High Colorado avalanche damages trail

By Lauren Pannini, CNN • Updated 16th August 2015

High winds in the High Country of Colorado on Tuesday triggered an avalanche, cutting a swath of three-to-six-feet-deep snow around a trail and triggering a collapse, the local National Weather Service said.

“There’s going to be avalanches … although the potential for one is pretty low,” NWS meteorologist Daniel Lewandowski said Wednesday morning. “It’s just going to be the wind and trail conditions, but the winds have been unusually high.”

Officials issued a warning for avalanche danger in the area. The mountain ranges of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah in the eastern United States are riddled with avalanches, which often kill hikers and become lethal when they happen too close to populated areas.

This story was updated at 8:10 a.m. ET to note that the NWS meteorologist has revised the total snowfall in Eagle County to five feet.

Avalanche warnings are issued by the NWS when there is a high probability of avalanches in the immediate area.

The 5 foot snow fall “will have a serious impact on the ecosystem of this area and probably below,” Lewandowski said.

“If you’re hiking through an avalanche in Colorado, you should check to see if anything is blocking the way. Otherwise you should start moving at a slow rate.”

The Grand Mesa range of Wyoming’s Front Range and the Colorado Panhandle, a group of mesas and canyons, are home to the massive Pikes Peak, which is the highest peak in the state.

“It’s the kind of weather (affecting the mountains) we get in August and September,” Lewandowski said. “It’s where you get the September snow storms. We don’t get this kind of weather until late summer.”

The last time this many inches of snow fell at this time of year was in 2000, the NWS said.

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