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Avalanche danger soars with storm moving into high country

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Factors are combining to create some of the worst avalanche danger in the high country in years.

It will start with warm mountain temperatures and upside-down snowfall, 70-100 mph winds above treeline, an unusually unstable base layer, then 1-2 feet of new accumulation.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the danger for slides will remain high all weekend.

"We are headed into a very stormy period," said Spencer Logan with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. "It looks like it's going to be a significant snowfall, a lot of wind, and that is going to add a big load on top of snowpack that is already very fragile”

Snow will continue in the mountains with some rain/snow mix in the valleys until temperatures fall Friday afternoon.  Snow will end on Saturday morning. Winter storm warnings have been issued for the high country, and travel could be slow and tricky.

Up to 1-2 feet of snow are expected at most ski areas and 8-16 inches at the Eisenhower Tunnel.

"It looks like some of the mountain areas can receive up to 2 feet of snow so with that wind, it picks that up and drifts it other places, and it can drift rapidly and stick that 2 feet of snow on a slope," Logan said.