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More Snow, Windy Conditions Could Mean More Avalanches

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Windy conditions and a fresh blanket of snow are creating unstable conditions which could mean more avalanches.

Vail Pass has seen more than a foot of snow in the past few days and with it not bonding to the snowpack already in place, it’s raising the danger level.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“The avalanche danger really isn’t gone until snow is gone, things have quieted down a bit so we’re not seeing avalanches into those deep snow layers, those ones that are very dangerous,” said Dr. Ethan Green form the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

A mild March has helped stabilize the snowpack in the high country.

However storms late last week and more in the forecast could change that soon.

“This time of year any time we get another snowstorm the avalanche danger is going to rise,” said Green.

“It’s mostly surface avalanches so things breaking through the new snow layers with the snow and wind we have you could see avalanches a couple feet deep in places.”

With April right around the corner, forecasters at the CAIC say they are not done working yet.

“Potentially if we have weather like we did last April we could go right back into a mid-winter avalanche cycle,” said Green

The risk of that happening is especially high with the statewide snowpack higher than in an average year.

“We’ve got a structure that could be a problem for us this spring. In order for it to be a problem we need kind of a rapid warm up, so we’d need to flip the switch from winter into spring and see temperatures warm up really quickly. So we’ll be watching that for the next two months,” said Green.

LINK: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

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