Advertisement

Unstable snowpack leads to avalanche warning for Alberta, B.C. national parks

Click to play video: 'Dry conditions across southern B.C. bring avalanche warnings' Dry conditions across southern B.C. bring avalanche warnings
Senior meteorologist Kristi Gordon explains how an upper-level ridge will bring dry conditions will bring avalanche warnings and fog across southern B.C – Jan 20, 2022

Avalanche Canada has issued a warning for parts of Alberta including Banff and B.C.

Warm temperatures and lots of sunshine are expected for the coming weekend, which will have a destabilizing effect on the snowpack.

This warning is in effect immediately and will apply through to the end of Monday, Jan. 24, Avalanche Canada said.

Read more: Quick overnight thaw leads to water main breaks in a dozen Calgary communities Thursday

The special warning applies to the following regions: Banff, Yoho, North and South Columbias, Purcells, Kootenay Boundary, and in Glacier, Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks.

It also applies to an area within the Sea-to-Sky and South Coast Inland regions, from Squamish to Pemberton.

Story continues below advertisement

“There are persistent weak layers in the mountain snowpack across most of southern BC and western Alberta,” explained James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada.

Click to play video: 'B.C. snowboarder describes surviving North Shore avalanche' B.C. snowboarder describes surviving North Shore avalanche
B.C. snowboarder describes surviving North Shore avalanche – Jan 10, 2022

“This special warning targets regions where these layers have proven to be an issue. The combination of this snowpack structure and higher temperatures will make natural and human-triggered avalanches much more likely.”

Avalanche Canada said there have been several close calls reported recently, with many large avalanches running the full extent of their paths.

“There is a lot of uncertainty with these weak layers,” adds Floyer.

Read more: Busy winter for Avalanche Canada; complex snow layers proving a challenge

“While we have targeted an area where we think there is a higher risk of triggering these deep weak layers, we also urge backcountry users in adjacent regions to exercise caution during this warming period.”

Story continues below advertisement

Backcountry users should always check their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the knowledge to use it.

Floyer also said choose the right path.

“Steer clear of the big open slopes, large avalanche paths. It’s a time to go out and enjoy the mountains…but stick to smaller slopes, lower-angled slopes and slopes that wouldn’t result in a catastrophic avalanche.”

This special warning is in effect to the end of Monday, Jan 24.

Sponsored content