The Utah Avalanche Center is encouraging community members to stay away from the backcountry as the risk of avalanches in the mountains was elevated to "high" after Thursday's snowstorm and is expected to hit "extreme" over the weekend.
As of Thursday afternoon, slopes higher than 7,000 feet in elevation in the northern mountains of the valley were covered with 1 to 3 feet of snow. Seven to 11 inches are expected in the mountains each day of the weekend, according to Toby Weed, avalanche forecaster for the Logan area.
"It's a really dangerous time with human-triggered and natural avalanches because it's the first snow in a long time," Weed said. "People have to be extremely careful now because the existing snow is really weak, and we have new snow on top of it."
Weed is concerned the dry weather in the past two months has created dangerous conditions for the area's regular snowmobilers, skiers and snowboarders.
"The backcountry around here is very popular. We are recommending that this weekend and in the next few days people don't go snowmobiling, skiing or snowboarding in the area," Weed said. "I triggered an avalanche today (with my weight). It's very dangerous."
On Wednesday, the risk of avalanche was rated Level 4 on the center's 1 to 5 scale. Over the weekend, conditions are predicted to hit Level 5, or "extreme," Weed said.
More information can be found on the avalanche center's official website, www.utahavalanchecenter.org.