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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Tuesday, February 26th 2013
Created: Feb 26th 6:17 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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Special Announcement

Placer/Skookum and 20 mile are now OPEN to snowmachines, with adequate snow cover in those areas.  Watch for areas of thin snow cover, open water, and other hazards that you won't find at higher elevations.  The avalanche center staff have not been to this zone yet, so we can only speculate on the snowpack at this time. 

There will be intermittent road closures on the Seward Highway for avalanche hazard reduction work on Tuesday February 26, 2013 between Girdwood and Portage (MP89-82).  Motorists should expect delays of up to 45 minutes between 8:30AM and 10:30AM.  Thank you for your patience.


The Bottom Line

Continued light snowfall and strong wind overnight keeps us at the upper end of MODERATE in the backcountry today.  Expect to find wind driven snow above treeline with areas of triggerable wind slab and a slight possibility of natural avalanches in some areas.  Below treeline, some areas may have a buried reactive crust layer. 


Primary Concern

Even light snowfall adds up over time and can become a probelm.  About 6 inches have fallen in Turnagain Pass and Girdwood in the last 24 hours.  Overnight wind was strong enough to transport quite a bit of snow.  Yesterday the surface snow up high was getting a "slabby" feel.  Even without any prominent weak layers, recent loading has the ability to build pockets of avalanche potential. 

Last night there was a natural avalanche reported near Kern creek just south of Girdwood that was large enough to affect the railroad.  This underscores the potential for more avalanches to happen despite only moderate amounts of new snow.  High wind yesterday played a large role in causing this avalanche.

Wind loading at higher elevation will be the most likely place to find trouble today.  Expect deeper and stiffer snow on west aspects with cross loaded north and south facing slopes. 


Secondary Concern

A series of ice crusts with associated weak layers have kept us thinking about the lower to mid elevation snowpack.  A couple days ago forecasters found collapsing and unstable pit results at 1200 feet elevation.   As we open the low elevation zones of Placer/Skookum and 20mile to snowmachines, this should be a concern to think about.  

The Placer/Skookum/20mile zones are poorly understood at this time due to a lack of information.  Expect to find moderate avalanche danger, but remember that those zones get different weather patterns and local variations may be found.


Mountain Weather

The last few days have been consistent light snowfall with wind up high.  Yesterday and overnight new snow built to around 6 inches at mid elevations in Girdwood and Turnagain, and double that amount in Grandview.  Wind has gusted 40-50+ mph every hour since yesterday morning at Sunburst.  Temperatures have been in the 20s at high elevation to mid 30s at sea level. 

Expect more of the same weather today.  A large low complex south of Kodiak is affecting our region with snowfall across the gulf coast spilling over to Turnagain Arm.  Total precip will be a little less than yesterday and wind may diminish slightly as well.  The forecasted snow doesn't look like a big addition to the avalanche danger, but reduced visibility may hamper our ability to see very much today. 


Graham will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, Feb 27th

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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