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Avalanche danger ‘high’ following heavy snow, rain

Conditions in the Island and Coast’s backcountry have become more dangerous as the area experiences heavy snow, wind and rain.

That is according to Avalanche Canada, who are rating the treeline and alpine areas ‘high’ risk. This means it is very dangerous and travel in avalanche conditions is not recommended, natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely and can be very large.

Avalanche Canada says skiers triggered multiple storm slab avalanches (size 1 – 2) from alpine and treeline terrain near Mount Arrowsmith (near Port Alberni) yesterday.

They suspect a natural avalanche cycle will continue on Friday as freezing levels rise and as snow becomes rain, a widespread wet loose avalanche cycle is expected.

“We are confident the snowpack will rapidly lose strength with the arrival of the forecast weather,” said Avalanche Canada.

“Uncertainty is due to how buried persistent weak layers will react with the forecast incoming weather.”

Avalanche Canada asks you to watch for rapidly changing conditions during periods of heavy lading from new snow, wind or rain. They add storm slabs in motion and may step down to deeply buried weak layers, creating large avalanches.

“The more the snow feels like a slurpy, the more likely loose wet avalanches will become,” they add.

According to the Mount Washington snow report, the ski resort got 10 cm of snow overnight and there is more snow in the forecast over the weekend.

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