With warm spring temperatures and weak snowpack across areas of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia, Avalanche Canada has issued a special public avalanche warning that will remain in effect through the weekend.
Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Alberta Parks’ Kananaskis Country and Parks Canada, states that the warning is “effective immediately” for backcountry users.
The avalanche warning is widespread and applies to the following forecast regions:
- North Rockies
- Jasper National Park
- Banff-Yoho-Kootenay National Parks
- Kananaskis Country
- South Rockies
- Lizard Range and Flathead
- Waterton Lakes National Park
“There are persistent weak layers in the snowpack all across this area,” explains Karl Klassen, Warning Service Manager for Avalanche Canada, “When the sun and these high temperatures hit this complex snowpack, it’s going to have a destabilizing effect that will make natural and human-triggered avalanches much more likely.”
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There have been several close calls reported recently, and the Rocky Mountain National Parks says that large avalanches are running the full extent of their paths.
“There is a lot of uncertainty with these weak layers,” adds Klassen. “These warm temperatures are going to be a concern across all these regions, with the most significant impact in the south.”
❗️ We’re issuing a NEW Special Public Avalanche Warning for the North Rockies, Cariboos, South Rockies, the Lizard-Flathead regions and @BanffNP, @YohoNP, @KootenayNP, and @WatertonLakesNP (1/2)https://t.co/JnnpGNdZaQ pic.twitter.com/ziR4DIzSN9
— Avalanche Canada (@avalancheca) March 3, 2021
Each member in a backcountry party should have the essential rescue gear with them, including a transceiver, probe and shovel, and possess the knowledge to use it.
“Backcountry users and anyone recreating in avalanche terrain are advised to exercise caution and to always check their regional avalanche forecasts,” says Avalanche Canada.