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Avalanche warning in effect for Mount Baker, western Cascades

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

The Northwest Avalanche Center said its avalanche warning issued last weekend is still in effect for the western slopes of the Cascade and Olympics, including Mount Baker.

The risk is considered high on the avalanche danger scale, the Avalanche Center's second highest rating. It means skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts should avoid backcountry areas. The five-level scale is a combination of the expected likelihood, size, and distribution of avalanches.

Most west slopes in the mountains have received about of foot of new snow in recent weeks and are at or near their season maximums, according to the U.S. Forest Service center in Seattle. With warmer temperatures in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday - as high as the 70s in some parts of Whatcom County - the avalanche danger likely will remain high.

A backcountry skier suffered two broken legs in an avalanche near Alpental at Snoqualmie Pass on Sunday.

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