Friday April 18, 2014





Friday morning best bet for travel

Accidents, avalanche risk close Trans-Canada and Coquihalla at various times
Murray Mitchell

Several vehicles left the road about four kilometres south of the Logan Lake exit, including this semi-trailer truck, on Thursday afternoon.

If the weather co-operates, Friday morning is the best time for people to travel to their holiday destinations before another round of snow strikes later in the day.

The one plus to this bit of news is the region is guaranteed a white Christmas, said meteorologist Jim Steele.

"We're going to have flurries through the weekend," said Steele, adding conditions will dry out by Monday but remain cool.

"The odds of it melting between now and Christmas Day are that it's not. There's going to be some slushy stuff around, but it'll be white."

This is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and travellers experienced frustration on Thursday as the danger of an avalanche closed the Fraser Canyon portion of the Trans-Canada Highway from Boston Bar to the junction with Highway 12 near Lytton.

It was not known whether the Trans-Canada would be open on Friday.

Drivers were told to use the Coquihalla Highway instead, which had its southbound lanes shut for a time when three semis crashed near Comstock Road. Highway 3 shut down for a time near the Kootenay Pass for avalanche control Thursday morning.

The Trans-Canada Highway near Three Valley Gap west of Revelstoke also closed, and was expected to open by 2:30 p.m.

Avalanche forecaster Grant Helgeson said conditions are changing, and not for the better, when it comes to avalanches.

"We're heading into a tricky avalanche climate," he said.

Depending on where you are, 50 to 150 centimetres of light, fluffy snow fell in the last week, said Helgeson. Now winds have picked up and that's creating wind slabs — dry platforms of snow that are prone to slides and difficult to manage.

"They have the potential to break above you," he said.

Ski hills and lower elevations within the tree line are safe, said Helgeson. To venture elsewhere is risky.

"Stay low," he said.





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