DENVER (CBS4) – An Avalanche Warning was expanded to include almost every mountain area in Colorado Thursday morning. And in some areas, the danger has gone from “very high” to “extreme” which is the highest possible level of danger. The areas with extreme danger include the mountains of Summit County plus the Vail area including the Interstate 70 corridor between the Eisenhower Tunnel and Vail Pass.
The mountains surrounding Aspen, Crested Butte/Gunnision and the Sawatch Range near Leadville have also been declared to have an extreme danger for additional large, destructive avalanches.
Officials at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center are saying they expect more very large and “historic” natural avalanches through Thursday night. The same officials confirm the recent avalanches are certainly the biggest avalanches of the season so far, and in some cases they are the biggest avalanches to occur in Colorado in decades.
Spencer Logan, an avalanche forecaster with the CAIC, said he expects avalanche dangers will be high through the weekend. He said the large amounts of snow that have fallen in short amounts of time have pushed slopes “closer and closer to the edge.”
“We’re seeing more snow than we have for quite a few years,” Logan said.
Logan said the forecasts are for areas outside town limits and the backcountry, and roads will be affected.
“Certainly these avalanches are having an impact on the highways,” he said.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will do what it can to reduce avalanche hazards and ski patrols will be on alert.
“Travel in, near, or below avalanche terrain is not recommended. Keep it simple and just AVOID the backcountry,” the Friends of CAIC said on Twitter.
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