Whether the weather be good… or bad

In a city with a high proportion of outdoor enthusiasts, there is always a lot of talk about the weather.

Alicia Wallace

Rossland News

In a city with a high proportion of outdoor enthusiasts, there is always a lot of talk about the weather. Whether in the local supermarket, at a dinner party or running into strangers on a local wilderness trail, the conversation about weather is ever continuing and evolving (much like the weather).

In winter, the weather topics are typically snow focused. Common conversations include the slow start to the season, current conditions about snow depth and texture, the recent snowfall, climate change impacts and oceanic influences (primarily the El Nino and La Nina cycles). Snow safety is also critical and possibly not discussed as much as it should be, particularly for backcountry enthusiasts, who enjoy leisure pursuits in the natural landscape.

On Christmas Day, Avalanche Canada first issued a special public avalanche warning for inland B.C. that was then extended into the first week of the New Year. This reminded backcountry enthusiasts to make conservative terrain choices and be equipped for a self-rescue if an avalanche was set off. In the backcountry when someone is covered by snow, there is no time to go for help if you want the victims to survive.

To date, this avalanche season has not taken any lives as a result of good self-rescue by the parties involved in these horrific incidents. Meteorologists were initially expecting another super El Nino winter much like the one experienced in 1997/98. This has since been downgraded to indicate the El Nino will have a weak influence over our winter weather pattern.

With the latest El Nino cycle prediction in mind, the Rossland News reviewed Avalanche Canada’s incident reports for the last 20 years involving avalanche fatalities. Of the 207 avalanche fatalities in B.C. over this period, the number of deaths during El Nino to La Nina years was comparable at 73 to 75.

For the recent seven years, more than 10 lives were lost each year; three of these being El Nino cycles and three La Nina years while the other one was a neutral year. The greatest number of avalanche fatalities occurred in the 2002/03 season resulting with 26 deaths. This was an El Nino cycle.

 

This proposes that human behaviour is the result of avalanches fatalities and it is simply not just the weather. This suggests that if you do not have the training or experience to assess avalanche terrain and local conditions, it’s best to recreate in areas where the avalanche risk is professionally managed for you.

 

 

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

Just Posted

Severe storm warning remains in effect for the Kootenays

Two special weather statements have been issued for the West Kootenay

Update: Suspect in Montrose gas station stabbing new to the area

Police say the 30-year-old suspect stabbed a Montrose gas station employee

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

RDKB launches survey to address housing needs in the district

Communities in the district include Trail, Grand Forks, Rossland and Fruitvale

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read