Special avalanche warning issued for B.C.’s South Coast

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British Columbians planning to head into the backcountry over the weekend are being warned of treacherous avalanche conditions on the South Coast.

Avalanche Canada has issued a special public avalanche warning, due to a “highly unusual” snowpack with a weak, buried layer not typically found in the region’s warmer climate.

Read more: Warning issued for human-triggered avalanches in B.C. mountains this weekend

The conditions are the product of a recent cold snap on the south coast, and are particularly treacherous in the busy North Shore Mountains, the agency said.

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“This weak layer is widespread and relatively easy for a person to trigger, Avalanche Canada forecaster Kate Devine in a bulletin.

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“There have been a number of close calls and the snowfall predicted for the coming weekend will bury this layer even deeper. This added snow load will increase the depth and size of the avalanche, which could be deadly for anyone who is caught.”

Read more: Snowmobiler killed after getting trapped in avalanche in B.C.’s Nicola Valley

The agency says anyone headed into the backcountry should always check their regional avalanche forecast, and ensure they have the proper gear, including a transceiver, probe and shovel.

Search and rescue volunteers are also warning people that they may be delayed in responding to injuries or lost adventurers, as they can only enter the backcountry once they have the green light from a certified avalanche safety officer.

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