Avalanche danger will spike as big spring storm rolls in

Apr 12, 2022, 9:37 AM | Updated: 10:00 am
Image of snow covered mountains surrounded by fog...
FILE Photo credit: Paul Nelson/KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — Avalanche danger will spike because of the latest Utah storm. 

This spring storm is bringing in a decent amount of heavy snow. But that’s not the only problem. 

“In this case, it’s how much how fast,” said Drew Hardesty, a forecaster at the Utah Avalanche Center. “And when it snows two to three inches per hour as forecast, things will become unstable in a hurry.”

Hardesty says the danger will rise from low to moderate to considerable really quickly, reaching that considerable rating by late morning.

He says that by later Tuesday, and definitely by tomorrow, avalanche conditions will be “tricky.”

But don’t blame the base layer.

“The new snow may come in and bond fairly well to the old, warm, rough, and corrugated snow surfaces out there,” he said. “But beyond that, it all going to boil down to how much snow, how fast is it going to fall, and how much winds is going to be associated with the snowfall.” 

Hardesty says they expect that with the precipitation rates and winds, the avalanche danger will really ramp up. 

“We always see close calls and accidents with these spring storms,” Hardesty said. “Folks should not fall asleep at the wheel when they’re heading out to the backcountry over the next couple of days.”

The Utah Avalanche Center released updated forecasts each morning at 7 a.m. The center warns thing could get hairy in the next day or so. 

“The strongest snowfall of the day could come late afternoon into the early evening, where snowfall rates could peak at 2 [inches] an hour,” the center wrote in its forecast. “This storm totals could bring us 20-28 inches of snow, and up to 2 inches of water by tomorrow morning.”

The start of 2022 did not prove to be as deadly as years past, but forecasters adamantly warned of dangerous conditions created by warmer temperatures and less snow, to begin with.

Last year, 2021, was considered one of the most deadly avalanche seasons in the United States ever.

Related stories


Today’s Top Stories


The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sendin...
Holly Yan and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Lava is spilling toward a key Hawaiian highway, but the governor says it’s safe to visit the Big Island

The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sending a river of molten rock down toward the main highway of Hawaii's Big Island.
11 hours ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
11 hours ago
A motorist drives through the snow in Olympus Cove in Salt Lake County. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What you need in your emergency winter car kit

After a significant snowfall in northern Utah, are you prepared for a winter emergency while on the roads? Wade Mathews of Utah Division of Emergency Management -- Be Ready Utah joins the shows to give out holidays tips on being prepared for any challenges while driving.
2 days ago
USGS posted two photos on Monday from a Civil Air Patrol flight which shows the Mauna Loa volcano e...
Chandler Holt

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time since 1984

The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa on Hawaii, is erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years. Though lava is flowing down one side of the volcano, the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not threatening communities.
2 days ago
emergency snow...
Elizabeth Weiler

Emergency snow preparation will prove vital this winter

Officials from the Utah Division of Emergency Management, say a "preparedness mindset" is the best prevention for danger.
2 days ago
dangerous avalanche...
Kira Hoffelmeyer and Elizabeth Weiler

Snow storm brings highly dangerous avalanche conditions

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Avalanche Center is warning of highly dangerous avalanche conditions this morning.  Specifically, Salt Lake County mountains have a high danger rating.  Dangerous avalanche conditions may result in traffic issues and adjustments to morning commutes are temperatures drop below freezing.  In the 2021-2022 avalanche season, Utah reported no fatalities in […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Avalanche danger will spike as big spring storm rolls in