In addition, Brian Head reported receiving 10 inches of snow and Sundance received eight inches of new snow.

With the new snow, the Utah Avalanche Center said mountains in Salt Lake, Provo and Ogden areas have considerable avalanche danger Friday.

"The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on all upper elevation aspects and mid-elevation aspects facing northwest through north and east where human-triggered avalanches are likely and natural avalanches possible," the avalanche forecast from UAC reads. "The avalanche danger is MODERATE on all other aspects where human-triggered avalanches are possible. The avalanche danger could quickly rise to HIGH during any period of high precipitation intensity."

Warnings were in place for the southern mountains until 5 a.m. Friday, and expire in the northern mountains at 2 p.m.

A Winter Weather Advisory was issued for the Salt Lake Valley that will go into effect at 10 p.m. Thursday through Friday morning. Snow accumulations could reach 2-4 inches along the Wasatch Front, and up to 6 inches are possible on the benches.

Rain will turn to snow overnight in the valleys and could affect the Friday morning commute before ending in the afternoon and evening.

Those heading towards the mountain routes should be prepared for winter driving conditions and traction restrictions.

Temperatures will remain warmer in northern Utah, with highs remaining in the 40s though the middle of next week.