DISCUSSION: After several high-impact winter storms moved through areas across central-to-northern Italy, there was a geographical response by way of an avalanche. Avalanches often occur as successive intense snowfall totals from accumulated winter low pressure system move through a given region compact and eventually destabilize. As snow continues to pile up and compact over the course of days and weeks, it can eventually pile up to such an extent that it becomes increasingly unstable. When this occurs coupled with a geologically-oriented event such as an earthquake (as was the case earlier this week over in and around the city of Rigopiano, Italy), this can sometimes trigger the occurrence of an avalanche. Hence, aside from somewhat improved forecasting by various branches of both the U.S. and Italian governments during the past few decades, avalanches of any size and magnitude often prove to have devastating consequences on villages and cities which are vulnerable and lie in the path of this life-threatening natural hazard. No matter what the circumstances are, if you are in the path of an area which is placed under an avalanche advisory, an avalanche watch, or possibly an avalanche warning, be sure to remain on the side of caution and avoid travelling through areas placed in or even close to the avalanche watch/warning.
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©2017 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz