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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Monday, January 7th 2013
Created: Jan 7th 6:10 am
3 Considerable Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
3 Considerable Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
3 Considerable Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
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Special Announcement

From AKDOT:

There will be intermittent closures for avalanche hazard reduction work today between Bird and Portage, milepost 99-82.  Motorists should expect delays of up to 45 minutes between 10am and 2pm.

Updates will be posted on the 511 system at:

http://511.alaska.gov/


The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is CONSIDERABLE above and below treeline today, where new snow and winds continue to add stress to a potentially volatile snowpack.  Human triggered avalanches are likely in steep wind loaded terrain.  Natural avalanches are still possible.  Conservative route finding will be critical in avoiding avalanches today.


Primary Concern

Deep Slabs continue to be our biggest threat.  With snowfall amounts moderating over the past several days, the undetectable nature of this problem has increased.  However, moderate loading in the past 24 hours coupled with more precip forecasted for today, should increase the chances of pulling out one of these deadly slides.  Large natural avalanches are still possible today, as we have seen a continuation of natural avalanche activity over the past several days.  The challenge now is that many areas might be able to support the weight of potentially an entire group of skiers or snowmachiners.  All it takes is finding the wrong spot (thinner parts of a slab) to create serious problems.  Avoiding likely trigger points, slopes over 35 degrees, and big open terrain is the best way to tiptoe around this dangerous and persistent problem.


Secondary Concern

While 10" of new snow is enough of a load to be a concern, the bonding of new storm snow to the surface has been good of late.  Look for fresh new wind slabs to be reactive to the weight of a person or snowmachine today.  While these slabs don't carry the same consequences as a deep slab, they warrant attention, as they can entrain enough snow on their own to injure or bury a person.  These wind slabs also have some potential, once released, to pull out deeper weak layers.  Look for this problem to be more prevalent above treeline today.


Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours Turnagain Pass has picked up 10" of new snow with 1" of water.  Ridegtop winds have averaged 25 mph out of the East with gusts to 52.  Temps at 3800 feet have averaged in the low 20s with freezing levels hovering between sea level and the 500 foot elevation.

A slow moving low pressure system over us today will produce up to 8" of new snow, winds out of the East at 20-40 mph and temps at 1000' around 30 degrees F.

The pattern of unsettled weather should continue later in the week, with a break in the action tomorrow and Wednesday. 

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Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, January 8th.

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 16, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedThanks all for a safe and fun season on the Chugach NF! Stay tuned for the 2017/18 season. #playsafe #snowtosealevel
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail will be open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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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