In Brief: Avalanche in Utah backcountry kills one; parts of Colorado always windy |

In Brief: Avalanche in Utah backcountry kills one; parts of Colorado always windy

Avalanche near Park City kills one, injures another

An avalanche that killed one man and injured another occurred in the Upper Weber Canyon backcountry near Park City, Utah, around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

Summit County Dispatch received the report and multiple agencies responded. Two men were confirmed to be buried, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

Both men were located and first responders began performing life saving measures. However, one person was buried deep and wasn’t breathing. The man was confirmed deceased at the scene. The second was transported to a nearby hospital via medical helicopter. He is in stable condition.

The avalanche was triggered by a group of guided skiers, according to a preliminary report from the Utah Avalanche Center. The avalanche was 400 feet wide and four feet deep.

The Sheriff’s Office had limited information about the avalanche and those involved because of the location. Sheriff’s Office Captain Kacey Bates said new details would be released when more information becomes available.

The Utah Avalanche Center had not reported a fatality since February 2021.

Why are some places in Colorado always so windy?

There’s a longstanding saying in Colorado: If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change. But there’s one consistent weather pattern that prompted a listener question to Colorado Wonders.

Marlene Sassaman, who lives in Huerfano County, asked: “What causes the consistent high winds in the southern Front Range, south of Pueblo, and West of Walsenburg in Navajo Ranch along Hwy 160?”

We called up Denver7 Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson for some insight.

He says the wind events in Huerfano County are very similar to the consistent high winds along Highway 93 in Boulder County.

‘“The mountains are right there and the air can’t go through them. It’s got to go around them and through the canyons,” Nelson said.

He compares the phenomenon to the wind blowing between tall buildings in downtown Denver.

“It’s called the Venturi Effect. You’re squeezing all that air in between those tall buildings and it gets very windy,” he said. “We’re squeezing all that air in between the mountain peaks and through the canyons.” 

The process creates a drop in wind pressure as it moves through a more confined space, which produces higher speed.

Nelson says the phenomenon is the reason the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Wind Center is located along Highway 93. 

Colorado Public Radio

A brief history (and possible future) of daylight saving time

This is the time of year when some of us, bleary-eyed after springing forward and losing an hour of sleep, wonder, “Why the heck do we have to keep doing this?” 

The quick answer: state lawmakers passed a law last year that would automatically make daylight saving time in Colorado permanent if a few caveats fell into place.

“The federal government has to pass a law that allows states to make the choice whether they can stay on permanent standard time or permanent daylight time and Colorado voted to do but only if a certain number of states surrounding Colorado also agreed to do it,” said Lisa Meltzer, a pediatric psychologist, researcher and professor at National Jewish Health who’s been reviewing studies into the time change.

And enough of the nearby states have indeed agreed. 

Now, it’s in the hands of the federal government. A different bill that would allow permanent daylight saving time passed the U.S. Senate. It must now be approved by the U.S. House and signed by the president. Meanwhile, states can already choose to remain on standard time — as opposed to daylight saving time — if they want. So far, Arizona and Hawaii are the only states to do so.

Daylight saving time was first implemented during World War I, and it was a measure to add more daylight hours to conserve energy. And so after that point in time, everyone locally could decide, or states or local jurisdictions could decide, if or when to observe daylight saving time. In 1966, it became a uniform time act, so everybody would observe daylight saving time for a certain period of the year.

In 1974, there was a decision to switch to permanent daylight saving time. It was a trial effort that was going to last for two years, but after seven months, they ended the trial because there were so many complaints of children going to school in the dark. There were accidents with children getting hit, motor vehicle crashes, and nobody liked starting their workday in pitch black. So it was repealed less than a year after it was implemented.

Additionally, standard time matches most closely with the sun time. So in the summer, the sun reaches its peak, we would think it’s at noon, but it’s actually at one o’clock. So there’s this difference in terms of where the sun peaks and sets as opposed to what our clock times say.

Colorado Public Radio

Fentanyl prevention is focus of new congressional caucus co-chaired by Colorado’s Neguse

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette is one of four federal representatives leading the newly formed Bipartisan Fentanyl Prevention Caucus in Congress. 

The caucus co-chairs — besides Neguse they include Democrat Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania and Republicans Darrell Issa of California and Ken Calvert of California — will work with legislators from both parties as well as federal and state law enforcement to combat the nation’s spike in fentanyl overdoses and poisonings. Education will also be a key priority of the caucus members, working with prevention and awareness groups to help the public better understand the threat fentanyl poses. 

In 2021, the most recent year for which figures are available, fentanyl contributed to 912 overdose deaths in Colorado. The figure in 2020 was 540.

The caucus formed days after Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office released a report detailing the dangers of social media as a tool for fentanyl distribution, which includes multiple recommendations to social media platforms as well as state and federal legislators intended to mitigate online drug traffic.

Colorado Springs’ Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is also a member of the caucus.

Lamborn stated that he has “seen firsthand how the fentanyl crisis has affected Coloradans.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, and at least 65% of those deaths were due to the fentanyl, he said.

Colorado Newsline