Avalanche Canada issues special weekend warning for southern BC mountain ranges

Special avalanche warning

A special public avalanche warning has been issued for much of Southern B.C.

Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada, issued the warning Thursday for recreational backcountry users across numerous forecast regions in B.C. and Alberta.

"Warm temperatures and lots of sunshine are expected for the coming weekend, which will have a destabilizing effect on the snowpack," Avalanche Canada says. "This special warning is in effect immediately and will apply through to the end of Monday, Jan 24."

It applies to the following regions: the North and South Columbias, Purcells, Kootenay Boundary, and 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.

“There are persistent weak layers in the mountain snowpack across most of southern B.C. and western Alberta,” explains forecasting program supervisor James Floyer.

“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.”

Floyer says there have been several close calls recently.

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

Backcountry users are advised to always check their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca and to pack essential rescue gear — transceiver, probe, and shovel.

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