Avalanche warning: Danger rated as 'considerable' for North Shore, Sea to Sky mountains
The North Shore mountains are seen during a Chopper 9 flight at sunset in March 2019. (CTV News Vancouver)
VANCOUVER -- Anyone planning a trip to the North Shore and Sea to Sky mountains should take extra precautions as the avalanche danger is rated as "considerable" for the coming days.
Avalanche Canada's forecast for the North Shore warns "storm slabs sitting on a hard rain crust may continue to be reactive to human triggers, especially in wind-affected terrain." A similar warning is in place for the Sea to Sky region.
"Whenever we get significant amounts of snow, especially when it's associated with wind, that often drives the avalanche hazard to high," Josh Smith, public avalanche forecaster for Avalanche Canada, told CTV News Vancouver.
"One thing that's a little bit different right now in the North Shore mountains is that new snow is sitting on a quite hard rain crust formed last week. So the new snow likely won't bond very well to that hard surface, especially at upper elevations where it's been affected by the wind."
On Friday morning, Metro Vancouver was under a wind warning, with gusts up to 90 km/h possible.
But there is some good news: according to Avalanche Canada, the hazard is likely to decrease soon at lower elevations.
"Certainly my main advice for those venturing to the mountains … in the coming days is to just pay special attention to when they transition into the wind-affected terrain as the conditions may change rapidly at that point," Smith said.
Avalanche warnings are rated on a five-point scale with five being "extreme" and one being "low." Three is rated as "considerable" and in these instances, human-triggered avalanches are likely, Avalanche Canada says.