Vancouver Island Avalanche Forecast

Jan 1st, 2020 1:00AM

The alpine rating is moderate, the treeline rating is moderate, and the below treeline rating is low. Known problems include Loose Wet and Storm Slabs.

Limited observations due to poor visibility (foggy past few days) including during Tuesdays rain storm. One can, with a high level of certainly, expect widespread loose wet avalanche activity has occurred. When traveling in the hills keep a eye out for recent activity and factor that into your decisions.


Past Weather

Tuesday saw significant rain all the way to the top of the alpine with warm (positive temps) and high freezing levels 2500 to 3000 m

Weather Forecast

Get it while its good because it won't last long... Wednesday - Things cool off and some new snow arrives. 2 to 11 cm of new snow, winds strong SW drop to moderate SW, temps 0 dropping to -7, freezing levels 1200 down to 500 m. Thursday - More new snow early in the day. approx 10 more cm, winds light SW rising to strong S as the next warm wet storm approaches, temps -7 rising in the evening to +3, freezing level 500 up to 2000 m.Friday - Significant rain. approx 50 mm of rain forecast, winds moderate to strong SE, temps +2 to +1, freezing level 2000 dropping to 1300 m, so we might see the rain tapering into snow after the soaking and potentially very high summits will see all snow vs rain.

Terrain Advice

Study the bond of the new snow arriving Wednesday and Thursday to the old snow surface left after Tuesdays rain event and factor that into your decisions. Stay out of all avalanche terrain when the hazard rating is at high, during the forecast substantial rain event Thursday night into FridayLow avalanche hazard at below treeline, but many low snowpack hazards exist to keep an eye out for (open creeks, rocks, stumps..)

Snowpack Summary

Rain Tuesday saturated the upper snowpack. This moist snow will freeze as temps drop Wednesday and Thursday, reducing concerns around the weak layers found in the mid and lower snowpack. New snow Wednesday and Thursday, then another big rain event into Friday.

Snowpack Details

  • Surface: Rain saturated from Tuesdays storm all the way to the top of the alpine
  • Upper: Moist warm rain soaked snow (with forecast cooling temps Wed and Thurs, this layer should freeze up)
  • Mid: Mainly settled with two suspect weak layers.
  • Lower: Mainly settled and bridged, but a weakness near the ground from early season still exists.


Moderate - Forecast weather models in agreement, but weather history spars due to many weather stations down.


Loose Wet

An icon showing Loose Wet


Expected Size

1 - 1
Thursday night into early Friday significant amounts of rain will soak the new snow that is forecast to fall in the next two days. This rain (along with warm temps and a high freezing level) will almost certainly result in loose wet avalanche activity. We can expect that these loose wet slides will almost certainly trigger with human activity, and will very likely trigger naturally up to size 2 to 3 on all aspects in the treeline and alpine.

Storm Slabs

An icon showing Storm Slabs


Expected Size

1 - 1
With the potential for up to approximately 20 cm of new snow Wed-Thurs there is a possibility of storm slab avalanche activity. We can expect these avalanches will be up to size 2, will exist in the treeline and alpine and will be on all aspects (esp the Norths). Human triggering will be possible to likely and natural will be possible.

Valid until: Jan 2nd, 2020 1:00AM