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

Mobile breast cancer screening coming to Creston

To book a screening mammogram call 1-800-663-9203. A doctor’s referral is not required.

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Free farm succession planning workshop in Creston

The one-day workshop provides an overview of the succession planning process followed by detailed presentations by farm succession experts in accounting, law, insurance, and financing.

Teachers’ Association protests committee appointment process

Newly elected school trustee Al Gribbin’s request to sit on the Kootenay… Continue reading

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read