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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Tuesday, January 22nd 2013
Created: Jan 22nd 6:35 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.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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.
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The Bottom Line

There is a MODERATE danger today below treeline for wet snow avalanches. This concern is on all aspects below 3,000’. There were several small wet slides triggered both naturally and by people yesterday and will likely be the case again today. Above treeline we have a MODERATE avalanche danger for fresh wind slabs around a foot deep as well as the much larger deep slab avalanche.


Primary Concern

Man, what a warm day yesterday. For any folks that were out and about there was a marked change in temperature – and snow quality - in the afternoon. Temperature at 1,900’ (Center Ridge SNOTEL) went from 36F to 39F between noon and 1pm which turned the soft “cream cheese” powder to sticky and difficult riding. There were several wet loose avalanches over the course of the day on all aspects below 3,000’. These were both natural and human triggered but most in the small category and confined to the upper 4-8” of damp loose snow. A few larger wet point releases were seen on the east face of Pyramid. Additionally, small wet slab avalanches were reported on the northern side of the Pass.

Today the warm and rainy conditons continue. We should see a decline in the natural wet activity but human triggered wet loose and possibly wet slab avalanches can be expected on the steeper slopes. These should be fairly small but do have the potential to become larger and more worrisome in bigger terrain where significant amounts of snow can be entrained.

Wind Slab:
Above 3,000’ in the upper alpine, where snow is falling and the wind is blowing, wind slab avalanches will be the primary concern. The moderate to strong easterly winds began to load slopes yesterday afternoon. Shallow 3-6” wind slabs were building easily but were only moderately touchy. These slabs should be thicker today and fairly stiff and stubborn to trigger. However, this is the case where they can lure you onto them before releasing, taking you for a ride. Watching for loaded slopes, cracking in stiff and hollow feeling snow and collapsing will be ways to avoid these wind slabs.


Secondary Concern

Once again, we are concerned about the deep slab avalanche problem caused by weak early season snow residing in the bottom of the snowpack. The current warm temperatures are adding to this concern today as they can act to loosen the pack as a whole. What this does in a nutshell is increase the deformation in the 3-8' thick slab which subsequently adds stress to the weak layer below. The good news is the weak layer is becoming deeper and deeper by the day and our pit results continue to show signs that this type of large, destructive avalanche is getting harder and harder to trigger. But nonetheless, we still have to keep this problem in mind.


Mountain Weather

Warm weather continues over the Eastern Turnagain Arm this morning. Temperatures reached a seasonal high yesterday with 32F up to 3,500’ and 40F at 1,000’ – downright balmy. Over the past 24 hours we have only had a few tenths of an inch of rain below 1,500' and a couple inches of snow at the highest elevations. Winds have been moderate to strong from the east – averaging 20mph with gusts to over 50mph.

Today warm and wet conditions remain. Ridgetop temperatures should hover around 32F, or just below, and the upper 30’s at 1,000’. A quarter of an inch of rain is expected below 2,000’ and 2-4” of wet snow above. Expect winds to be around 25mph with gusts to 50mph.

Slightly colder air begins to move in tomorrow. A weak southeast flow should keep cloudy skies and snow flurries (with little accumulation) over us for the next couple of days.

 


 Kevin will issue our next advisory tomorrow morning, January 23rd.

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 28, 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: OpenPlacer remains open but SKOOKUM DRAINAGE will close to motorized use on April 1st.
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

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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.


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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