Friday March 26, 2021

Sunday March 28, 2021
Saturday March 27, 2021
Friday March 26, 2021
Confidence: Moderate -

Main Concerns

Cornice Fall, Wind Slab, Storm Slab - view Avalanche Problems for detailed information.

Travel & Terrain Advice

Practice patience and allow time for new storm instabilities to stabilize prior to committing to any steep terrain.

Plan routes and choose terrain that is low angle and supportive as you begin to venture into unmodified and uncontrolled snowpack and terrain.

Identify and avoid travel either above or below cornice features.

Adjust travel plans to ensure avoidance of slopes during warming and where rain events may occur.

Avalanche Summary

No new avalanches observed.

UPDATED * Reverse loading forecast for Sunday. Weather models in agreement. Limited weather and snowpack observations submitted from public. Cornices remain a hazard with major warming trend. Additional snow loading expected for cornices and downwind (North/South facing terrain) on Sunday.

Avalanche Problems

Cornice Fall

Large cornices exist and continued snowfall, wind and high humidity continue to promote cornice growth. Cornice failures have the potential to over load the snowpack and trigger both new snow instabilities as well as deeper instabilities. Expect the new growth to be fragile and when freezing levels rise they will become suspect trigger points for large avalanche events.

Location: Many aspects at ridge top in the Alpine and Tree line.

Possibility: Triggering of this avalanche problem is possible to likely from light loads such as skiers/snowmobilers. Natural avalanches are unlikely to possible.

Size: If triggered expect these avalanches to be large size 2, on isolated terrain features very large, size 3

Wind Slab

Wind slabs could become a factor Sunday in areas where precipitation arrives in excess of 20cm coupled with Extreme winds and a lower freezing level. Found predominantly on downwind aspects, the location of the wind slab will be found on Northerly and Southerly facing terrain due to extreme winds and reverse loading that will take place at the height of the storm. This avalanche problem overlies a variety of snow surfaces, mostly a wet upper snowpack surface or a firm melt freeze crust (depending on elevation and aspect).

Location: North and South facing aspects and found in both the Alpine and Tree line.

Possibility: Triggering of this avalanche problem is possible to likely from light loads such as skiers/snowmobilers. Natural avalanches are unlikely to possible.

Size: If triggered expect these avalanches to be large size 2, on isolated terrain features very large, size 3 .

Storm Slab

This new avalanche problem will develop in areas that receive snow in excess of 20cm- sensitivity to triggering will increase over the course of the storm event. On isolated Alpine terrain expect this new snow to overly a firm upper snowpack, on solar aspects, expect the storm snow to overlie a melt freeze crust.

Location: All aspects, Alpine and Tree line. Below tree line hazard is from above.

Possibility: Triggering of this avalanche problem is possible to likely from light loads such as skiers/snowmobilers. Natural avalanches are unlikely to possible.

Size: If triggered expect these avalanches to be large size 2, on isolated terrain features large, size 3.

Snowpack Summary

A firm yet moisture laden snowpack has formed and brought about a great deal of stability as the result of warm daytime heating and a nighttime cooling (well below zero).

Snowpack Details

SurfaceHard surface snowpack on Solar aspects and firm upper snowpack on Northerly terrain, snowpack surfaces softening in afternoon. On Sunday, (new snow at Treeline and Alpine) Rain at Below Treeline Elevation band.
UpperA well bonded and dense moisture laden snowpack
MidA well bonded and dense moisture laden snowpack
LowerA well bonded and dense moisture laden snowpack

Past Weather

Spring melt freeze cycle continues to exhibit its will onto the Vancouver Island snowpack creating a dense surface snowpack and some minimal wet sloughing on steep unsupported terrain.

Friday: No snow expected throughout forecast area, Winds Moderate from the WNW, Freezing level 1,700M

Saturday: Less than 2cm snow expected throughout forecast area, Winds Moderate from the WSW (gusting to Strong in afternoon), Freezing level 1,000M throughout forecast region (except Freezing level rising to 1300M on Central Vancouver Island.

Sunday: Moderate to heavy Snowfall expected (Rain expected at Below Treeline Elevation band) 15cm snow to 35cm snow expected throughout forecast area at Treeline and Alpine, Winds Strong to Extreme from the SW shifting to Extreme NW winds in afternoon, Freezing level 1,050M

Weather Forecast

Expect the spring melt freeze cycle to take a pause on Sunday as Extreme winds, Moderate snowfall rates and lower freezing level bring a return to Powder Shots?! The last gasp of winter?!

Posted on Thursday March 25, 2021 by Ryan Shelly

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