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Utah forecast: Mountain avalanche risk rated at 'red'

Published February 23, 2012 6:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Unseasonably warm temperatures and a wet weekend forecast have triggered avalanche warnings for northern and eastern Utah's mountains.

The Utah Avalanche Center on Thursday elevated its risk ratings for potential deadly snow slides to "red," or high for the slopes near Logan, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and into the western Uintas. Southeastern Utah's Moab-area mountains, meanwhile, earned an "orange," or considerable avalanche risk grade.

Indeed, an avalanche early Thursday morning closed Little Cottonwood Canyon east of Salt Lake City, but no injuries or property damage were reported. Crews worked through the night to clear the slide, which occurred near Alta. The road had reopened by 9:30 a.m. Thursday to four-wheel drive or tire-chained vehicles, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

Friday's forecast for northern Utah called for partly cloudy skies with high temperatures in the mid-40s in the wake of Thursday's prediction of mountain snow showers and high temperatures in the upper-30s.

Much of the state was under a high wind advisory overnight and into early Thursday, but public safety dispatchers along the Wasatch Front reported no significant incidents of damage due to the gusts, which were in excess of 60 mph in places.

In southern Utah, the forecast was for highs in the upper-50s for both Thursday and Friday under sunny, though breezy skies.

The unsettled weather patterns were expected to churn the atmosphere nicely, however, resulting in "green" or satisfactory air quality ratings for the entire state heading toward the weekend, according to the Utah Division of Environmental Quality.

Salt Lake City's high temperature Friday was expected to hit 45 degrees Friday, up 4 degrees from Thursday's forecast; Ogden looked for 43 after a 41-degree forecast; Provo looked for 44 and 41; Logan 39s; Wendover 43 and 42; Duchesne 39 and 41; Cedar City 47 and 44; St. George 61 and 60; and Moab 46 and 44 degrees.

remims@sltrib.com