After a week of wintery weather across much of southern and central Alberta, temperatures are expected to warm up in areas of the province over the weekend, creating an increased avalanche risk.
Avalanche Canada has issued “high” and “considerable” danger ratings in a number of mountain regions in southwest Alberta and southeastern BC on Friday.
Areas in Alberta and BC that are under a “high” danger rating are as follows.
Regions with a “considerable” danger rating include:
- Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks
- Kananaskis Country
- Little Yoho
- South Rockies
- Waterton Lakes National Park
Additionally, the avalanche danger in Jasper National Park is rated as “moderate.”
The organization notes that avalanches are more likely when there has been heavy snowfall, wind, or warming conditions.
There are some warning signs you can look and listen for to judge whether snowpack is unstable and avalanches are more likely. Signs include shooting cracks, recent avalanches, and WHUMPFs (the sound that snowpack makes when layers are collapsing within it — the noise this makes is exactly like the word sounds).
Avalanche Canada says that if you see or hear any of these signs, it is best to stay away from avalanche terrain and avoid being under any areas that might be at risk.
It’s important to note that, even if you don’t see any signs of instability, it does not mean that avalanches are not possible.