Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, April 26th 2015
Created: Apr 26th 6:57 am
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
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Special Announcement
  • Avalanche Center operations are wrapping up this week. We will issue an advisory on Tuesday, April 28th, and post our end of the season/springtime tips report on Thursday, April 30th. A BIG thank you to all of you for tuning in this winter despite the challenging snow year!!

The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger has risen to MODERATE overnight for wet loose avalanches and cornice falls on all aspects and elevations. Southerly slopes that did not re-freeze and Northerly slopes that have wet surface snow will be the most likely places to trigger an avalanche. These wet slides could entrain significant amounts of snow if the slope is steep and sustained. Cornices may also begin to release with the warm conditions.

LOW avalanche danger will be found on Southerly slopes that re-froze overnight and Northerly slopes harboring dry snow.

There will be no advisory issued tomorrow.

AVALANCHE OUTLOOK for Monday, April 27th:
With similar weather forecast for tomorrow (cloudy skies and warm temperatures), we are expecting similar avalanche conditions. A MODERATE danger for wet loose slides will be the primary concern.

Primary Concern

After several days of mostly clear skies and a springtime melt-freeze regime, we have very warm temperatures and cloud cover that has moved in overnight. Ridgetop temperatures are reading between 30 and 32F this morning and cloud cover has likely limited the amount of surface re-freeze. What this means is an increase in wet avalanche potential as daytime warming does not have to soften surface crusts before destabilizing the snowpack. This also is how our springtime "shed cycle" begins; the shed cycle is when we see large natural wet avalanches as the snowpack melts away and sluffs off the mountainsides. Will this week's warming initiate a true shed cycle? It's too soon to say, but we need to keep the idea in mind as there is still plenty of snow at the higher elevations that has yet to transition into a summer snowpack. Watching for recent wet avalanche activity throughout the next several weeks should be on our minds.

If you are headed out today, paying attention to the amount of overnight re-freeze on Southerly aspects will be key. If the snow is unsupportable and saturated - stay off of steep slopes as large wet loose avalanches are possible. On Northerly aspects, watch for the soft settled powder to become damp, or even wet. If this occurs, damp and wet sluffs will be possible on steep Northerly slopes.

Cornices could start calving with the warm temperatures this week. As always, steering clear of these from both above and below is wise. Cornice crevasses are also showing up along ridgelines; this is where the cornice pulls away from the underlying terrain or snow.

Photo below is of a cornice crevasse from the CFR ridge on Tincan this weekend.

Mountain Weather

Yesterday was yet another inviting and mostly sunny day in the backcountry. Ridgetop winds were light from the East and temperatures warm, near 30F on the ridgelines and mid 40's F at 1,000'. 

Today, we have cloud cover and very WARM air being ushered in as large low pressure system spins in the Gulf. We are too far North of the system for precipitation but we should see overcast skies and season high temperatures in the 34-38F range on the ridgelines. Ridgetop winds are expected to be light to moderate, 10-20mph, from the North and East.

For Monday, intermittent cloud cover, warm temperatures and light precipitation is expected. Accumulations look to be only 1-3" at the upper elevations with a rain/snow line ~1,500'. Ridgetop winds are expected to be from the North as West as the low-pressure in the Gulf moves off to the Southeast and a wrap-around flow pattern sets up.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880')  41  0 70 
Summit Lake (1400')  40   0  13 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 42  43 


RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am - 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 28   11   34 
Seattle Ridge(2400') 32  n/a   11  29

This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area (this advisory does not apply to highways, railroads, or operating ski areas).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Apr 23, 2015 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedTurnagain Pass looks more like winter than it has most of the season. The Forest Service is closely monitoring the snow depths and snow density on the motorized side of the road for a potential motorized opening. There is not quite enough coverage yet to protect the vegetation below, but check back here should this next storm come in cold. Please respect the closure!
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: Closed
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.

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