Last week warming temperatures were a concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters, and those trends likely contributed to an avalanche that killed a West Kootenay snowmobiler on Thursday, March 4. Jen Coulter file photo.

Last week warming temperatures were a concern for Avalanche Canada forecasters, and those trends likely contributed to an avalanche that killed a West Kootenay snowmobiler on Thursday, March 4. Jen Coulter file photo.

Warming trend contributed to Kaslo fatality: Avalanche Canada

Concern for persistent layers has reduced since then

Last week’s warming weather trends concerned Avalanche Canada forecasters, causing them to issue a Special Avalanche Warning for south eastern B.C. and into Alberta.

READ MORE: Warming temperatures increase avalanche risk heading into the weekend

These conditions, they say, likely caused the very large avalanche that killed a West Kootenay man snowmobiling near Mount Payne west of Kaslo on Thursday, March 4.

“My understanding is the victim was fairly deeply buried and despite the best efforts of his companions who were able to rescue him relatively quickly he did succumb to being buried there,” Avalanche Canada forecaster James Floyer said.

READ MORE: B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

Floyer said the details of the incident were that it took place in fairly high elevation up in the alpine on a west aspect and it happened late in the day.

At that time, Avalanche Canada was tracking rising temperatures, Floyer said it appears consistent with the sun activity and rising temperatures and the avalanche was released on a persistent slab buried up to a metre deep.

“So able to trigger a very large avalanche, pretty consistent with the general pattern of warming that we had been expecting and at that time,” Floyer said. “I think the message was to avoid slopes with sunshine, avoid exposure to large avalanche paths.”

Since last weekend the area has entered a general cooling trend, and Floyer said that the concern for those persistent layers has without question reduced. The further east you travel into the dryer areas, the Purcells and then east into the Rockies, Avalanche Canada still has concerns about something getting triggered on a persistent slab layer.

“The time that we are concerned with that is also consistent with this period of warming really,” he said. “The current cycle that we’re in, we’re in more of a diurnal cycle where sunshine during the day is elevating temperatures in the middle of the day and there’s some sunshine around, that looks like it’s going to be a bit of a theme for this week.”

Temperatures are cooling a decent amount over night, which sets up a pattern where avalanche danger rises towards the middle and the end of the day. Floyer recommends that if you are out in the mountains the start of the day might be the better choice, rather than the end of the day when that heat has entered the snowpack.

There is potential for a little snow on Wednesday, but likely not enough to dramatically alter the avalanche danger, though locally windslabs may be a concern.

Towards the weekend, Avalanche Canada is tracking a large storm which looks like it should hit the west coast, and there is a lot of uncertainty about how much precipitation will move inland from that. Their best predictions currently is that these areas will only get light amounts of snow through the weekend, but if that changes they will update the avalanche forecasts on www.avalanche.ca

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re a lot less concerned about the situation now than we were this time last week, but of course it’s super important to always look for the warning signs of instability,” Floyer said.

These signs are shooting cracks in the snow, “woomphs” and signs of other avalanches in that area. If you see those signs, make sure to back off into lower-angle terrain.



paul.rodgers@kimberleybulletin

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hailey
Artist launches new business with help of 7S educator

Former school first client for Mystic Design owner Hailey Revolone, a Seven Summits alumna

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Tala MacDonald, a 17-year-old student at Mount Sentinel Secondary who is also a volunteer firefighter, has won the $100,000 Loran Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
West Kootenay student wins $100K scholarship

Tala MacDonald is one of 30 Canadians to receive the Loran Scholarship

First-year Selkirk College student Terra-Mae Box is one of many talented writers who will read their work at the Black Bear Review’s annual (virtual) launch on April 22. Photo: Submitted
June Hills of Trail won a big jackpot of $5,083 playing Bingo on Friday night with the @RotaryCommunityOnlineBingo on Facebook. Photo: Submitted
Trail player wins big jackpot in Rotary Community Online Bingo

Cards for regular games go on sale every Sunday

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Most Read