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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Monday, December 31st 2012
Created: Dec 31st 6:06 am
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.
4 High Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
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The Bottom Line

The danger remains HIGH above and below treeline today. Natural avalanches are still likely and human triggered avalanches are very likely in many areas.  The consequences of being caught in an avalanche today are severe.  Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended today.


Primary Concern

The past week has been a tough one for the snowpack.  Weak unconsolidated snow close to the ground has been covered up with a very thick and heavy slab.  With a break in the action today, those weak layers will get a (slim) chance to adjust to the new load.  What this means is that triggering one of these deeply buried layers will be just slightly harder to do today.  However, the fact remains that triggering one of these slabs will carry with it severe consequences.  On Friday we were able to see evidence of  the most recent avalanche cycle.  Since then we have seen enough precip and wind to reload many of those areas.  A few observations from yesterday reveal a snowpack that is still struggling to adjust to this newest load of snow and rain.  


Secondary Concern

Wet Slabs below 1500'
After a major shock to its system in the form of rain, the snowpack below 1500' is very weak.  I observed a handful of smaller wet slabs in the lower elevations yesterday.  While they were smaller, they were still big enough to bury, injure or kill a person.  With continued mild temps in the forecast today, it will be best to avoid avalanche terrain in areas where the thermometer reads above freezing.

Wind Slabs above 1500'
The last 24 hours has brought significant winds to the region.  Above treeline today we should expect to see areas of newly formed dense wind slab to be sensitive to the weight of a person or snowmachine.


Mountain Weather

The mountains have received rain up to the 1500' elevation with snow above.  Water amounts are in the .8 to 1 inch range.  Winds have been blowing out of the East averaging 35 mph with gusts to 98.  Temperatures have hovered above freezing at 1500 feet and been in the mid 20s at ridgetops.

This morning winds have calmed to the 20s, freezing level has dropped to the 1000' elevation and precipitation has abated.

In the mountains today we will get a break in precip, with winds out of the east at 20 to 30 mph.  Temperatures will remain mild with freezing line climbing back up to the 1500' elevation.

Tonight and into tomorrow expect another shot of precip with up to a foot of new snow and wind to increase the likelihood of triggering avalanches.


Wendy will issue the next advisory on Tuesday morning, January 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: Mar 25, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: OpenSkookum drainage closes to motorized use on April 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
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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