Avalanche warning in effect for western Canada as temperatures rise

Avalanche warning in effect for western Canada as temperatures rise

The regions under an Avalanche Warning. (Avalanche Canada).

The regions under an Avalanche Warning. (Avalanche Canada)

An avalanche warning has been issued for recreational backcountry users in all forecast regions in western Canada, including the north-central region of Vancouver Island, due to the increase in temperatures forecasted across B.C. and Alberta.

Avalanche Canada said the special public avalanche warning is in effect immediately because of the significant warming forecast expected to hit B.C. and Alberta this week. The temperature increases will increase the likelihood of avalanches throughout the mountains. Avalanche Canada said there is also expected to be more people in the mountains due to the warm weather and spring break in B.C.

“This is the first big warming to hit our snowpack, which is still fairly complex and winter-like,” Senior Avalanche Forecaster Grant Helgeson said in a release.

“Any time the snowpack is hit with a big change, it tends to de-stabilize. The temperatures are forecast to increase substantially this week, with no nighttime cooling. This will weaken the snowpack on all aspects, increasing the possibility of large natural avalanches as well making it easier for the weight of a person to trigger deeper weak layers.”

Avalanche Canada, Parks Canada and Kananaskis Country said all backcountry users, including those going outside ski area boundaries, needs to keep careful track of their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party also needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe and shovel—and the knowledge to use it. Parties should regroup well away from avalanche slopes, including overhead hazard such as cornices.

People heading to the mountains to snowshoe or explore the front country should also be aware that many popular summer trails are exposed to avalanche terrain. People are asked to plan ahead and research their routes to make sure they avoid those areas.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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