Weekend conditions update — March 19

Every weekend SPIN will compile the current avalanche forecasts and weather for the Interior. As a reminder, we’ve pulled this information together for a convenient overview to help make your initial plans and recommend reading the full avalanche forecast, and checking and assessing conditions on your own specific to your unique location. Tune in at the end of each week to get the forecast before your weekend

Avalanche Canada acknowledged the beginning of spring like conditions on their social channels this week.

What that means for readers is the avalanche danger rating posted on Avalanche Canada for that day will reflect the highest danger rating expected, even if polar slopes or morning conditions due to an overnight freeze may seem lower than the forecasted rating. 

Be careful when travelling through avalanche terrain late in the day, under cornices, or on slopes facing the sun for the rest of the season.

Weather Forecast

Avalanche Canada’s Mountain Weather Forecast describes an unstable low pressure system that will trail behind a frontal system and deliver accumulating flurries for the start of the weekend before being cut off by another frontal system later in the weekend. 

Sunday’s frontal system over the northwest is expected to form overnight Saturday and impact the province with widespread snow, strong winds and rising freezing levels to 1500m over the Interior.

The Cariboos and the North and South Columbia forecasting areas are all expected to get a five to 10cm refresh of snow Friday, Saturday and Sunday accompanied by moderate winds, approximate freezing levels of 1500m and alpine temperatures around -10C.

The South Coast Inland region is expected to see stronger winds and similar amounts of precipitation and freezing levels as the Interior ranges with slightly warmer alpine temperatures of -5C.

Sun Peaks Resort is forecasting a trace of snow to fall overnight Friday, a mix of sun and cloud Saturday with isolated flurries followed by snowy skies overnight and on Sunday with amounts expected to be two to four centimetres. Temperatures are forecasted at -5C and -6C for Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Avalanche Forecast

The avalanche bulletin for this weekend shows the North and South Columbia forecasting areas as moderate in the alpine and low treeline and below for Saturday and Sunday.

Current avalanche problems in these areas are wind slabs in the alpine on north, northeast and east aspects with a possible chance to release avalanches up to size two. Cornices are also a concern in the alpine on all aspects except the west, southwest, and south aspects with a possible chance of release size 2 to 3 avalanches. Be wary of cornices when the sun is out. 

The Cariboo and South Coast Inland avalanche danger rating are at moderate treeline and above and low below treeline for both Saturday and Sunday.

The Cariboos also have a wind slab and cornice problem. The wind slab is currently present in the alpine on north, northeast and east slopes with a possible chance of releasing avalanches up to size two. Cornice problems in this region are in the alpine and on north, northeast, east and southeast aspects with a possible chance of triggering size 2 to 3 avalanches. 

The South Coast Inland region states wind slabs as an issue treeline and above on all aspects except the southwest, south, and southeast aspects with a likely chance of avalanches up to size two. 

As snow, wind and rising temperatures begin to roll through, watch out for elevated avalanche dangers in the form of storm slabs and continue to check www.avalanche.ca to get the forecast before heading out this weekend.

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