Avalanche risk increases for northern Arizona after 3 storms

Posted: Updated:
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (AP) -

The snowpack in northern Arizona has reached its highest level in a decade for this time of winter, prompting concerns about avalanche potential.

Kachina Peaks Avalanche Center Treasurer James Foulks tells Arizona Daily Sun that a trio of recent storms dumped nearly 8 feet of snow, causing an increased risk of potentially deadly avalanches in the San Francisco Peaks.

Foulks says the current snowpack is much more complex than normal for Arizona, with underlying instabilities and weak points that are hidden under new snow. He says the weight of additional snow or someone skiing over those areas could trigger an avalanche.

Foulks advises avoiding travel in avalanche terrain until at least 24 hours after the end of a storm, giving the snowpack a chance to stabilize.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/

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