Overnight snow expected to increase avalanche danger on Christmas Day in Utah

A backcountry avalanche watch was issued Sunday for northern Utah mountains and dangerous avalanche conditions were expected to develop by Christmas morning because of overnight snowfall.

The Utah Avalanche Center said the avalanche watch is in effect until 6 a.m. Monday, when it could be upgraded to a warning. Both human-triggered and natural avalanches will become more likely, according to the center.

The affected areas include the Wasatch range, Ogden-area mountains, the Bear River range and the western Uintas. Mountains in the Logan area could get 4 inches to 8 inches of new snow overnight, while 6 inches to 12 inches of snow could fall in the Ogden and Salt Lake City areas.

People in the backcountry are urged to stay off of and out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

“Anyone traveling in the mountains should: (1) Get the proper avalanche rescue gear, and know how to use it. (2) Get avalanche training. (3) Get the avalanche forecast every day at www.utahavanlanchecenter.org,” the center said in a news release.

In addition, people recreating in the backcountry can call 1-888-999-4019 for more detailed information.

The watch does not apply to ski areas where avalanche hazard reduction measures are performed.

For Christmas, the National Weather Service predicts highs in the 40s in Salt Lake City and Provo, about 40 degrees in Ogden and about 30 in Logan.