As of Wednesday, Jan. 9
The "pineapple express" earlier in the week deposited 80 mm. of precipitation in our area. Most of it fell as rain below 1,600 metres and snow above about 2,000 metres. Winds associated with the storm were moderate to strong from the S-SE throughout the period. At 2,180 metres, a couple of weak crusts within the storm snow indicate that the rain line did at least reach that elevation. Cooling temperatures in the wake of the precipitation are permeating into the moist snow layers and creating an assortment of variable crusts. The moist snow is, however, still very much in evidence in the snowpack at treeline and below treeline elevations.
If one can look beyond the somewhat questionable conditions that we have been left with, the high freezing levels that occurred throughout the province can be considered a positive event. In our area, the surface hoar layers have been rained away or bridged over. In many locations, the November crust weakness is overlain by yet another bridge, although caution should still be exercised in steep, rocky terrain above about 2,100 metres where little rain fell.
Some exposed areas in the alpine are scoured down to a slick raincrust. Any terrain that received only rain during the storm is also crusted over. These surfaces may provide a good sliding layer in the future.
The forecast is calling for the next significant system to arrive late Friday, bringing precipitation that should continue into Saturday. Freezing levels are expected to rise with this system. The extended models are bringing in a cooler and dryer northwesterly flow for early into next week.
The backcountry avalanche danger is currently rated as MODERATE in the alpine and LOW at treeline and below. Check for the most current information before you decide to head out. The local avalanche line can be reached at 604-938-7676 and the CAA Bulletin at 800-667-1105.