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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Friday, November 30th 2012
Created: Nov 30th 6:44 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.
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

We are issuing advisories 5 days a week through November on Sat, Sun, Tue, Thur and Fri.

BOTTOM LINE
There is a MODERATE danger today above treeline for both wind slab and persistent slab avalanches. A bump in the northeast winds yesterday evening, combined with similar conditions today, will warrant keeping an eye out for areas with recent wind deposited snow. Additionally, the possibility remains to trigger a slab breaking near the ground on steep upper elevation slopes. Loose snow sluffing is also becoming common as the snowpack deteriorates. Below treeline there is a LOW avalanche danger.


Primary Concern

The northeast winds picked up to the 20-30mph range at the ridge top weather stations late in the day yesterday and though they have decreased this morning, are forecast to pick back up today. Watching for areas with recent wind loading will be a good idea as there is plenty of loose faceted snow available for transport to form touchy wind slabs any place the wind blows.

Surface conditions above treeline yesterday consisted of loose near surface facets with a thin (2-5mm) wind skin on the ridgelines where the wind was just starting to blow. Good sized surface hoar (2-5cm+) on top of the faceted snow is growing at the lower elevations and creek bottoms.


Secondary Concern

The persistent slab problem we have been mentioning for almost the entire month of November is fading away, finally. The October facets are just as loose as they have always been but the slab on top of them is almost as weak, if not just as weak, as they are. In areas where a poor structure remains (a slab of cohesive snow over non-cohesive snow) the slab is quite stubborn and hard to trigger. The threat is diminishing but the possibility remains that someone could find one of these slabs in just the right upper elevation steep slope.

Our meager November (22” of total snowfall…) has one more day, today, but for those interested in our weather history chart click HERE.


Mountain Weather

The downright cold temperatures we had yesterday are even colder today. This morning it is -17F in Portage and +12F at the Sunburst weather station (3812ft). The warmest place on the mountain seems to be around 2000ft where the SNOTEL is reporting a tropical +18F! That is a 35 degree warm up from sea level to treeline (impressive inversion). Winds picked up from the northeast yesterday to 10-15mph, with gusts to upper 20's, and should remain in this range today. The strong winds seen in other areas due to the state-wide pressure gradient seem to be splitting around the Kenai Mtns for the most part.

Looking into the crystal ball, the blocking high pressure over mainland Alaska and the bering will start breaking down Monday. Models are showing a shot of precipitation hitting PWS Tuesday into Wednesday - will this verify, and if so, any snow spill over onto our side of the mountains is the question. Cross your fingers.

 


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). 

Kevin will issue the next advisory Saturday morning, December 1st.

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: Feb 19, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenAccess is thru the gate on the right side of the parking lot as you drive toward the outhouse. Please park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: Open
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: Open
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

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.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
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