Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Friday, April 4th 2014
Created: Apr 4th 5:56 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today.  Avalanches are unlikely.  Snow (up to an inch) and winds will be arriving today but will not be enough to create new instabilities.

Primary Concern

The spring like weather of the last 18 days has come to an end.  During this time period the snowpack quieted down.  Avalanche activity waned and older buried weak layers had time to adjust to the load that arrived in mid March.  

The next slab will begin to build slowly over the next several days.  New snow falling today will touch down on a variety of snow surfaces.  

On North aspects that were sheltered from winds expect to find the weakest interface.  It is here where you will find mainly facets along with pockets of surface hoar that will begin to get buried.

On South, East and West aspects, the snow surface is comprised mainly of crusts.  Any surface that received direct sunlight has a firm surface.  Exceptions to this are on aspects with a Northerly tilt and lower angled terrain.

New snow and wind will not be great enough to bump the avalanche danger above LOW today.

As always, it is important to use good travel practices when moving through avalanche terrain.  Expose only one person at a time, use islands of safety when stopping in steep terrain, avoid cornices and communicate plans within your group effectively.

Additional Concern

Look for the avalanche danger to be on the rise beyond today as new snow and wind combine to build slabs over the next several days.  For today precipitation amounts will be too light to create new slabs that will be of concern.  However, this will change as more snow and wind look to be on its way through the weekend.

Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours ridge top temperatures (Sunburst station at 3,812’) have averaged 22 degrees F.  Winds out of the East were light averaging 5 mph with a max gust of 21 mph.  Clouds moved in during the late afternoon ahead of an approaching frontal boundary.

Winter Part IV looks like it might be on our doorstep.  Today we can expect cloudy skies with occasional light flurries in the mountains.  Temperatures at 1,000’ will reach into the high 30s F.  Ridge top winds will be on the increase out of the East at 15-20 mph.

The synoptic pattern has changed.  The blocking high pressure that dominated the weather over the past 18 days has broken down.  A low pressure trough will set up over the weekend, bringing increasing chances for snow during this time.

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: Nov 18, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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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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