ST. GEORGE — Recreationists headed into the Southern Utah backcountry are being asked to take special precautions as the threat of avalanches grows.

The shaded portion on the map shows areas under the backcountry avalanche watch | Map courtesy of the National Weather Service, St. George News

The Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Salt Lake City issued a backcountry avalanche watch Thursday morning in effect until 6 a.m. Friday. The danger of avalanches is expected to increase on Friday and Saturday as a winter storm is forecasted to add snow to an existing weak snowpack.

The mountains of southwestern Utah, including terrain around Brian Head Ski Resort and surrounding areas, are included in this watch from 6 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday.

Expected heavy snow coupled with “very weak” existing snow could produce dangerous avalanche conditions, according to the watch. Friday and Saturday are the most likely days for avalanches. An avalanche warning will be issued Friday if expected snow accumulates Thursday night, weather officials say.

Precautionary/ preparedness actions

Stay off of and out from under slopes steeper than 30 degrees. Backcountry travelers should consult or call 1-888-999-4019 for more detailed information.

This watch does not apply to ski areas where avalanche hazard reduction measures are performed.

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