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Winter storm hits mountains of Utah

Winter storm hits mountains of Utah



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Keith McCord reportingAt the Mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon it's starting to snow. It was kind of raining as we were driving up, but just down the road it was really starting to snow pretty hard.

You'll need snow tires if you are heading up the mountain because the roads are slick.

Nothing says "winter has arrived" quite like a scene with car after car nearly buried in the snow!

This was the scene at Alta several hours ago. The canyon socked in with clouds and snow falling at a good pace.

What a difference three weeks make. One of the ski runs at Snowbird back on Nov. 16 was pretty much high and dry. Now, it's covered in snow and skiers.

If you noticed a few more empty desks at the office or in the classroom today, chances are some people were on the slopes today.

The new snow is great for the resorts and the snowpack, but it also raises the avalanche danger for those who enjoy the backcountry. The Utah Avalanche Center says the danger level is increasing, especially at 9,000 feet and above. Brett Kobernik, an avalanche forecaster, says, "And we expect it to rise throughout the weekend because of the additional snowfall we're expecting, up to two feet in the favored locations."

This new snow is settling on top of what remained from the October storms. That older snow has become weak, and so the potential for slides increases.

As a result, avalanche watches are in effect for the Wasatch Mountains north of Provo and into the Western Uintas.

If you are a backcountry enthusiast, just be prepared this weekend. Kobernik says, "There's a lot of anxious folks out there who are wanting to enjoy the fresh snow, and it can take people off guard the first time they're up in the mountains. They can forget about avalanche danger. It's very easy to fall into that trap."

If you're heading to the backcountry this weekend, carry all the correct safety gear and check avalanche conditions by going to the related link.

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