SALT LAKE CITY — It has been the coldest January in a decade. The temperature has fluctuated, and there’s more snow and rain on the way.
“We're on sort of this roller coaster of cold temps, warm temps,” said Utah Avalanche Center avalanche forecaster Craig Gordon. “Really those rising snow lines and particularly rain on snow, that is going to elevate the avalanche danger.”
With the winter weather comes an increased risk for avalanches — and not just in upper elevations.
“Right now, the avalanche danger isn't just confined to the backcountry areas and just isn't confined to the mountains,” Gordon said. “There's lots of snow on roofs.”
An avalanche warning is in effect for the mountains in northern Utah, and forecasters warn, within the next 48 hours, urban avalanches are a risk, as well.
“It wouldn't be that unusual to see all of that snow cascading off of steep roofs, so we're advising people to stay away from that situation,” Gordon said.
It's not an average winter in Utah, which is why forecasters are offering such an out of the ordinary warning.
“It’s kind of crazy that we'd even be talking about avalanche danger in urban areas," Gordon said. "But having all this snow stacked up on steep roofs is definitely something you want to avoid the next couple of days."
Avalanche forecasters urge parents to keep children from playing in the snow near steep roofs.
Check the latest avalanche forecast for your area on utahavalanchecenter.org
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas