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

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

Creston Fire Rescue respond to nine calls

Creston Fire Rescue responded to nine calls from Aug 12 – 19… Continue reading

Creston businesses, riders invited to join in Kootenay Lake Gran Fondo

Creston Rotary Club and chamber of commerce organizing September cycling event

Fields Forward Society adding value to Creston Valley cherries

‘Cosmetically unsuitable’ cherries juiced for sharing through Creston, Nelson, Cranbrook food banks

Creston author launching book about Kimberley man’s motorcycle accident

Lori Luczka’s ‘Lost: 7 Hours to Live’ chonicles Paul Kerr’s 2015 accident that claimd his left leg

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

Telus customers enraged as outage hits fifth day

Telus.net has been down since Aug. 15

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Search crews find 4-year-old boy who went missing near Mackenzie

George went missing early Saturday afternoon

Most Read