Map of an area covered by an avalanche warning, issued Thursday.

Special avalanche warning for much of B.C.’s interior ranges

Several near misses and changing conditions prompt an avalanche warning

With a growing avalanche hazard, several near misses and one fatality, Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning for recreational backcountry users to avoid avalanche terrain this weekend.

The warning from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada is in effect immediately until the end of day Monday, Jan. 15. The warning applies to several areas including the Kootenay Boundary region, which encompasses much of the Okanagan, as well as the Lizard Range & Flathead, South Rockies, Purcells, South and North Columbia, Glacier National Park and the Cariboos.

Related: In an avalanche you have about 15 minutes to live

According to Avalanche Canada, the snowpack in these areas contains a number of weak layers. Recent snowstorms have buried these layers anywhere from 40 cm to more than a metre deep. The weight of the new snow has brought this unstable snowpack to a critical point, making it very easy for skiers or snowmobilers to trigger large avalanches.

Related: Snowpack sitting at 123 per cent of normal

“We have been keeping a close eye on these weak layers and the snow load that has been accumulating on top of them,” said James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “It’s a complex situation and we are now at the tipping point. The warmer temperatures forecast for the coming weekend will definitely increase the chances of triggering an avalanche.”

There have been a number of near misses reported over the past seven to 10 days, as well as a fatal avalanche accident north of Fernie on Jan. 8.

“Many of these incidents are occurring in what is generally considered fairly safe terrain, such as relatively low-angle slopes, treed areas and even heavily tracked slopes,” added Floyer. “These conditions require expert-level decision making skills and we recommend backcountry users avoid avalanche terrain. The signs indicating you are exposed to avalanche terrain can be very subtle. If you don’t have the training to recognize them, please avoid the backcountry or hire a professional guide.”

For current avalanche conditions, check www.avalanche.ca.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Crush Pad Winery makes Decanter’s top 10 wines of 2018

The Haywire Free Form White of 2016 scored 94 points

Christmas classic comes to ‘life’ on stage at Okanagan church

A father and daughter have been cast in their first play at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Homes for the Homeless ornaments return

Annual Penticton fundraiser lends a helping hand through the holidays

Penticton Vees forward going a cut above

BCHL player honours friends lost in Humboldt bus crash, raising funds for children’s cancer research

Cold case files: Murdered woman still unidentified after 44 years

Penticton RCMP releasing info on historical missing person and found human remains investigations

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

Canada Post backlog, Greyhound exit creating headaches ahead of the holidays

The federal government forced members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers back to their jobs late last month

Top EU court rules UK can change mind over Brexit

Britain voted in 2016 to leave the 28-nation bloc, triggering a two-year exit process

Column: Auntie Says… Beware the Christmas Hangover

Well, it’s that time of year again. The shift to advent calendars,… Continue reading

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

Okanagan Valley to see snow tonight

Environment Canada is calling for two-to-four centimetres of snow from Penticton to Salmon Arm

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

Being vegan during the holidays just got a little bit better

Cook up these delicious options during the holidays

Most Read