Central Okanagan Search and Rescue volunteers conduct a recent search through the snow. —Image: Facebook/COSAR

Avalanche danger climbs to high for Okanagan

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue warn against travel into the backcountry

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue is advising the public to stay out of the backcountry due to rapidly changing snow conditions and the danger of avalanche.

Dave Crawford, COSAR search manager, said Tuesday warming weather is creating a danger and he is not recommending travel in the backcountry due to the changing conditions.

The Okanagan’s snowpack is currently sitting at 123 per cent of normal, according to the latest figures from the BC River Forecast Centre.

“It’s very scary right now,” said Crawford. “Snowpacks don’t like change and we’ve seen a lot of change in the past few weeks. We’ve seen a cooling trend followed by snowfall and then followed by warming trends.”

According to Avalanche Canada, conditions in mid-level treeline areas of the Kootenay-Boundary region—which includes the Okanagan—were rated as a 4, or high, on the danger index Tuesday.

That rating is described as very high avalanche condition. Travel is not recommended, there is a likelihood of natural avalanches and human-triggered avalanches are very likely. Large avalanches could occur in many areas and very large ones in specific areas.

The high-level alpine and low-level below treeline areas were rated at 3, or considerable, in terms of avalanche danger.

That rating is described as dangerous conditions and the need for cautious snowpack evaluation. Natural avalanches are possible and human-triggered ones likely. Small avalanches could occur in many areas and large ones in isolated areas.

Related story: Kelowna snowmobilers thankful to be safe

“If you are not trained and experienced in the backcountry, it may be best not to go,” said Crawford.

“You want to avoid avalanche terrain entirely. The potential is increasing for large avalanches at all elevations and the triggers are getting more and more sensitive.”

He said when conditions are this sensitive, snow can slide on its own, just under its own weight.

“So a skier or a loud noise can start an avalanche,” he said.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



awaters@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Coordinated search finds missing Kelowna boy

All available police resources were called in to help find a missing boy Monday afternoon

Kelowna students leave for downhill challenge

A group of students from UBCO is ready for annual concrete toboggan race

Kelowna’s Serwa named to Olympic team

Kelsey Serwa is one of eight Canadian ski cross athletes headed to PyeongChang

Vernon Search & Rescue find lost snowmobiler

Male, 19, went missing in Hunter’s Range area near Enderby

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Slayer adds Penticton to North American tour

Slayer adds the South Okanagan Events Centre as a stop on their last tour

‘Shape of Water’ producer, Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Guillermo del Toro film about merman romance earns 13 nominations

Vancouver Canucks confirm participation in NHL Young Stars

Canucks confirmed participation, at least for this year, in the NHL Young Stars event in Penticton

Canada, TPP agrees to revised deal without the United States

Canada and the remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to a revised trade agreement

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Rogers Media cuts ties with Vice Canada

Rogers Media and Vice Canada are ending their three-year-old partnership, pulling Viceland TV channel off the air

Snowfall warnings for mountain passes

Lots of snow expected to fall today.

Most Read