A forecast for dramatic change in weather means avalanche danger will spike, warned the Canadian Avalanche Centre Friday.
Backcountry users across the northern half of the province are urged to be aware of a sharp rise in avalanche danger expected this weekend.
The warning applies to the mountains of the Northwest region both inland and coastal, the North Rockies and the Cariboos.
Weather forecasts predict there will be a sudden end to the current stormy weather on Saturday, coupled with rapid warming that will result in a sharp rise in avalanche danger.
“The clear skies forecast for Saturday following all that new snow will be very tempting for backcountry users of all types,” CAC Avalanche forecaster Shannon Werner said.
“But the temperature is predicted to rise significantly, which means the avalanche danger will spike this weekend. The storm snow will be primed for triggering and deeply buried weak layers are also likely to be a concern.”
If the forecast plays out as predicted, backcountry users in northern B.C. will need to be extremely careful and make very conservative terrain choices.
It’s also vital that all backcountry users are equipped with essential safety equipment for avalanche terrain, Werner added.
“Everyone in the party needs an avalanche transceiver, a probe and a shovel every day, regardless of expected conditions. And of course everyone needs to be familiar with the equipment and practiced with it. If an avalanche occurs, there is no time to go for help.”
The critical window for finding and extricating a victim is just 10 minutes, when there is an 80 per cent chance of survival. The odds drop dramatically after that. At just 35 minutes, there’s a less than 10 per cent chance of survival.
In addition to the essential equipment, airbags are recommended. As with any piece of safety equipment, it’s important to practice with it and ensure it’s in good working order before going into the field.
For further information on the current conditions in northern B.C., please see the CAC Forecaster’s Blog page at: http://blogs.avalanche.ca/category/forecaster-blog/