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Avalanche warning issued

Much of the interior faced a high risk on Monday
Much of the interior faced a high risk on Monday

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

February 14, 2011 — An avalanche warning has been issued after two people were partially buried by a slide in BC on Saturday.

Avalanche risk remains high in some areas on Tuesday
Avalanche risk remains high in some areas on Tuesday

It was a wet and warm weekend in southern British Columbia, and that's created dangerous conditions for travellers through the mountains. A warm Pacific frontal system tracked through the interior, soaking some places with rain and dumping heavy snow on higher elevations.

That, combined with temperatures between 5 and 10°C throughout much of the region, has dramatically increased the likelihood of avalanches, says Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

“Most of Vancouver Island and the south coast is between 5 and 8°C, and all that melt is causing the snow to become very unstable,” he says.

On Monday, officials issued an avalanche warning for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks after two people were partially buried by a slide over the weekend.

The pair were skiing in Yoho National Park in BC on Saturday when they were swept down the mountain by a rush of snow. They luckily managed to escape unharmed. Officials say the avalanche risk is particularly high in alpine and tree line areas because of the fresh snow and warming trend.

The threat of slides has also prompted highway closures. On Sunday, the Trans-Canada was closed in both directions from Golden to Revelstoke due to avalanche risk. As of Monday morning, Parks Canada said Highway 93 south had been reopened from Radium Hot Springs to Castle Junction. The Trans-Canada from the Alberta boundary to the west side of Yoho National Park was also reopened.

Rainfall expected through Tuesday
Rainfall expected through Tuesday

Ski and snowboard lovers had a lot to be happy about this weekend. All the cold air resulted in 55 cm of fresh powder for Whistler. So far, the mountain is sitting at over 930 cm of snowfall this season. That's only 100 cm short of the total yearly average.

Although Vancouver received 16 mm of rain on Saturday, it didn't put a damper on recapturing the Olympic spirit. It was a little tougher to stay dry in Port Hardy, which received 42.4 mm of rain Saturday, breaking their 1994 record for most rain on February 12th.

The soaking conditions aren't quite finished yet either. Another system is drenching areas like Vancouver. An additional 30 mm is expected to fall through Tuesday. Surrounding areas could receive higher amounts.

To stay up-to-date on the weather in your area, be sure to check the B.C. Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV as the local forecast comes up every 10 minutes on the 10's.

With files from Jill Colton and AM 770

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