Avalanche east of Tony Grove Lake (Courtesy: Utah Avalanche Center)
LOGAN — Forecasters have issued an avalanche watch for the mountains of northern Utah due to treacherous conditions. The watch begins Friday and continues through the weekend.
Utah Avalanche Forecaster Toby Weed said drifting from strong and persistent west winds have created dangerous conditions and considerable danger in the backcountry. People could trigger dangerous avalanches on steep drifted slopes at all elevations, but more dangerous conditions exist on drifted upper and mid elevation slopes facing northwest through southeast.
The warning was issued days after four people died Saturday in the deadliest avalanche in Utah history. The victims were skiing in Millcreek Canyon, when they were caught in a slide that was approximately 1000 feet wide.
Weed explained, a powerful winter storm with heavy snowfall and significant drifting will cause increasing avalanche danger Thursday night. He expects very dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry Friday, lasting through the long weekend.
Monday, snowmobilers riding in the foothills east of Garden City reported triggering an avalanche. No one was injured but stability tests on an adjacent slope showed unstable snow conditions still present.
Sunday, a large avalanche was reported along Cornice Ridge, near Tony Grove Lake. The slide was approximately 1000 feet wide and had occurred within the past couple days.
Weed said for those traveling in the backcountry, plan on avoiding travel in avalanche terrain. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully and make conservative decisions. Also, continue to stay off and out from under drifted slopes steeper than about 30 degrees.