HomeOutdoorsWeatherAvalanche Warnings Issued for Colorado Amid Ongoing Winter Storms

Avalanche Warnings Issued for Colorado Amid Ongoing Winter Storms

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/ boggy22)

Winter storms are continuing to bring inclement weather to the Colorado area. And with this, meteorologists note comes some ample warnings about potential avalanche concerns.

According to reports, there are multiple avalanche warnings set in place across the western area of Colorado over the next few days. Major storms sweeping across the Western regions of the country are creating what experts are calling “favorable” avalanche conditions. Additionally, winter weather advisories are continuing in the area.

Heavy Snowfalls Are Creating Dangerous Avalanche Conditions Leading To Warnings Throughout the Rockies

Heavy snowfall is hitting the area along with strong winds. These conditions are overloading on top of the weaker snow piles near the bottom throughout the Rockies.

“Significant new snow, in some places over 36 inches, has fallen on a weeks-old snow layer,” explains CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.

“The top layer of the older snow is hard and slick,” Myers continues.

“The new snow can’t attach to it,” the meteorologist adds. “And will slide off creating the avalanche danger.”

Avalanches May Occur Naturally, But Triggering Is Also A Possibility

According to Colorado Avalanche Information Center experts, these dangerous conditions will allow for natural avalanches to occur. However, they can also be triggered in these conditions. Even if the trigger happens at a distance.

“You can expect to easily trigger a large and dangerous avalanche,” a recent reports notes. “On steep northerly and easterly-facing slopes at all elevations.”

Area officials note that a sharp increase in deaths related to avalanches occur through January and February. However, these dangerous conditions can occur at any time under the right circumstances.

“Early season snowpack can be highly unstable because of the lack of consistent storms,” notes CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

“Once the storm door is open to more frequent snow events in January and February, snow begins to pile up in layers on top of the unstable, early-season snowfall,” the meteorologist adds.

It may still be early in the snow season. However, several winter storms running through the area have shown some heavy snowfall. The impact of this has led to the dangerous conditions hitting earlier in the year. And, someone would rarely survive being buried in a major avalanche.

“That’s the hard part about the avalanche rescue world is that we very rarely can get people there in time to make it a live find,” notes an expert. “Realistically, people have a really pretty good chance of survival if they can be fully dug out in the first 15 to 30 minutes of burial.”