Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Wednesday, February 24th 2016 7:00 am by Aleph Johnston-Bloom
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Another storm is impacting the advisory area this morning. Strong winds, new snow and the potential for rain to fall up to 1800' have combined to make the avalanche hazard HIGH. Natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. Avoid slopes 30 degrees and steeper, including runout areas in the flats.

The danger is MODERATE below 1,000' where debris from an avalanche above may run.

Dangerous avalanche conditions also exist in the Summit Lake area. See Saturday's Summit Lake Summary at this link and click HERE for recent observations.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
4 High Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Special Announcement
  • Avalanche Hazard Reduction work will be conducted on the Seward Highway between Primrose and Summit Lake from MP 19 to MP 45. Mororists should expect intermittent traffic delays up to 45 minutes today, Wednesday, from 8:30am-2pm. More details can be found at

Mark your calendars for the second annual SNOWBALL this Friday (Feb.26th) at Taproot. This fun-filled, mid-winter fundraiser is a joint effort between the Alaska Avalanche School and the Friends-CNFAIC.  All proceeds directly support avalanche information and education in Alaska!  Iron those Carhartts, break out the sequins, and dust off the top hat…its Snowball time!  Tickets on sale at


Avalanche Problem 1

The snowpack was just starting to adjust to the 'mini-snowpocalypse' over the weekend and now we are back into an active loading scenario. Overnight we received over a foot of snow and sustained strong winds in the Alpine. Sunburst recorded a peak gust of 105 at 2 am. There is a lot of snow available for transport and snow is forecasted to fall thoughout the day. The NWS service used the phrase heavy at times to describe snowfall rates.  Deep wind and storm slabs and large cornices may release naturally as the storm continues today. These will no doubt be very sensitive to human triggers. Visibility will be limited; strong winds will continue and rain is forecasted to fall on the fresh snow in the mid-elevation band up to approximately 1800'. 

Today we are again saying travel in or under avalanche terrain is not recommended. Please be patient. 



Avalanche Problem 2

As the temperature rises and with it the rain/snow line, rain will be falling on new snow. There is the potential for wet loose avalanches in steep terrain in the mid-elevation band. We may see wet slab activity as well due to the stiff crust under this last shot of snow. Wet avalanches are yet another reason to avoid travel in or under avalanche terrain today.

Additional Concern

Underneath all the new snow glides are still lurking and have the potential to release at any time. Glides threaten a lot of well-travelled terrain on both the motorized and non-motorized side of the highway. Still looking for a reason to avoid avalanche terrain and runout zones today??? Here is one more avalanche dragon to steer clear of.


Mountain Weather

Yesterday was cloudy and visibility was limited. Snow fell throughout the day with over a foot of accumulation overnight. Winds ramped up in the evening blowing in 50-60 mph with a peak gust of 105. Temperatures were in the 20Fs. Rain/snowline was around 300'.  

Today will be mostly cloudy and snow and rain are forecasted to be heavy at times with another inch of moisture expected today and another 1.5 inches tonight. These means a total of 15-30 inches of snow at higher elevations is possible. Winds will be Easterly, 25-50 mph and temperatures will be in the mid to high 30Fs. Rain/snow line is expected to rise to 1800'.

There may be a minor lull in this active weather during the day Thursday with some lingering showers. Another system is forecasted to move in Thursday evening or Friday morning. 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 30  14  1.5 134 
Summit Lake (1400') 32  4 .4 45 
Alyeska Mid (1700') 31  105 


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812') 22   ENE 45  105 
Seattle Ridge(2400')  25 n/a  n/a  n/a 

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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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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.

If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email
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