Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Friday, December 13th 2013 7:00 am by John Fitzgerald
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is LOW this morning and will increase to MODERATE above treeline late in the day today.  Snowfall beginning midday, combined with winds will form slabs that will be very sensitive to human triggers.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
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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Avalanche Problem 1

For the majority of the day the main hazard will continue to be associated with early season conditions; breakable crust and rocks lurking just below a thin layer of new snow.  These are legitimate hazards and require extra time moving through terrain.

A small amount of new snow (~2” on Turnagain Pass and ~4” in Girdwood Valley) coupled with moderate winds out of the East, have created very shallow slabs in upper elevation starting zones.  Slabs are low volume this morning.

As the day progresses, new snow will begin to form slabs that will be very sensitive to human triggers.  The old snow surface consists of pockets of surface hoar sitting on a thin crust.  In areas sheltered from the wind new snow will sluff easily and should run long distances.  Again, these concerns will become more pronounced later in the day.  Should you find yourself out in the mountains as daylight wanes it will be worth avoiding higher elevation starting zones and steep terrain harboring newly formed slabs.

Mountain Weather

The dry spell is over.  The mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up between 1-4” of new snow with .1-.2” of water in the past 24 hours (slightly greater amounts in the Girdwood Valley).  Ridge top winds have shifted overnight and are now blowing out of the East at an average of 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph.  Temperatures have been in the single digits and are starting to creep up into the low teens.

A large low pressure system that is currently to our South is moving north into Prince William Sound.  As this system gains strength and moisture it will begin to scatter snow showers over the forecast area around midday.  Look for snowfall to pick up in intensity by late afternoon with the potential for an additional 8" new snow by this evening.  Winds will be out of the East at 15-20 mph and temperatures at 1,000’ will warm up into the twenties F.

This system will bring continued snow as well as fluctuating temperatures over the weekend.  Look for the avalanche hazard to increase as new snow, wind and warming temps form new slabs on top of a weak snowpack.

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: Oct 05, 2019 )

Glacier District
Johnson Pass: ClosedClosed
Placer River: ClosedClosed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedClosed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedClosed
Twentymile: ClosedClosed
Seward District
Carter Lake: ClosedClosed
Lost Lake Trail: ClosedClosed
Primrose Trail: ClosedClosed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor: ClosedClosed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: ClosedClosed
Summit Lake: ClosedClosed

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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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