High risk of avalanches Friday in parts of Colorado

DENVER (KDVR) – Much-needed snow is falling on the Colorado mountains, and heavy snowfall is expected in the backcountry (some places can pick up 2 feet of fresh snow).

This amount of snow in such a short period of time results in an increased risk of avalanches, which is why avalanche alerts have been issued for the beaches below, in yellow, until early Saturday morning.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center predicted a high risk (4 out of 5) of avalanches on Friday in surveillance areas, which means there are very dangerous conditions. This includes Aspen, Gunnison, North San Juan, South San Juan, and Steamboat and Flat Tops.

Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended as the greatest risk is at or above the tree line.

Other areas that are not in the Watch Zone but are still expected to present a significant (3 out of 5) avalanche risk on Friday include Sawatch, Vail and Summit County, and the Front Range. Dangerous conditions will persist until Friday and it is best to avoid areas showing signs of wind loading (smooth snow cushions, ledges under ridges or cracks in the snow surface).

Please use a lot of caution if you decide to travel to the backcountry on Friday and also on weekends, especially since the skies are clear and temperatures are mild for Saturday and Sunday.

Wiley C. Thompson