New Avalanche Warning System

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Wow, this is great. Parks Canada has revamped their avalanche bulletins (which are posted to sites like the Canadian Avalanche Centre). The bulletins now feature more graphics, less text and are smartphone friendly. You can even receive notifications for specific regions via Twitter.

It also incorporates Google Maps, where you can simply click into any region you are interested in drilling into. This from a Parks Canada news release [via the North Shore Rescue blog]:

Parks Canada has just launched a new avalanche warning system.  Go here:

http://avalanche.pc.gc.ca

This takes you to a Google map, where you will see national park boundaries and danger ratings. From here you can drill down further into the warnings.

Clicking on any of the regions will take you to a close-up map for that particular region.

From here, you can select “show weather stations”, and wind sock icons will appear. We have made seventeen of our remote weather stations available for viewing. You can see temperature, wind, and snowdepth from the past 24-hours. It might be a few hours old when you see it, and remember that weather station data can be notoriously suspect from riming or other conditions that effect the sensors. So take the data with a small grain of salt – if it reads -72, that is probably not correct! Not all stations have all sensors; some just have wind and temperature, for example.

The bulletins themselves are now mostly graphical, with a short editorial from our forecasters relating to specific avalanche problems. Much of what you used to get from the text is now represented with graphics. Learn how to read these and you will get a snapshot of the mountain conditions quickly.

Bookmark this site on your mobile phone, as you can get all of the same information formatted for Blackberry, iPhone and Android.

Sign up via Twitter for instant notification of a new bulletin, and the danger rating.

Hope you like the newly designed information, available in both English and French.

The Canadian Avalanche Centre will be following suit shortly, and we expect to see a common avalanche bulletin template for all regions within the month.

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