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4 cars buried by avalanche on Highway 91

All people inside the vehicles have been accounted for, according to Colorado State Patrol.

Four cars were buried in an avalanche Thursday on Highway 91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain, according to CDOT.

The natural slide occurred just before 4 p.m. on a path that has never run before, CDOT said. All people inside the buried vehicles have been accounted and no injuries were reported. Photos from aftermath shows snow piled up to one vehicle's doors. 

Credit: Colorado State Patrol

The slide was about 100 yards wide and up to 15 feet deep, CDOT said. It happened in an area where crews have never done avalanche mitigation work before. 

CDOT initially tweeted that the highway would stay closed overnight, but later, at about 8 p.m. said the road has reopened. When the avalanche occurred, the highway had just reopened from an earlier avalanche that ruptured a natural gas line, cutting off gas to a wastewater treatment plant and a gas station.

CDOT has told travelers to avoid I-70 in the mountains if possible. 

RELATED: Multiple avalanches close mountain highways for hours on Thursday

RELATED: A-Basin closed Thursday due to extreme avalanche danger

In a Facebook post Thursday morning, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) said four backcountry zones have gone to extreme (5 of 5) Avalanche Danger for the first time since the 10-zone forecast format began. 

Credit: Colorado State Patrol
Avalanche outside Copper that buried 3 cars.

Historic avalanches are already occurring, the CAIC said. They urged people not to travel in or near avalanche terrain. 

Avalanche warnings are in place for the Front Range, Steamboat and Flat Tops, Vail and Summit County, Sawatch, Aspen, Gunnison, Grand Mesa and San Juan Mountains.

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