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High avalanche warning issued for much of southern British Columbia

The Sea to Sky and Interior regions are under avalanche warnings this weekend as high temperatures and sunshine create an unstable snowpack
Avalanchewarning
Much of the Interior and South Cost of B.C. is under an avalanche warning this weekend, as North Shore Rescue warns of an unstable snowpack.

It might be a good time to hold off heading into the backcountry this weekend, as North Shore Rescue, with Avalanche Canada, have issued a warning for B.C.’s South Coast and Interior regions.

Avalanche Canada said the forecasted warm temperatures and sunshine “will have a destabilizing effect on the snowpack.” The District of Squamish is forecasted to have highs of 6 to 7 degrees through the weekend.

The avalanche warning is in effect from Friday through to Monday, Jan. 24, and applies to the North and South Columbias, Purcells, and Kootenay Boundary areas, as well as Glacier, Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks. It also applies to an area within the Sea-to-Sky and South Coast Inland regions, from Squamish to Pemberton.

“There are persistent weak layers in the mountain snowpack across most of southern B.C. and western Alberta,” said James Floyer, forecasting program supervisor for Avalanche Canada. “This special warning targets regions where these layers have proven to be an issue. The combination of this snowpack structure and higher temperatures will make natural and human-triggered avalanches much more likely.”

“While we have targeted an area where we think there is a higher risk of triggering these deep weak layers, we also urge backcountry users in adjacent regions to exercise caution during this warming period,” Floyer added.

In a Facebook post, North Shore Rescue reminded recreational users to read the forecasts before heading into the backcountry.

“There have been reports of very large, unsurvivable avalanches in the Sea to Sky region,” the rescue team wrote.

Backcountry users can check their regional avalanche forecasts at avalanche.ca.

“Everyone in a backcountry party needs the essential rescue gear – transceiver, probe, and shovel – and the knowledge to use it,” Avalanche Canada wrote in its warning.