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Cariboo region included in public warning issued by Avalanche Canada

The special public avalanche warning covers much of Western Canada, including here in the Cariboo, and will be in effect until Sunday.

Colin Garritty is an Avalanche Forecaster with Avalanche Canada…

“We have a couple of touchy weak layers that have been buried anywhere from 60 to 100 centimeters of snow from storms over the late part of this month, and these weak layers are starting to react to skier traffic and to snowmobile triggers, resulting in pretty large avalanches.”

Garritty says the rating in the Cariboo right now is considerable…

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“It might be a bit counterintuitive that we wouldn’t have a high avalanche danger associated with this special public avalanche warning, and that’s actually pretty typical.  The reason we would issue a warning like this is because we start to see the conditions become a little bit less obvious.  Often when we have really active storm patterns we have avalanches running naturally because of new snow and wind forming slabs.   That’s not the situation right now, so what you might find in avalanche ratings over the next while is actually ratings coming down.”

Garritty says considerable is just below high, which is issued when there is more widespread natural avalanche activity.

There is also extreme, which he says is quite rare…

“Where not only are natural avalanches happening, but very large natural avalanches would be widespread.”

Garritty says moderate is just below considerable, and then there is also low.

He says those heading out into the back country over the holiday should take some precautions…

“So a good cautious approach right now would be to back off from those steeper slopes, and seek out heavily forested terrain that’s not exposed to overhead avalanche terrain.   And for snowmobilers, sledders, really great advantage, you can chose to recreate in kind of meadows or lower angle slopes and still have a great day.”

Garritty also reminds people to make sure they take three essential pieces of equipment with them…

“One of them is a modern digital three antenna transceiver, and that’s used for finding somebody who’s buried underneath the snow surface, that you can’t see them.   The other two pieces are an avalanche probe and an avalanche shovel, specifically designed for avalanche rescue.”

Garritty says it is important that everyone in your group knows how to use them.

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