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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Tuesday, April 9th 2013
Created: Apr 9th 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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
The Bottom Line

There is a MODERATE avalanche danger as 6-8+" of new snow covers the mountains. Snowfall rates increased for a brief period last night and there may be areas that picked up a bit more. Areas with less than 6" of new snow will have a LOW avalanche danger. Expect loose snow avalanches to be easy to trigger on steeper slopes with the potential to run far. Additionally, soft and sensitive wind slabs may be encountered on any slope with wind deposited snow. These will be in the foot deep category and most likely found above treeline on a variety of aspects.


Primary Concern

I suppose if it's not going to be full on spring, it might as well be full on winter. Yesterday's snow (and possibly another inch or two today) should help refresh and fill in many of the old tracks. Some of us were hoping for a bit more in this neck of the woods but we'll take it nonetheless.

Today, loose snow avalanches should be easy to initiate. These sluffs will likely run far and fast as they will be sliding on hard surfaces underneath - predominantly on south, west and east aspects. On steeper more sustained slopes they could entrain significant amounts of snow so plan accordingly.


Secondary Concern

Though winds have been light, so is the snow. It will not take much to move the new snow and deposit it into soft slabs. These should be fairly touchy if you find one and around a foot deep. They are likely confined to the upper elevations and on most aspects due to the changing wind directions. Watching for cracking in the snow around you and feeling for stiffer snow over softer snow will be good clues to suss out any wind slabs.

 


 

Additional concerns:

Sun:  Keep a close eye out for when the sun makes its first appearance. Solar heating will quickly destabilize the new snow and sun induced point releases and shallow slab avalanches could be fairly widespread. This may not occur for a couple days but it looks like there is a small chance skies could break this afternoon.


Mountain Weather

The big snow event that is hitting Anchorage and Hatcher Pass is leaving the Eastern Turnagain Arm a bit high and dry. Snowfall has tapered off this morning but, we have squeaked out several inches of very low density snow - and may pick up another inch or two today. Storm totals at the precip stations around the Arm since 6AM yesterday are:
Turnagain Pass SNOTEL (1900'):    4" snow - .3" water eq.
Alyeska Mid Mt (1700'):                 7" snow -  .45 water eq.
Summit Lake SNOTEL (1400'):       2" snow -  .1 water eq.

The two SNOTEL sites typically under-represent snowfall when it's this light. So, we are likely looking closer to 6-8" on Turnagain Pass and 3-4" in the Summit area.

Winds associated with the snowfall began light out the east and have shifted around to the NW overnight where they are averaging 5mph with gusts to 10mph. The NW flow is bringing is very cold air and temperatures are currently in the single digits on the ridgelines and the low teens at 1,000'.

Today we can expect lingering snow showers to add another inch or two. Temperatures will be in the 10-15F range above treeline and 15-20F below treeline. Winds look to be light out of the NW (5mph gusting 10mph).

The cold air and scattered snow showers look to remain in place through Thursday.

 


Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, April 10th.

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 15, 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: Open
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

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.


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