- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2012

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Backcountry avalanche warnings were continued Friday for the mountains of west-central Montana and in the area north of Yellowstone National Park.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center said the avalanche danger was high on all slopes in the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone and in the mountains around Cooke City. Since Thursday morning, the Cooke City area received up to 15 inches of new snow on top of an extremely weak snowpack.

The West Central Montana Avalanche Center also rated the avalanche danger as high on slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Spokesman Dudley Improta says several areas of west-central Montana received 2 to 2 ½ feet of snow, and the temperature change during the storm created a weak snowpack

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