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Canadian Avalanche Centre issues warning for most BC avalanche regions this weekend

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Digital writers

Friday, January 17, 2014, 5:00 PM -

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday warning of dense fog and freezing drizzle over the southern British Columbia Interior.

"Warm air aloft associated with the upper ridge is creating a strong temperature inversion which is allowing moisture to be trapped near the surface," EC explains. "Some fog and valley cloud developed today (Thursday) in many interior valleys."

EC adds that as the upper ridge strengthens, the fog and valley cloud becomes more extensive and dense and may not dissipate at all on Friday.

"The fog won't be as extensive Friday night, but then we're back to a similar pattern well into next week," says Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.

In addition to the foggy conditions, the mild and possibly record-breaking temperatures have heightened the avalanche risk for most BC avalanche regions.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre issued a special public avalanche warning that applies to recreational backcountry users.

The warning is in effect from Friday, January 17 through to Monday, January 21.

SEE ALSO: Avalanche shuts down BC highway

"The main concern is sun and warm, possibly record-breaking temperatures that will destabilize a complex and highly variable snowpack leading to surface slides," explains the CAC's Karl Klassen in the statement. "In addition to smaller surface slides during the coming warm spell, we have the potential for very large natural and human-triggered avalanches failing deep in the snowpack throughout the weekend."

Klassen says they're concerned about a 'blue sky syndrome,' which gives some people a false sense of security when the weather is nice.

"And this weekend that could lead to underestimating the hazard," Klassen warns in the statement.

The CAC says when temperatures are warmest and the sun is out, "all avalanche terrain should be avoided, including valley bottom runout zones."

According to the CAC, those traveling to the backcountry should have:

  • An avalanche transceiver.
  • Probe.
  • Shovel.

In addition, "everyone should have some training in recognizing avalanche terrain and applying safe backcountry travel techniques," says the CAC.

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