- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Winter gave Utah a wild ride on Monday, with warming temperatures that spread avalanche danger from mountain slopes to rooftops and raised flooding fears even as high winds hit ski resorts hard.

Temperature swings crank up avalanche danger as snow melts and refreezes, and Salt Lake City hit 45 degrees Monday after experiencing a low of minus 6 last week, National Weather Service meteorologist Monica Traphagan said. Snow and ice moving into far-north Logan Canyon closed U.S. Highway 89 Monday afternoon and the weather roller-coaster is expected to continue in the days ahead.

Powder Mountain near Ogden closed Monday, citing high winds and an unstable snowpack, and other ski resorts delayed lift openings amid strong wind gusts. Schools were canceled in far northwest Box Elder County following a snow-and-freezing-rain advisory for rural areas.

Meanwhile, in the southern part of the state, the iconic Zion National Park closed slot canyons that are prone to flooding, including the popular river hike called The Narrows, after the weather service issued a flood warning from rain and snowmelt. Seven people hiking through a smaller canyon died in 2015 after getting caught in a flood at Zion. While the park is now in its offseason, rangers have said that visitation during the winter is higher than ever.

A trail previously closed for falling ice, Weeping Rock, was re-opened on Monday, while another, Lower Emerald Pools, was closed for a rock slide, said Zion spokesman John Marciano.

The Zion alert was the only official flood warning by the weather service for Utah, but cities and towns from northern Utah’s Cache County down nevertheless kept a wary eye out and filled sandbags as morning rain and warming temperatures melted a bumper crop of recent snow.

It wasn’t the only warning for the state’s urban areas: In addition to a new round of warnings about avalanche danger in the mountainous backcountry popular with skiers, meteorologists also cautioned people to stay clear of steep rooftops where the unusual combination of conditions could cause snow slides.

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