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Current Bulletin

Get Your Bulletin by Phone at 250 898 0222
Read about the limitations of this avalanche bulletin here.

Thursday April 17, 2014.

April 17, 2014 at 02:46PM
This Bulletin Valid Until:  Sunday, April 20, 6pm.
DANGER RATINGS (Make sure you understand the danger level meanings)
OutlookFridaySaturdaySunday
Alpine MODERATE CONSIDERABLE CONSIDERABLE
Treeline MODERATE CONSIDERABLE CONSIDERABLE
Below Treeline LOW MODERATE MODERATE

Confidence: Fair. Field information for this forecast is very limited. Timing and intensity of systems is uncertain. Models differ widely on precipitation amounts for Sunday.

Main Concerns: (Avalanche problems)

Wind Slab - Up to 15mm of precipitation coming as snow to tree line and above will combine with moderate and strong winds respectively on late Thursday and on Saturday to create wind slab at tree line and above from west through north to east and south east aspects and in cross loaded features. These slabs will be triggerable by humans and could produce avalanche from small (sz 1) to almost large enough to bury injure or kill a person (sz 1.5). The forecast is uncertain for Sunday but chances are good that new and deeper slabs could be formed then making for renewed touchiness of these slabs and possibly avalanche large enough to bury injure or kill a person (sz 2).

Storm Slab - If higher precipitation values are realized for Sunday, storm slab will form on that day at tree line and above on all aspects. This could be triggerable by human loads and could produce avalanche from small (sz 1) to large enough to bury injure or kill a person (sz 2).

Wet Loose Avalanches  - Precipitation over the week end will come as rain to below tree line elevations making for loose wet avalanches. These will be small in size and possible on all aspects.

Travel/Terrain Advice:

Watch precipitation amounts and strength of winds from our systems Thursday evening, Saturday and Sunday and be prepared for wind slab and storm slab in the alpine and at tree line. Enter the wind zone with caution and test small features to see if the slab is reacting to human loads.

Remember that though small, loose wet avalanches can be heavy and "pushy" and can do harm when combined with terrain traps such as trees and cliffs.

Current Weather:

The Island Alps generally received between about 15 and 25mm of water over the last few days. The exception to this was the west coast where stations recorded more than double that. Freezing levels varied from less than 1000m to about 2000m. Precipitation came as rain to all but the higher altitudes where there was some snow. The North island remained cooler with Mount Cain getting about 17cm of snow. Winds were up to moderate from the west round to the south east.

Avalanche Summary :

Some small, loose wet avalanches have been observed. 

Snowpack  Summary:

The island snowpack is generally dense, moist and well settled. It has been rain soaked to at least tree line in many places and has some rain soaked new snow on it in others (north island).

Weather Forecast:

Thursday Evening: - Precipitation 5 to 15mm. Freezing level 1500 dropping to 1300m. Winds moderate WNW.

Friday: A mix of sun and cloud with a chance of a trace of precipitation. Freezing level 1400m. Winds easing from moderate overnight Thursday/Friday to light Friday.

Saturday - Precipitation 5 to 15mm. Freezing level 1400m. Winds moderate to strong SE to SW.

Sunday - Significant uncertainty about Sunday's forecast.  Moderate to heavy precipitation is possible with moderate to strong winds from the SE to SW and freezing levels around 1300m.

Forecaster: Jan Neuspiel
Observations or comments? We want to hear them

Monday April 14, 2014.

April 14, 2014 at 07:42PM
This Bulletin Valid Until:  Thursday, April 17, 6pm.
DANGER RATINGS (Make sure you understand the danger level meanings)
OutlookTuesdayWednesdayThursday
Alpine LOW LOW MODERATE
Treeline LOW LOW MODERATE
Below Treeline LOW LOW LOW

Confidence: Good.

Main Concerns: (Avalanche problems)

Wind Slab - Significant precipitation Wednesday/Thursday coming as snow to the alpine (and perhaps as low as tree line depending on freezing levels), will be accompanied by winds of up to 50kph making for fresh wind slabs from East through North the West aspects and in cross loaded features. These slabs may be triggerable by human loads and could produce avalanches from small to perhaps large enough to bury, injure or kill a person.

Wet Loose Avalanches  - Precipitation Wednesday/Thursday will come as rain to below tree line elevations making for loose wet avalanches. These will be small in size and possible on all aspects.

Travel/Terrain Advice:

Watch precipitation amounts and strength of winds from our system Wednesday/Thursday and be prepared for wind slab in the alpine and as low as tree line. Enter the wind zone with caution and test small features to see if the slab is reacting to human loads. Greater precipitation amounts are forecast for the west coast with less on the east and north island.

Remember that though small, loose wet avalanches can be heavy and "pushy" and can do harm when combined with terrain traps such as trees and cliffs.

Current Weather:

The island saw no precipitation (except for a trace on the north island) over the last two days. Temperatures have been very warm with freezing levels varying from near sea level overnights to way over the tops of the island mountains by day. Tree line temperatures reached as high as twelve degrees. Winds were light and variable in direction.

