Three killed in Washington state avalanche

Three people have been killed in an avalanche near a popular ski resort in Washington state.

It is uncertain whether others were injured in Sunday’s slide at Stevens Pass is in the Cascade Mountains, about 80 miles north east of Seattle.

The avalanche occurred in an out-of-bounds area on the back side of the resort.

John Gifford, ski area general manager at Stevens Pass, said the resort had received 19 inches of snow in the past 24 hours. However, he said it was not snowing there on Sunday and he had no details about the avalanche.

A snowboarder was killed in a separate incident at the Alpental ski area east of Seattle on Sunday after going over a cliff.

The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Centre issued a warning for high avalanche danger for areas above 5,000 feet, saying warmer weather could loosen surface snow and trigger a slide on steeper slopes. The elevation of the avalanche was not immediately clear.

There had been 13 avalanche deaths this season in the western states of the US up to February 16, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Centre, which tracks avalanche deaths.

Experts have said the risk of additional slides could remain high all season. They attribute the dangers in part to a weak base layer of snow caused by a dry winter.

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