Deadly Avalanches Hit Japan, Alberta And Oregon; Portugal Sees “Huge Snowfalls”; Arctic Sea Ice Riding Well-Above Average; + The Day The Sun Brought Darkness

Deadly Avalanches Hit Japan, Alberta And Oregon

Japan Today is reporting two New Zealanders were killed in a Hokkaido avalanche on Monday.

The pair were guides, part of a group of six backcountry skiers tackling Mount Yotei.

A third New Zealander suffered a shoulder injury, according to Kyodo News, but will survive.

The Japanese Society of Snow and Ice said that, based on a field survey, the incident was a large “surface avalanche”, in which a fresh layer of snow comes loose and slips, measuring about 2km in length and some 20m wide.

Headed to North America, an Avalanche Canada report dated March 12 reads: “Over the weekend, there were lots of reports of avalanches, sadly including a fatal accident in Kananaskis Country as well as other close calls.”

The center issued a collage of the recent slips (shown below), with the note: “These are just a few of the other avalanches posted since Friday and demonstrate how challenging conditions are in many places.”

Two skiers “triggered a large avalanche” near what’s known as the Engadine burn area and were “pushed into the trees,” continues the report.

One was able to escape by digging himself out of the snow; however, the second, a 19-year-old male, was buried and killed.

Two other “close calls” were reported by skiers in the area , one near Burstall Pass and another near Tryst Lake.

A host of slips have been triggered south of the border too, in the United States.

Avalanche forecaster, Nick Burks, was killed in Oregon last week while backcountry skiing on Gunsight Mountain.

Burks, an avalanche specialist for the Wallowa Avalanche Center in Joseph, was carried down the mountain by the moving snow, and despite resuscitation attempts by his colleague was sadly pronounced dead that the scene.

“Resort skiing and backcountry skiing are night and day,” asserted Craig Gordon, an avalanche forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center. On resort slopes, “the ski patrol have knocked down avalanches long before we arrive. If we head into the back country, avalanches are not being knocked down for us.”

In about a quarter of all avalanche deaths, the cause is trauma, such as slamming into trees. Other victims die from asphyxiation, buried beneath the snow.

Portugal Sees “Huge Snowfalls”

Portugal’s ski area, Serra da Estrela, says it has “the most open terrain in years” after “huge snowfalls” hit over the weekend.

Like most ski areas across Europe, Serra da Estrela is copping something of a late-season deluge.

A monstrous storm Friday – Sunday buried lifts and buildings under meters of snow:

Serra da Estrela after a March 2024 snow dump.

Despite access issues, the area is fully open with 22 runs available.

Looking ahead, Europe is bracing for additional spring snow later in the month…

…likely owing to the very strong SSW event playing out above the Arctic, which is still yet to bottom:

Arctic Sea Ice Riding Well-Above Average

As with Antarctic Sea Ice Extent–discussed Monday–the top of the world is fairing exceptionally well, considering this is the “HoTtEsT yEaR oF tHe PaSt 125,000”.

The official data show Arctic Sea Ice Extent is comfortably above the multidecadal average:

It is also sitting well-above the 21st century average:

[Tony Heller]

To visualize this in a way even the most blinded scarer can understand, Arctic sea ice extent today matches that of 1995, when Al Gore was vice-president:

[1995 vs 2024]

There is a reason we haven’t heard much about the Arctic in recent months: there’s no cause for alarm.

There is a reason we haven’t heard much about the Arctic in recent months, it’s because there’s no cause for alarm.

Likewise on Antarctica, the bottom of the world is headed the same way. Though I’ll bet an active La Niña-induced hurricane season will distract nicely from advancing ice down there–ice, by the way, that has a higher extent now (3,165,625 km2) than it did 27 years ago (3,075,000 km2), returning it back within 2 standard deviations:

The melting ruse, like so many before it, has collapsed.

The Day The Sun Brought Darkness

Thirty-five years ago today, the greatest solar storm of the Space Age engulfed our planet.

A powerful coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth early on March 13, 1989, and within 90 seconds, the entire Hydro-Québec power grid failed. During the 9-hour blackout that followed, millions of Quebecois found themselves with no light or heat.

Happy Anniversary?

Sunspot ‘5395’, source of the March 1989 solar storm.
From “A 21st Century View of the March 1989 Magnetic Storm” by D. Boteler.

For more, see‘s detailed article — linked HERE.

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