Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Thursday, March 7th 2013
Created: Mar 7th 6:39 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

Strong southeasterly winds and precipitation associated with an intense low-pressure system and accompanying warm front will increase our avalanche danger to MODERATE above treeline today.  Lower elevation areas that continue to harbor a stout surface crust will have a generally LOW danger.

Primary Concern

Fresh wind slabs will be the primary concern today as this storm is expected to move into our area with 55 to 75 mph southeast winds at ridgetop elevations.  Winds began to pick up around 4am and by 6am are gusting into the mid 50’s at 3800’.  Above about 1200’ we found generally loose, dry snow yesterday that is available for transport by the wind.  As winds blow the surface snow around, expect slabs to form on north and west aspects, particularly below ridges.  Falling snow at mid and upper elevations will further add to building wind slabs as this storm intensifies through this afternoon and evening.

Cornices will continue to build and fail throughout this storm event.  As always, limit your time spent underneath cornices and if travelling on a corniced ridge, when you think you are far enough back from the edge, it’s good practice to move back even further!

Secondary Concern

Depending on the timing of this storm, precipitation could add up to significant amounts by this afternoon/ evening where storm snow avalanches could be an issue.  Yesterday Fitz and I found a couple of concerns on the surface in the form of a sun crust on southerly aspects at and above tree line (formed Tuesday) and very sporadic and pocketed surface hoar.  Whether or not the surface hoar stays in tact, I suspect these mid-elevation southerly aspects could be some of the first avalanche producers as storm snow accumulates and forms a slab.  If the bulk of precipitation does not come until later in the day or this evening as forecasted, storm snow avalanches will prove more of a concern on Friday.

Mountain Weather

Temperatures were mild and winds were calm as high clouds dominated our region yesterday in anticipation of our first real shot of moisture in seven days.

Today looks to be a bit more exciting in the weather department as a 956mb low southwest of Kodiak begins to impact our area.  Winds have already begun their influence and will continue to blow from the southeast in the 55-75mph range today at upper elevations.  The temperature will gradually increase throughout the day with rain being the predominant precipitation type at sea level by this afternoon.  The snow line looks to be around 700ft today in the eastern Turnagain Arm area.  This storm will start off windy with the bulk of precip coming later this afternoon and overnight.

We will likely continue to feel the effects of this storm tomorrow as it makes landfall and subsequently weakens.  For the weekend, cloudy with a chance of precipitation looks to be the story as a series of weak lows progress across our region.


Fitz will issue the next advisory on Friday, March 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: Apr 28, 2017 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: OpenOpen thru May 14th.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: OpenClosed May 1.
Lost Lake Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
Primrose Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
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: OpenClosed May 1.
South Fork Snow River Corridor: OpenClosed May 1.
Summit Lake: OpenClosed May 1.

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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.

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