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Canadian Avalanche Centre issues special public avalanche warning

Canadian Armed Forces artillery personnel shoot down an avalanche in Glacier National Park last weekend. The avalanche control brought down several large, destructive avalanches. The Canadian Avalanche Centre is warning of large, natural slides this weekend due to warm temperatures. - Parks Canada photo
Canadian Armed Forces artillery personnel shoot down an avalanche in Glacier National Park last weekend. The avalanche control brought down several large, destructive avalanches. The Canadian Avalanche Centre is warning of large, natural slides this weekend due to warm temperatures.
— image credit: Parks Canada photo

The Canadian Avalanche Centre has issued a special public avalanche warning for most of British Columbia for the coming weekend.

In a news release, the CAC issued the warning for the North and South Columbia regions around Revelstoke, the North Coast Inland, South Coast Inland, Sea to Sky, North Rockies, Cariboos, Purcells, Kootenay-Boundary, Lizard Range and South Rockies.

The warning applies to backcountry users and is in effect from Friday, Jan. 17, to Monday, Jan 20.

The main concern is sun and potentially record-breaking warm temperatures that will destabilize a complex and highly variable snowpack, said Karl Klassen, the CAC's public avalanche warning service manager.

He said weak layers near the bottom of the snowpack could react during the warm spell.

“In addition to smaller surface slides during the coming warm spell, we have the potential for very large natural and human-triggered avalanches failing deep in the snowpack throughout the weekend,” he said. “We’re concerned about ‘blue sky syndrome’ this weekend. It’s common to have a false sense of security in good weather, and this weekend that could lead to underestimating the hazard.”

The CAC is advising recreational backcountry users with little or no avalanche training to avoid all avalanche terrain. More experience backcountry recreationists are being urged to stick to simple terrain such as small, low-angle, well-supported features with no large, steep slopes and cornices above.

When temperatures are warmest and the sun is out, all avalanche terrain should be avoided, including valley-bottom run-out zones.

Backcountry travelers need to carry an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel and should have avalanche safety training, the warning states.

Check www.avalanche.ca/cac for more information.

 

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