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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Monday, January 13th 2014
Created: Jan 13th 6:18 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

Come join CNFAIC forecasters for Observer Training day on Saturday January 18 on Turnagain Pass.  This FREE event is for snowmachiners.  Click HERE for more info and to sign up.


The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is MODERATE above and below treeline today.  It will be possible for humans to trigger dense slabs 1-3’ in depth, especially in upper elevation starting zones, steep rollovers and areas of shallow snow.  

The likelihood of triggering avalanches continues to slowly go down with each passing day.  The consequences remain high for people caught in avalanches.  Slabs have the potential to take out entire slopes, making injury and/or burial a real possibility.


Primary Concern

The bottom of the snowpack around the region is comprised of weak snow.  Over the past month snow has built up on top of that weak base.  Most of that accumulation has been gradual with the exception of two storms between New Years and Jan 5th.  Avalanche activity spiked during and after these two loading events.  

We have also seen human triggered activity happening days after precipitation events.  This fact speaks to the persistent nature of our problem.  The weak snow that is present in the snowpack makes it possible for avalanches to occur well beyond storm events.  It has now been 8 days since the snowpack has received a shock to its system.  

We have not crossed some magical threshold of avalanche hazard from CONSIDERABLE to MODERATE.  Rather, there has been enough time since our last loading event that the likelihood of triggering an avalanche has decreased to the point where it is possible to travel on slopes without incident.  However, if one were to trigger an avalanche today, the end result would be bad news.  Slab depth ranging between 1-3 feet combined with the potential for slabs to propagate across slopes warrant conservative terrain choices.

Avoiding terrain over 35 degrees, convexities, and areas where the snow becomes shallow is your best bet for eliminating the possibility of triggering an avalanche today.


Mountain Weather

In the past 24 hours the mountains around Eastern Turnagain Arm have picked up 2” of new snow with .1” of water.  Winds at the Sunburst weather station have picked up overnight out of the West averaging 13 mph with gusts to 33 mph.  Ridge top temperatures have averaged 16 degrees F.

Today should bring continued light moisture of up to 2” of snow by evening.  Winds will be out of the South at 10-15 mph.  Temperatures at 1,000’ will reach the low to mid 20s F.

Tonight should bring a better dose of new snow with 10” possible in the higher elevations.

The weather pattern will remain active in the region over the next several days, with temperatures climbing and more precipitation on the horizon through mid week.

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

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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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