Avalanches closed the Kootenay Pass this week. Roadways leading out of the area were closed this week due to avalanches.

Weather wreaks havoc on travel from Nelson — Avalanche danger remains high

It’s days like Thursday that really remind travellers what it’s like living in a remote mountain community.

It’s days like Thursday that really remind travellers what it’s like living in a remote mountain community.

Avalanche activity shut down two major roadways out of our area yesterday with the Paulson Pass closed during the afternoon and Kootenay Pass reopened last evening after being closed since avalanche control started Wednesday morning.

There are still up to two-hour delays expected as avalanche control continues until early this afternoon.

Wednesday, avalanche deposits at Meadow Creek closed Highway 31. That road is still reduced to single lane travel with delays of about 15 minutes.

With road closures along Highway 3, both the Arrow Lakes Ferry and the Kootenay Lake Ferry busy with detouring traffic. Brian Coe with Western Pacific Marine says commercial traffic had the biggest impact on service over Kootenay Lake.

“Our problem wasn’t so much volume, it was the type of traffic,” he says. “A lot of B-trains and our problem was getting them into the tough turns we have on our lot with our snow.”

There were sail waits from 9 a.m. until the ferry got back on schedule at 8:40 p.m.’s sail out of Kootenay Bay.

“It actually went fairly well,” says Coe. “The lineups weren’t that bad, surprisingly enough… I was proud of our crews some of them putting in 15 to 16 hours.”

Amid the travel woes many drivers were experiencing, the ferry had to wait for an ambulance needing to make an East Shore pick up to take a patient to Nelson.

“We got a phone call on board the vessel of an ambulance coming lights and sirens and we had to keep space for it and keep space for it on the other side as well,” says Coe.

At the root of most travel difficulties this week was the weather. Canadian Avalanche Centre reports the latest weather system dumping up to 55 cm of new snow that now sits atop a variety of old surfaces.

Avalanche activity was greatest in areas where the recent precipitation fell as rain. Now, as temperatures warm, the new snow is settling into a “widespread soft slab.”

Isolated flurries and possible showers are forecasted for the weekend with a possible 20 to 30 cm predicted to fall.

Avalanche danger is rated considerable in all areas

“The mid-Feb weak layer still remains reactive in some areas and has the potential to produce large, destructive avalanches,” reads the Canadian Avalanche Centre bulletin. “Warm temperatures and the load of the new snow may ‘wake up’ this weak layer and very large natural avalanches are possible.”



Just Posted

Finding support at Community Connect

The 10th annual event offered free services, clothing and food on Saturday

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Nelson city council to update banner policy

Council will revisit the wording of the policy at its December meeting

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Meteorite fragments found near Crawford Bay

The pieces came from the fireball that exploded over Kootenay Lake in September

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Man pleads guilty to Leafs recycling depot theft

Dezmond Waggoner had been charged with theft over $5,000

Nelson Leafs stretch winning streak to six

Jack Karran scored twice in the Leafs 6-3 win over Fernie

Nelson city hall selling bear-proof garbage bins

The city has purchased 100 bins and is charging residents $205

COLUMN: Will West Kootenay forests survive?

As with most things around ecology, the answer is not simple, says columnist Greg Utzig

Julien Locke races to NST World Cup berth

Black Jack cross-country skier Julien Locke races to first place at World Cup qualifier

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Most Read