British Columbia

'Life threatening' avalanches possible through much of B.C.'s backcountry

Avalanche warnings have been issued for wide swaths of B.C.'s backcountry, after a major dump of snow in parts of the province.

Avalanche Canada issues special warning after series of storms that have brought lots of snow

Serious avalanches are possible in much of B.C. this weekend. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation)

Avalanche warnings have been issued for wide swaths of B.C.'s backcountry, after a major dump of snow in parts of the province.

The special public warnings from Avalanche Canada were made Thursday afternoon for the Lizard Range and Flathead, Purcells, Kootenay Boundary, North Rockies, South and North Columbia, Cariboos, Vancouver Island, Sea-to-Sky, South Coast, South Coast inland and northwest Coastal regions.

They come after a series of storms that has brought significant amounts of snow. Following a drought through late November and early December, the snow is not sticking well to the ground.

"Our main concern is that we are expecting the weather to clear on Saturday," James Floyer, senior avalanche forecaster for Avalanche Canada, said in a news release.

"After all this rain in the valleys, backcountry users are going to want to hit the alpine, but that's where the danger is greatest.

"There's a very weak layer now buried anywhere between 60 and 150 centimetres. Any avalanche triggered on that layer will definitely be life threatening."

A map of B.C. shows the areas where special avalanche warnings have been issued. (Avalanche Canada)

Avalanche Canada says anyone accessing higher elevation terrain in the backcountry should be particularly careful, including skiers and snowboarders going out of bounds and snowmobilers riding at or above the treeline.

The warnings will be in effect until the end of Sunday.

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