Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Tuesday, November 27th 2018 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

As wet and stormy weather continues today the avalanche danger remains HIGH in the Alpine. With additional snowfall and wind loading natural avalanches are likely. Avalanches at upper elevations may run into terrain below keeping the danger at CONSIDERABLE for the Treeline elevation band. Human triggered avalanches are very likely above the rain/snow line (approximately 2500'). Travel above treeline is not recommended. 

 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.
3 Considerable Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'
Special Announcement

The Friends of the CNFAIC have two scholarships dedicated to avalanche education. The funds generated to make these possible are in celebration of Rob Hamel and Amy Downing, their love and passion for the mountains, and to help others stay safe. We encourage you to read each one and apply if you fit the need, or pass along to someone who could benefit. Applications due on Dec 1st.

Rob Hamel Scholarship Fund – For recreational users and professional avalanche workers.

Amy Downing Scholarship Fund – For recreational users.

Both of these scholarships are supported by your generous donations. Today is #GivingTuesday. Consider a donation to the Friends of the CNFAIC. Donate HERE. Thank you for your support. 

Avalanche Problem 1

Storm Slabs

Almost Certain
Very Likely


Very Large


With the active weather the avalanche danger remains elevated. Snow at upper elevations and rain at lower elevations is expected to continue today. Rain/snow line is forecast to be around 2500'. Winds are forecast to be easterly with gusts into the 40s.  Our road observations yesterday had limited visibility but a few wet loose avalanches were observed to have run in the mid-elevation band. Rain continues to wash away the snow that fell on Saturday night in this elevation band. 

Water totals at the mid-elevation snow stations for this soggy storm cycle:

  • Girdwood Valley at 1,700':  4" of water equivalent 
  • Turnagain Pass at 1,880':  3" of water equivalent
  • Summit Lake at 1,400': 0.9" of water equivalent 

If we convert the water to snow at upper elevations we have a significant load. We are uncertain at this point about avalanche activity in the Alpine. However snow continues to fall, the winds are sustained and we know this is loading older layers of snow. With this recipe we have to expect storm slab avalanches. 

Rookie Hill with a few small wet loose avalanches in the channeled terrain on Seattle Ridge. November 26, 2018, Photo: Wendy Wagner

Tincan: Snow that fell Saturday night in the mid-elevation band getting rained on. November 26, 2018. Photo: Wendy Wagner 

Mountain Weather

Yesterday: Rain and snow throughout the day. Rain/snowline was around 2500'. Temperatures were in the high to mid 30Fs at lower elevations and low 30Fs to high 20Fs at upper elevations. Winds were easterly 15-25 mph with gusts into the 40s. 

Today: As a low in the Gulf continues to push moisture and warm air into the region rain and snow showers will continue. Half to three quarters of an inch of water is forecast to fall. Rain/snowline will remain around 2500' before lowering Wednesday as cooler air moves in. Winds will be from the E-SE 20-30 mph with gusts into the 40s. Temperatures will be in the 40Fs to high 20Fs depending on elevation. 

Tomorrow: A trough bringing cooler air is forecast to push up Cook Inlet with the potential to bring snow to Anchorage and Hatcher Pass. The advisory area should see a shift to snow showers with cooling temperatures later in the day into Thursday. The timing on all this is fairly uncertain as the weather models are not in agreement. 

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880') 36   0.8  13
Summit Lake (1400') 35 


Alyeska Mid (1700') 36   1.59  0


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

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812')  29  NE 16   50
Seattle Ridge(2400')  32  E 11  40

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: May 06, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19
Placer River: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Skookum Drainage: ClosedPlacer access closed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed as of 5/6. Thanks for a great season all, see you next winter!
Twentymile: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed as of 3.22.19 due to lack of snow
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed as of 4.3.19 due to lack of snow
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClose as of 5.1.2019
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed as of 3.20.19 due to lack of snow.
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.

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