SALT LAKE CITY–The Utah Avalanche Center issued a rare avalanche advisory for the valleys and benches in the Wasatch Front. It’s because of the huge storm Monday.
“What’s really unusual is the benches will get as much snow as the upper elevations,” said forecaster Drew Hardesty. “You just need a steep slope and enough snow to slide.”
I just spoke with them. Anyone out walking their dog or sledding could trigger an avalanche today in the foothills and benches: “You just need a steep slope and enough snow to slide.” #utwx https://t.co/rNlJq1acUC
— Mary Richards (@kslmrichards) February 3, 2020
Hardesty said the snow can pile up in creek beds and hilly back yards.
“If someone is on a steep, wind-loaded slope, they could trigger an avalanche. Even if they are just out walking their dog or sledding,” he warned.
The wind gusts will make all the new snow unstable. And the foothills and benches could get 18-24 inches of new snow from the storm.
Craig Gordon, avalanche forecaster with @UACwasatch, tells us he can’t recall another time they’ve issued avalanche warnings for the benches surrounding the Salt Lake Valley. He says people should be careful in steep backyards and creek beds. https://t.co/0PEdC8ew6Q pic.twitter.com/QyxkJUqzkp
— Sean Moody (@SeanMoodyKSL) February 3, 2020
“People are unaccustomed to avalanches in these lower elevations,” he said.
When people are snowmobiling or skiing, they are looking out for avalanche conditions. They have a shovel and probe.
“But in the lower elevations, that may be the furthest thing from their minds,” said Hardesty.
Special Avalanche Advisory issued. Includes the valleys and benches. Steep terrain is to be avoided. pic.twitter.com/FEd0el0How
— UtahAvalancheCenter (@UACwasatch) February 3, 2020
He says anyone heading out should consult the Utah Avalanche Center page.
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