A forecaster with Avalanche Canada says danger rating will worsen from new snow, with more on the way this weekend. Photo courtesy Avalanche Canada website.

Avalanche danger rating rises in East Kootenay

Forecasters warn backountry users to be cautious after winter storm adds fresh snow

As the East Kootenay got buried in new snow over the last two days, backcountry avalanche conditions took a turn for the worse, especially in the Elk Valley, where danger ratings are the highest in the region.

And more snow is on the way, according to the weekend weather forecast.

Avalanche Canada has the Lizard Range and the Flathead region as the highest danger rating in the alpine, treeline and below treeline areas of the backcountry.

Colin Garritty, a forecaster with Avalanche Canada, says the snowfall will cause new storm slabs, or new snow problems as it consolidates but doesn’t form a strong bond with the existing snow surface over the short term, which can cause avalanches with human triggering.

READ: Snowboarder buried in Elk Valley avalanche

“I would say the danger has increased at the higher elevations as well, where the wind has a chance to move that snow around and stiffen it a little bit more quickly than it would settle on it’s own,” said Garritty, “so that storm slab forms a little more rapidly in those wind-exposed areas, when the snow has had even less time to form that bond with the surface.”

Garritty also warns that there are persistent weak layers buried deeper in the snowpack that are being stressed and tested by the new snow load that the region experienced.

“Storm slabs that fracture, that release in the current conditions, those present a possible trigger for deeper layers in the snowpack,” Garritty added. “Those deeper layers are mainly active or reactive at lower elevations, so treeline and lower.”

Avalanche Canada conducts its own weather forecasting, and more snow is expected heading into the weekend, which will add to the regional danger rating.

“Areas like the Kootenay-Boundary may start to tread into high danger, the Purcells which are currently rated moderate will move up to toward considerable danger and places like the Lizard Range and South Rockies may continue to stick around the high danger level,” said Garritty.

“Essentially, as new snow accumulates, danger is increasing.”

READ: Special warning to watch for treeline avalanches in B.C. backcountry

Weather forecasting completed by the end of the day, which includes estimated new snowfall, will help guide the organization’s approach to setting the backcountry danger rating over the weekend, he added.

Garritty emphasizes the importance of having proper training to spot hazardous avalanche terrain and to be able to self-rescue in the case of an avalanche event. A probe, shovel and transciever are essential pieces of equipment for any backcoutnry user, while avalanche skills training courses can be accessed at the Avalanche Canada website.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Timeline of Trail disaster

Timeline taken from ‘100 Years of Trail History, A Century of Trail’s Top News Stories’

‘Trail Stricken By Flood,’ 50 years later

Overflowing creeks swept through Trail on April 23, 1969, creating a devastating aftermath

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Boundary resident rides cross-Canada for ovarian cancer

Joan Thompson’s trip will honour her sister, who passed away from the disease last year

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read