We are experiencing a big shift in the weather pattern this week. The cold, dry and stable conditions that dominated the last couple of weeks are on the way out and being replaced by active and snowy conditions with a series of systems expected to pass over the region in the coming days. Snowfall amounts are often difficult to forecast when moisture overrides cold air trapped in the valley. Things can change fast with this pattern. Today New Denver had more than three times the maximum snowfall that yesterday afternoons weather forecast called for.
As we get to this point in the season it’s a good time to remind everyone of the mandate of the Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructures Avalanche Program. It’s pretty simple and pretty clear.
- Ensure the safety of all highway users.
- Minimize the frequency and duration of avalanche related closures and delays.
We take the safety of the traveling public and highway maintenance workers very seriously, this is first and foremost for us. That said we recognize what a big deal Hwy closures are for the people who live and work north of Lardeau. We take the impact that closures create to heart and do what we can to keep everyone moving and informed. We will provide email updates when we see potential highway closures on the horizon so you can prepare and hopefully minimize the related inconvenience. As stated above safety will always come first but we will do what we can to accommodate.
Over the past few summers with help from YRB crews we have enlarged the ditches and created catchment areas under the Lardeau avalanche paths in an effort to contain avalanche debris before it impacts the highway. This has helped us to keep the road open longer during storms and reduced clean up time helping to get the road open quicker when it does close. These static defences are well suited to catching small avalanches like those that could happen with a storm cycle like we are expecting this week.
Although there isn’t much snow on the bluffs right now, the cold dry conditions over the past two weeks has driven the process of faceting within the shallow snow pack, turning the snow sugary and non-cohesive. This type of snow is weak and will collapse under the load of incoming storm snow especially if temperatures rise towards zero degrees.
There is potential for small avalanches through the week. No Highway closures or delays are planned at this time
As always the best place to get highway updates is www.drivebc.ca. This is especially true when the highway is closed.
Avalanche Program Supervisor
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Kootenay Program. Email: Kevin.Maloney@gov.bc.ca.