Avalanche danger high in the mountains after snowstorms

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. -- Avalanche danger has climbed to a high level in the Colorado mountains after a Christmas weekend snowstorm.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says very dangerous conditions exist in all areas above tree line - especially around the Vail area, as well as Summit and Grand counties.

The snow pack is weak after an extended period of dry conditions and warm weather followed by the powerful storms that slammed into Colorado over the last few days.

The center says back-country enthusiasts need to be careful this week.

A combination of heavy snowfall and strong winds have created a rapid increase in avalanche danger for portions of the mountains this morning. Snowfall totals over the past weekend have added up to 15 to 20 inches across some of the highest peaks.

Portions of Interstate 70 were shut down due to avalanche mitigation work over the weekend.

The Colorado Department of Transportation sent out tweets alerting drivers of closures along I-70 near the Eisenhower Tunnel, as well as Loveland Pass.

Extended delays like could be possible once again on Tuesday with the heightened risk of avalanches in the high country.

An avalanche warning is in effect for the central and northern mountains until 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday as snow continues to taper off.