January 22, 2016 - 10:34 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If heading out into the backcountry is part of your weekend plans you may want to rethink your plans — an avalanche warning has been issued for most of B.C.’s mountain regions.
Avalanche Canada has issued a special public avalanche warning for the next four days, starting today, Jan. 22. The warning applies to the Northwest Coast, South Coast Inland, Cariboos, North Columbia, South Columbia, Purcells, Kootenay-Boundary, Lizard-Flathead and Glacier National Park ranges.
Avalanche control is currently being conducted along Highway 1 through Glacier National Park and travellers can expect highway closures of up to two hours through this evening. Crews will also be performing control measures along Highway 3 through Kootenay Pass for several hours this afternoon.
The warning comes as the tail end of a series of snow storms which buried a weak layer in the snowpack. All elevations are considered potentially hazardous, with high risk at most alpine levels and several below treeline elevations.
“We’ve had a relatively stable snowpack up to this point but things have changed now,” Avalanche Canada’s forecasting program supervisor James Floyer says in a media release. “We urge all recreational backcountry users to recognize this shift and to exercise more caution. Staying safe in the backcountry this weekend requires selecting simple, low-angled terrain, even when you’re at lower elevations below treeline.”
People heading into the backcountry need to wear an avalanche transceiver in transmit mode and carry a probe and a shovel in their pack. Avalanche Canada advises people to ensure all equipment is well maintained and in good working order. Avalanche training and practice in using rescue equipment is essential to ensure a fast and efficient response in case of an emergency.
Temperatures are expected to remain above 0 Celsius much of this weekend in Kamloops and through the Okanagan, with some rain expected as well.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016