Avalanches, Snowy Disasters, Avalanche Information

This time of year, snowboarders and skiers head to some of the most popular snow summits across the country. However, snowy natural disasters called avalanches can become a concern. 

What You Need To Know

  • An avalanche is a mass of snow moving down a slope
  • Someone in the victim’s party triggers 90% of avalanche incidents
  • The natural disaster kills about 30 people in the U.S. yearly

According to the National Weather Service, an avalanche occurs when there’s a rapid flow of snow down a hill or mountainside.

Avalanches happen suddenly and “occur during or just after snowstorms on slopes between 30 and 45 degrees.”

Also, look out for Avalanche Watches and Warnings from the Weather Service.

The NWS says 90% of avalanche incidents become triggered by someone in the victim’s party.

They also kill about 30 people a year in the U.S.

So far this year, avalanches have killed four people; in California, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado.

Placer County sheriff vehicles are parked near the ski lift at Palisades Tahoe where avalanche occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Tahoe, Calif. (AP Photo/Andy Barron)

There are resources people can use to get avalanche safety training and spot potential avalanches.

One resource there is the NWS and

Here’s a breakout of avalanche safety tips and warning signs.

Remember, stay vigilant and safe during avalanches and be aware of the signs when you’re on the slopes. 

Our team of meteorologists dives deep into the science of weather and breaks down timely weather data and information. To view more weather and climate stories, check out our weather blogs section.

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