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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Friday, January 25th 2013
Created: Jan 25th 5:40 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

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above treeline today, where human triggered avalanches are possible, especially in wind loaded starting zones.  Below treeline the hazard is LOW, where recent warm temps and subsequent freezing have helped to greatly minimize the likelihood of triggering avalanches.


Primary Concern

Look for older wind slabs to be lingering in pockets above treeline today.  Light to moderate winds will blow around a few inches of light density snow to also form new shallow wind slabs today. Yesterday my partner and I observed one small human triggered avalanche and one naturally triggered avalanche on the south side of Tincan ridge.  The larger of these avalanches was big enough to injure or bury a person.  While most of these wind slabs are isolated in their distribution, they can cause problems for people venturing into steep starting zones and above terrain traps such as cliffs, trees and gullies.  Wind slabs can be detected by their look and feel; snow that looks smooth and rounded or feels hollow should be avoided.

 


Secondary Concern

The deep slab problem continues to plague us.  While the likelihood of triggering an avalanche in old layers of snow at the base of the snowpack is low, the possibility remains.  It has been 12 days since a deep slab avalanche has been reported in the backcountry.  What is more important to remember is that the consequences of one of these avalanches are high for a person.  The volume of these avalanches are typically enough to cause significant damage.  We have been fortunate this season in two instances where people triggered very large avalanches in which no one was injured, buried or killed.  Continuing to treat large steep open terrain with respect will help to avoid encountering this problem today.


Mountain Weather

The mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up a trace of new snow overnight.  Winds have been light out of the West.  Freezing level has dropped down to sea level and ridgetop temps have averaged in the low 20s F.

Temperatures will be on the decrease through the day reaching the single digits by tonight.  Winds will be out of the West averaging 10 mph with gusts to 25 mph.  There is a slight chance of continued precip today, with accumulations of up to 1".  Any snowfall should taper off by midday.

Expect clear and cold weather this weekend, with temps remaining in the single digits at ridgetops .  The next chance for snow around Turnagain Arm looks to be on Monday.

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Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, January 26th.

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: Nov 18, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
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.


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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