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Posted: March 3, 2021

Warmth prompts widespread avalanche warning

Avalanche Canada, in partnership with Parks Canada and Alberta’s Kananaskis Country, is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry users across a widespread area of B.C. and Alberta.

Increasing temperatures are in the forecast and the effect of this first big warm-up of the season will destabilize the snowpack.

This special warning is in effect immediately and will stay effective through the weekend.

“There are persistent weak layers in the snowpack all across this area,” explained 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.”

This special warning applies to the following regions:

South Rockies

Lizard & Flathead

Waterton Lakes National Park

Banff, Yoho & Kootenay National Parks

Kananaskis Country

Jasper National Park

Cariboos

North Rockies

There have been several close calls reported recently, and the Rocky Mountain National Parks report large avalanches running the full extent of their paths. “There is a lot of uncertainty with these weak layers,” added Klassen. “These warm temperatures are going to be a concern across all these regions, with the most significant impact in the south.”

Backcountry users should always check their regional avalanche forecasts at www.avalanche.ca. Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear—transceiver, probe, and shovel—and the knowledge to use it.

Click here for a forecasters’ blog on warming.

Avalanche Canada map

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