More spring snow brings more avalanche danger

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on April 28, 2011 at 6:16 PM

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. -- At this time of year, snowmobilers look for higher elevations, colder temperatures and powder. But at this time of year, snowmobilers, cross country skiers, hikers and others playing in the snow have to be wary of avalanches.

This is the second season in a row in which winter conditions have persisted in the mountains.

"I rode into mid-May, some people rode into June and July," said one snowmobiler Thursday. 

He is prepared, carrying avalanche beacons that can help rescuers find you under the snow, probes to locate a person under the snow and shovels to dig people out if the worst should happen.

The snow is still coming down in the Cascades. A foot fell at Snoqualmie Pass Wednesday night. Thursday morning at Stevens Pass, the Washington State Department of Transportation avalanche control team was out bringing down slides.

"Often times, you end up with very dangerous large slides at this time of the year," said KING 5 Meteorologist Rich Marriott. He's studied avalanches for decades.

"The real risk is in the afternoon on south facing slopes, where it's really going to be warm over the weekend. And often when the skies are blue, it lures people into taking chances they normally wouldn't take in the middle of winter," said Marriott.

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