Avalanche forecasts across a large majority of the province were high or extreme on Wednesday (December 1), with conditions expected to only slightly decrease over the next few days.
In the Purcell mountain range, conditions were listed as high on Wednesday, and considerable to moderate for Thursday and Friday.
Conditions are similar in the Lizard-Flathead and South Rockies ranges. Wednesday’s conditions listed as high, tapering to considerable and moderate over the next few days.
North, in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, as well as Little Yoho, avalanche conditions were listed at extreme on Wednesday, high on Thursday and considerable to moderate on Friday.
Zoe Ryan, Forecaster with Avalanche Canada says that the current weather and last period of rain has created the “perfect recipe” for hazardous conditions.
“We saw a period of snow, then high winds and now rain,” Ryan pointed out. “These conditions create the very likely possibility of avalanches running into the valley bottom.”
Ryan adds that in the south east we will see a brief reprieve on Friday, with high pressure bringing in colder weather and potential for snow in the mountains.
“There is a possibility for lower temperatures to bring with it snow on the eastern mountain ranges,” Ryan said.
Anyone headed out into the backcountry right now should be checking the avalanche forecast before they head out, as much of the province is listed as high or extreme danger. You can sign up for text or email forecast notifications on the Avalanche Canada website or phone app.
“When forecasts are listed as extreme, folks need to avoid all avalanche terrain,” Ryan said.
She adds that early in the season, forecasters only have limited information on conditions as their operations teams are just starting up.
“We ask that people report the conditions they observe on the Mountain Information Network,” said Ryan, adding that it not only help others who are recreating, but the forecasting network, too.
All of the forecast ratings are updated daily and explained on the Avalanche Canada website (avalanche.ca). You can also find the link to the Mountain Information Network on the site.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.