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Snow storm could bring avalanches to canyons in metro area

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center will be watching mid-elevation canyons just outside of Denver.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — As the snow falls over the next few days, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is watching the potential for avalanches both in the mountains and closer to the city.

"We're looking at enough snow in the mountains to be increasing the avalanche danger through the weekend," said Spencer Logan, an avalanche forecaster with CAIC.

He said increasing avalanche danger in the mountains is a given. But, he said, there is something more.

"There is potential for enough snow that we could see some small avalanches in unusual areas," Logan said. "We are considering avalanches in these lower elevations, closer to the Metro area maybe some of the canyons where we don't usually see avalanches."

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He said places like Clear Creek Canyon near Golden or areas near Evergreen fit as potential avalanche spots.

"Some of the mid-elevation canyons, some of the areas on the edge of the Metro area," Logan said. "Areas we would see two or three feet of snow."

Logan said the CAIC will be watching canyons with steep slopes that may get snow which can sit heavy with high water content.

RELATED: Some changes to timing, duration of Colorado's weekend storm

"The avalanche issues in the mountains are not going to be as extraordinary as the impacts will be in the Front Range," Logan said.

The Deputy City Manager of Golden said leaders with police and fire departments are aware of the avalanche potential and are prepared to deal with any issues that may arise.

But, it all depends, Logan said, on the movement of the water and snow and the ability to predict where people need to be careful. 

"Small avalanches can cause issues when they catch people unawares or they catch people who aren't prepared for them," Logan said.

Logan said once the snow is over, backcountry travelers should still pay close attention to avalanche forecasts from the CAIC throughout next week. 

Click here to find out more information.

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