Avalanche warning in effect for mountains near Cooke City

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BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has issued a backcountry avalanche warning for the mountains near Cooke City, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone along with the Southern Madison and Southern Gallatin ranges.

Officials say heavy snow and strong wind added weight to a weak and unstable snowpack in the area, making natural and human triggered avalanches likely Monday. Avalanche terrain and avalanche runout zones should be avoided.

The mountains near Cooke City have received more than 2 feet of snow since Saturday and a skier triggered a small avalanche on Sunday.

The mountains near West Yellowstone and south of Big Sky got 8 to 12 inches of new snow while winds have been gusting up to 50 mph. More snow was expected Monday morning.

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