Avalanche Warning for Vancouver Island as temperatures heat up

Avalanche Warning for Vancouver Island as temperatures heat up

Avalanche Canada posted a Special Public Avalanche Warning for the Backcountry in Western Canada Thursday morning as the avalanche danger rating for the mountains of Vancouver Island increased to “High.”

The warmest temperatures of the year are causing unstable conditions.

“This Special Public Avalanche Warning is being issued because we’re seeing a really rapid transition to spring,” said Colin Garrity, Avalanche forecaster and field technician in Campbell River. “This punch of warm weather is really hitting quite rapidly and really high temperatures, at really high elevations and it’s warmer than these high elevations have seen all season so it’s a real test of the snowpack.”

There will be numerous dangers to watch for, especially on steeper, sun-exposed slopes later in the afternoons.

READ MORE: Special avalanche warning issued for parts of North Island and B.C.

“We’re expecting natural avalanches of wet snow to run down steep features, gullies, things like that and potentially get quite large and definitely large enough to injure somebody and potentially large enough to bury, injure or kill somebody,” Garrity added.

Overhanging snow features called cornices can also be deadly and are at risk of collapsing this weekend.

“A falling cornice can be the size of a vehicle or even a small building that could run into somebody and be absolutely catastrophic but they can also trigger avalanches on the slopes below them.

All backcountry users, including hikers and scramblers, and anyone recreating in avalanche terrain are advised to leave a wide margin for error during this warming period, stick to simple, low-angle terrain, and avoid all overhead avalanche hazards.

Backcountry users are encouraged to check the avalanche forecast at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party should have the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the training to use it.

Avalanche conditions are not expected to improve much over the next week or so.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!