Map of an area covered by an avalanche warning, issued Thursday.

Special avalanche warning for much of B.C.’s interior ranges

Several near misses and changing conditions prompt an avalanche warning

With a growing avalanche hazard, several near misses and one fatality, Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning for recreational backcountry users to avoid avalanche terrain this weekend.

The warning from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada is in effect immediately until the end of day Monday, Jan. 15. The warning applies to several areas including the Kootenay Boundary region, which encompasses much of the Okanagan, as well as the Lizard Range & Flathead, South Rockies, Purcells, South and North Columbia, Glacier National Park and the Cariboos.

Related: In an avalanche you have about 15 minutes to live

According to Avalanche Canada, the snowpack in these areas contains a number of weak layers. Recent snowstorms have buried these layers anywhere from 40 cm to more than a metre deep. The weight of the new snow has brought this unstable snowpack to a critical point, making it very easy for skiers or snowmobilers to trigger large avalanches.

Related: Snowpack sitting at 123 per cent of normal

“We have been keeping a close eye on these weak layers and the snow load that has been accumulating on top of them,” said James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “It’s a complex situation and we are now at the tipping point. The warmer temperatures forecast for the coming weekend will definitely increase the chances of triggering an avalanche.”

There have been a number of near misses reported over the past seven to 10 days, as well as a fatal avalanche accident north of Fernie on Jan. 8.

“Many of these incidents are occurring in what is generally considered fairly safe terrain, such as relatively low-angle slopes, treed areas and even heavily tracked slopes,” added Floyer. “These conditions require expert-level decision making skills and we recommend backcountry users avoid avalanche terrain. The signs indicating you are exposed to avalanche terrain can be very subtle. If you don’t have the training to recognize them, please avoid the backcountry or hire a professional guide.”

For current avalanche conditions, check www.avalanche.ca.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Downtown project on target for March start

Watermain, curb flare project tendered

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

UPDATE: Coquihalla northbound lane re-opened

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs petition

Local governments on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Team chaplain reflects on time with Silverbacks

Kenny Toews served as a mentor and spiritual leader to the team for six seasons

Drawings connect autistic student with the world

Leifen Mitchell-Banks creates colourful cartoon characters at Salmon Arm Secondary.

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close, union says

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

‘Miraculous that nobody was killed’

Tanker full of aviation fuel involved in Highway 3 crash

Most Read