Thanksgiving storm will create dangerous avalanche conditions, forecasters say

Courtesy: Utah Avalanche Center

SALT LAKE CITY — The combination of a mostly-dry November and a powerful Thanksgiving storm will create dangerous avalanche conditions in backcountry recreation areas, the Utah Avalanche Center warns.

“The very same slopes that will tempt us to play on them, are the exact slopes that are the most dangerous and need to be avoided as the storm materializes. This includes out of bounds terrain at the ski areas,” a news release from UAC said.

Upper elevation slopes in Utah’s backcountry areas are still holding “sugary and very weak” snow from early October. Once that weak snow is covered by heavier and denser snow, the conditions for avalanche danger will be ripe.

“Early season avalanches failing on a sugary persistent weak layer are commonly triggered remotely, from a distance, or below,” the news release said.

The Utah Avalanche Center offered the following tips for staying safe when avalanche danger is elevated:

 Anyone planning to head into the backcountry over the holiday period should be aware of increasing avalanche danger.  Be prepared with rescue gear and a partner.

  • Avoid steep, wind drifted slopes.
  • Check your local avalanche forecast before you go.  Visit utahavalanchecenter.org
  • Make sure everyone has avalanche rescue gear; transceiver, probe, and shovel.
  • Cross steep slopes one person at a time, while the rest of your party watches from a safe place.

 

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