Monday, May 15, 2006

Avalanche danger

Headed for the hills? Be prepared:

Avalanche monitors issued an unusual spring avalanche watch for Colorado today amid fast-rising spring temperatures.

"With this rapid warmup we have maybe a greater potential for wet-slab avalanches than we typically do this time of year,” Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, told the AP.

The avalanche watch applies to the mountains statewide above 11,000 feet through Thursday morning, Greene said. A watch means weather conditions could produce avalanches, he said.

Wet-slab avalanches occur when weak layers of snow become damp as temperatures rise. The avalanche center reported more than 24 avalanches last week, including one on Saturday that swept a climber about 1,000 vertical feet down Torreys Peak in Clear Creek County. The man was injured, but no details were immediately available.

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