Over the last nine days, Colorado has seen a historic amount of avalanche slides. Normally, Colorado will experience 2,500 avalanches a year, and 2019 has already surpassed that. Not only are the slides more frequent, but they are also much larger and more powerful than average.
The slides have been caused by large amounts of wet, heavy snow weighing down on top of weaker snow layers, causing the unstable snow to slide. These slides have been occurring all over the state, including along 1-70, a major highway, on top of people’s houses in ski towns, and within bounds at ski resorts.
Videos that people have taken on their cell phones while driving show the avalanches barreling down the mountain above them, completely destroying whatever is in their path. Driving along 1-70, one can see the newly formed paths that have taken down giant groups of trees spanning thousands of feet.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) has been working tirelessly to try to mitigate and manage the slides by setting them off with bombs. The state even closed 1-70 on Friday and Saturday in certain places in order to trigger the slides before they came down on unsuspecting drivers.
The amount of overtime for CAIC employees has been extreme, as they not only have to report every avalanche in the state but also assist in triggering avalanches. The government says it will pay these employees whatever overtime necessary to in order to keep the people of Colorado safe. Coloradans should expect the avalanches to continue, as more heavy snow is expected later this week.