Avalanche Summary :

Some small, loose wet avalanches have been observed. 

Snowpack  Summary:

The island snowpack is generally dense, moist and well settled with a firm, supportable crust forming on the surface with overnight freezes. Various historical crusts exist throughout the snowpack. Shears do exist in the snowpack, all the way down to our old February 10th layer but they are resistant and unlikely to to be a failure plane until we get very hot spring melt.

Weather Forecast:

Tuesday: Very light precipitation, winds up to moderate SW, freezing level around 1300m.

Wednesday/Thursday: Increasing precipitation starting around mid day (timing uncertain) to deliver from 20mm to as much as 50mm or more to some areas (most on the west coast). Freezing levels around 1700m will mean snow to possibly as low as tree line. Winds moderate SE.

 

Forecaster: Jan Neuspiel
Observations or comments? We want to hear them

Saturday April 12, 2014.

April 12, 2014 at 11:11AM
This Bulletin Valid Until:  Monday, April 15, 6pm.
DANGER RATINGS (Make sure you understand the danger level meanings)
OutlookSaturdaySundayMonday
Alpine MODERATE MODERATE MODERATE
Treeline MODERATE MODERATE MODERATE
Below Treeline MODERATE MODERATE MODERATE

Confidence: Good.

Main Concerns: (Avalanche problems)

Wet Loose Avalanches  - With strong solar radiation and warm air temperatures expect loose wet avalanches. These will be very likely on Saturday and Sunday and diminishing with some cooling later Monday. Expect them at all elevations and mostly on steep, sunny aspects and perhaps around to the shady ones as well if the heat is sufficient. Avalanches produced will be generally small but be aware that these avalanches are heavy and can be harmful especially when terrain traps such as trees, rocks and cliffs are involved.

Persistent Slab Avalanches  -As temperatures rise and the sun comes out, loose wet avalanches may deliver enough load to a weakening snowpack to trigger deeper slab avalanches on sunny aspects at tree line and above. While these are not likely, they are a possibility and could deliver avalanches big enough to bury, injure or kill a person and larger.

Travel/Terrain Advice:

West snow avalanches caused by warm temperatures and solar radiation are the easiest avalanche problems to manage. Plan your trips to get on to slopes just as they soften due to temperature and solar radiation and to get off them before they get too soft. Signs that it is getting too soft include your ski penetrating deeper than 5cm into the snow and wet snowballs rolling down the slope. Also be aware of what is above you and recognize that even if you are in the shade lower down, the start zones of avalanche paths above you may be getting warm. Loose wet avalanches are generally small but be aware that these avalanches are heavy and can be harmful especially when terrain traps such as trees, rocks and cliffs are involved.

While deeper persistent slab avalanches are not likely, they are possible with loose wet avalanches as triggers and could be rather large and harmful. Watch how warm it gets and the extent of loose wet avalanche activity. If there is a lot of avalanche activity out there start to be concerned about this triggering deeper layers.

Keep in mind that if the snow has not re-frozen overnight you start out in a more hazardous situation in the morning.

Current Weather:

The island has seen little to no precipitation in the last couple of days though isolated areas saw up to 5mm of water. Winds were generally light though they have risen briefly to moderate from the NW Saturday morning. Freezing levels have ranged from 300-1000m at night to over the tops of the island alps by day.

Avalanche Summary :

Several loose wet avalanches have been observed. 

Snowpack  Summary:

The island snowpack is generally dense, moist and well settled with a firm, supportable crust forming on the surface with overnight freezes. Do not expect these refreezes on Saturday and Sunday nights. Various historical crusts exist throughout the snowpack. Shears do exist in the snowpack, all the way down to our old February 10th layer. Avalanches on these layers are not likely, but are possible especially as we get into warmer temperatures and strong sun in the spring and the possibility of bigger loads in the form of loose wet avalanches or cornice falls hitting a snowpack weakened by intense heat.

Weather Forecast:

Saturday and Sunday - Sunny and very warm . Freezing levels up to around 2600m. Winds generally light.

Monday - Increasing cloud. Winds remaining light, Freezing levels dropping from 2000m down toward 800-1000m.

Forecaster: Jan Neuspiel
Observations or comments? We want to hear them

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Important Notice

This bulletin covers the mountainous region of Vancouver Island from the Mt. Cain Ski Area in the North to the Beaufort range to the South including the mountains of Strathcona Provincial Park.

This is a regional forecast and significant variation may exist within the forecast area. The information and danger ratings are intended as a trip planning aid for recreational, backcountry users of avalanche terrain; they are not meant to be used as the sole factor in determining the avalanche danger presented by a specific slope.

Always include local weather, snowpack and avalanche observations in your decision to travel in avalanche terrain. Observations and experience may lead to different conclusions from what is reported or recommended. See disclaimer for further details. The technical data used to produce these bulletins is obtained from a variety of sources, including local ski areas and remote weather resources.