Steamboat, Flat Tops only region in Colorado with high avalanche danger
Conditions expected to remain very dangerous through Thursday
The avalanche danger in the Steamboat and Flat Tops region is currently labeled as a four, or high, on the danger scale, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The avalanche forecast for the area has areas above treeline labeled as high danger, with near treeline rated as a three, or considerable, on the five-point scale, and below treeline is rated as a two, or moderate.
Steamboat is experiencing a lot more snowfall than the rest of the state. The Tower Snowtel on Buffalo Pass recorded nearly 20 inches over the last day.
With less snowfall, the avalanche danger is considerable in eight regions across Colorado and moderate in the Sangre de Cristo region.
The forecast projects the area to experience high danger through Thursday, March 10, and possibly longer.
“We definitely expect to keep it at high (Thursday) above treeline,” said Ian Fowler, a forecaster with CAIC. “We’ll see how things stabilize beyond there. It’ll probably stay at least considerable and elevated into the weekend.”
When danger will decrease depends on how much snow continues to fall and what type of snow it’s falling on, which heavily varies.
“If it’s falling on a persistent weak layer, which is a type of snow that’s not friendly, doesn’t play nicely with other snow and stays weak for a long time, than the danger might stay elevated for a while,” Fowler said. “If it’s falling on a strong snow pack, it might just be a couple of days where it settles and warm bonds and bonds well.”
Check avalanche conditions at http://www.avalanche.state.co.us/ before entering the backcountry or making plans.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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