Friday, April 28, 2023

Avalanche situation in Northwest gains Provincial attention

The province of British Columbia has joined up with Avalanche Canada to issue an advisory on the Avalanche risk across the province through until the 1st of May with the Northwest among the areas of note identified on Thursday.

In an information release the province issued guidance for those that may be considering some back country travels over this weekend, noting of warming conditions and an unstable snowpack that could make for a bad combination.

The province giving some prominent space to the advice of Mike Conlan, a Senior Avalance Forecaster with Avalanche Canada.

The sudden transition from cool, wintry conditions in the alpine to warm temperatures will create dangerous avalanche conditions. The effect of the warm temperatures on the existing snowpack structure means that these avalanches will likely be very large and may run to valley bottoms. 

Dangerous avalanche conditions exist for all mountainous regions in western Canada and the hazard increases with each day of warm air

Regions with persistent or deep persistent slab avalanche problems will be especially problematic, with avalanches potentially involving the full depth of the snowpack. 

Warming can also initiate large and destructive cornice falls. Cornices can be destructive by themselves but also act as a trigger for destructive deep persistent avalanches,”

Bowen Ma, British Columbia's Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness provided her own concerns for the public to take heed of for the immediate period ahead.

“We cannot stress the importance of this avalanche warning enough. I urge everyone considering heading into the backcountry to take seriously the advice of Avalanche Canada. Sadly, fourteen people have lost their lives to avalanches in B.C. this year—many of whom were extremely experienced. 

Everyone needs to exercise extreme caution and make good decisions during this Special Public Avalanche Warning to keep themselves and our incredible search and rescue volunteers safe.”

The full provincial statement can be reviewed here.

Towards specific guidance for the Northwest. Avalanche Canada has the following information posted to their website.

A new update will be issued at 4PM this afternoon you can access it here.

The Norhwest recently saw a tragic result from an avalanche near Stewart that claimed one life and left a number of others injured.

More notes on weather themes is available through our archive page.

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