Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Thursday, January 16th 2014 7:00 am by Kevin Wright
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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The Bottom Line

Stormy weather continues to add stress to the snowpack.  5-10 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours with continued snowfall and wind will be keeping us at CONSIDERABLE danger today above treeline.  Fresh storm snow and wind slab will be unstable in steep terrain and there remains potential for deeper slabs to break 3+ feet deep on older weak layers.

Below treeline a MODERATE danger can be found where there is little to no wind effect, but storm snow is building.  

The strongest pulse yet from this storm cycle is expected tomorrow (Friday).  Check the forecast tomorrow for more updates on the weather.

 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
3 Considerable Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
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.
Special Announcement

The Friends of the CNFAIC is sponsoring a scholarship opportunity in memory of DOT avalanche forecaster Rob Hammel.  Go to this link for information on how to apply.  Deadline is January 31st.

Avalanche Problem 1

Our primary concern remains in the higher elevation zones, but poor visibility makes travel in those areas difficult.  Stormy weather has been ongoing for several days now, and is expected to continue for several more.  Storm snow and wind combined with warm temperatures are increasing the avalanche potential across the region.

Yesterday we were somewhat surprised to find softer conditions below treeline where wind has not been affecting the surface.  Above treeline is getting raked clean by the wind, resulting in challenging snow conditions.  Fresh snow is filling in slowly from the last few days.  

With 5-10 inches of snow in the last 24 hours, we expect an elevated and steady danger rating to continue today.  Wind slabs should be expected above treeline.  The East wind through the pass will be loading West facing slopes and cross loading North and South terrain features.  


Avalanche Problem 2

We continue to find unstable test results in the old November and early December snow.  These layers are no longer easy to trigger, but given the right set of circumstances it could result in large avalanches.  

Check our observations page for an extensive list of photos and tests on these weak layers.

Don't expect to experience collapsing or see shooting cracks on the deep layers any more.  These problems are more likely to be quiet and unobtrusive until they awaken in a big way.  With both storm layer avalanche problems and persistent slab problems, steep terrain should be avoided until the current storm cycle passes and the snowpack has at least a day to adjust.  

Mountain Weather

The last 24 hours have brought light to moderate snowfall.  Weather stations have recorded 0.5 inches (Turnagain Pass) to 1.1 (Alyeska) inches of water equivalent.  That adds up to 5-10 inches of snowfall.  Wind has also been strong, sweeping ridgelines clean of new snow.  Sunburst station had most of the recent wind from the East.  Temperatures are staying in the low 30s, with a rain line creeping up to about 1000 feet.

Today looks like more of the same weather.  We can expect light to moderate snowfall to continue.  Accumulations may be up to 6 inches.  Temperatures will hold steady.

The big pulse of moisture in the forecast is expected to happen Friday.  Precipitation and wind are both forecasted to increase substantially, starting Friday morning.  



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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