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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, January 22nd 2011
Created: Jan 22nd 6:56 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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The Bottom Line
Good morning backcountry travelers this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, January 22nd at 7am. This will serve as 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).

BOTTOM LINE
We seem to be stuck in the MODERATE hazard range. Natural avalanches are unlikely (we have had at least one report of a natural in the last few days) and human triggered avalanches are possible in specific areas. Recent small wind slabs have proven to be sensitive to human (and dog) triggers.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
We have two specific concerns right now: the old snow and the new snow. The old snow continues to be suspect, but the recent evidence is mostly circumstantial. In column tests we find hard failures on buried surface hoar, and facets above and below the Thanksgiving rain crust. The most recent confirmed avalanche on these old layers was almost 2 weeks ago. As the most recent storm fades from memory the reactivity of those layers also becomes less likely, but not impossible. Im not ready to start trusting those layers in consequential terrain yet. For me to be satisfied its going to take a big storm and a significant avalanche cycle followed by demonstrable stability.

Were starting to focus on the effects of our new snow from the last few days, but the total amount is still almost insignificant. Weve had one report of highly reactive small wind slabs in Winner creek. The slabs were 1 foot deep or less but had wide propagation. It didnt sound like dangerous conditions because the slabs were small and manageable. As soon as we get enough snow to increase the size of those slabs the danger rating will increase.

Weve had up to 5 inches of snow the last few days. In some areas that light snow is being blown into drifts up to 1 foot deep. The Weather Service continues to forecast small amounts of snow for our region but the total so far has been on the low end of their estimates. Today anCNFAIC Staff 0-5 inches is predicted for Eastern Turnagain Arm.

Avalanche forecasters in the region continue to be on heightened alert as we wait for new snow. The recent cold and clear weather has built numerous weak layers that will be unable to support a large amount of new snow. The recent surface hoar formation (see photo) is likely to be a very poor bonding surface and weak layer when it gets a slab on top of it. I suspect that deeper weak layers will play a role in the next avalanche cycle as well.

490-DSC_7683.jpg


IF we get significant snow this weekend the hazard will correspondingly INCREASE.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
AnCNFAIC Staff small amount of snow fell last night. The total snowfall in the last few days is 2-5 inches. Temperatures have moderated into the mid to high 20s. Wind has been gusting into the 20s from variable directions. Snow showers are forecasted but it doesnt look like significant amounts will accumulate today.

Lisa will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry give us a call at 754-2369 or send us your observations using the button at the top of this page. Thanks and have a great day.

The NWS weather forecast for:
WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
INCLUDING...WHITTIER...SEWARD...GIRDWOOD...MOOSE PASS
500 AM AKST SAT JAN 22 2011

...STRONG WIND SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND
ALONG TURNAGAIN ARM...

.TODAY...SNOW IN THE MORNING...THEN PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE
OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH.
HIGHS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH
EXCEPT WEST 15 TO 25 MPH NEAR WHITTIER. NEAR SEWARD...NORTH WINDS 15
TO 25 MPH.
.TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE
EVENING...THEN MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AFTER MIDNIGHT.
LOWS IN THE LOWER TO MID 20S. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 15
MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SUNDAY...A CHANCE OF SNOW IN THE MORNING...THEN SNOW AND RAIN LIKELY
IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 4 INCHES. AREAS OF BLOWING
SNOW WITH VISIBILITIES REDUCED TO ONE HALF MILE AT TIMES...MAINLY
PORTAGE VALLEY TO ALONG EASTERN TURNAGAIN ARM. HIGHS IN THE 30S.
NORTH TO EAST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND
TURNAGAIN ARM...EAST WIND 30 TO 45 MPH.
.SUNDAY NIGHT...SNOW AND RAIN LIKELY. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. LOWS IN
THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. SOUTHEAST WIND 30 TO 45 MPH DECREASING TO
15 TO 30 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN
ARM...EAST WIND 35 TO 45 MPH.
.MONDAY...RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY IN THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN
AND SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S. SOUTHEAST
WIND 10 TO 25 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM...EAST
WIND 25 TO 40 MPH DECREASING TO 15 TO 25 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
.MONDAY NIGHT...CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW. LOWS IN THE
20S.
.TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY...SNOW LIKELY. HIGHS 25 TO 35. LOWS IN THE
20S.
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF
SNOW. LOWS 15 TO 25. HIGHS IN THE 20S.


TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 29 21 37 / 80 40 90
GIRDWOOD 26 18 33 / 80 40 60


WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800 Sunburst Wx Station-
Temperature 21 degrees. Light wind trending from the east.
-2600 Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
Current temperature 25. Light to moderate wind from the SE.
-1800 Center Ridge Wx Station-
Temperature 27 degrees. One inch new snow recorded.




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: May 16, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedThanks all for a safe and fun season on the Chugach NF! Stay tuned for the 2017/18 season. #playsafe #snowtosealevel
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail will be open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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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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