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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, March 13th 2011
Created: Mar 13th 6:44 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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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The John Byrne Family
The Bottom Line
Good morning backcountry travelers. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, March 13th 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
The avalanche danger today is LOW. Normal caution, such as watching for old wind slabs that could knock you off your feet in steep terrain or a cornice fall, is advised. In shallow snowpacks, mainly outside the Turnagain Pass area, there is still a small chance of triggering a deeper avalanche from wind loaded steep rocky areas.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
LOW danger does not equal NO danger.

The main concern for today centers around normal caution in the backcounty. This includes watching for old lingering wind slabs around steep terrain that could knock a person over rocks or down an icy slope. Additionally, cornices deserve caution and are potentially more sensitive with the past week of warm temperatures; these could break farther back than expected. It is also good to keep an eye out for wet loose snow on south slopes in the afternoon, especially at lower elevations funneling into terrain traps.

It sounds like a broken record but the unlikely trigger of a slide breaking into the deeper weak layers in wind loaded steep terrain remains worthy of mention. The poor structure of weak sugary snow under a hard slab in thin snow covers (i.e., interior Kenai) has not gone away but the slab has lost much of its potential to initiate a fracture. An unlikely avalanche but can have high consequences.

The snowpack seems to have adjusted to the warm up in temperatures over the past week and is currently laying tired and dormant waiting for the next big storm. Slopes on the southern half of the compass have become especially firm with sun and wind crusts that are softening up in a few places in the afternoon. Solid refreezing overnight and cooler temperatures during the day have limited the afternoon softening the past couple days and slide-for-life conditions exist on many slopes, including the northern half of the compass on variable bullet proof windboard.


Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
Saturday was anCNFAIC Staff spring-like day in the backcountry. Winds were light from the east with temperatures on a slight cooling trend the past few days and reached into the upper teens to low 20s on the ridges. Overnight temperatures dropped to the single digits below 300 and are around the low teens above 1000. Today expect sunny skies - again light easterly winds and temperatures in the 20s.

Good news: Weather models show a pattern shift that will eject the high pressure dominating the state later this coming week - stay tuned.


I 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 AKDT SUN MAR 13 2011
.TODAY...SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S TO MID 30S. LIGHT WINDS.
NEAR SEWARD...NORTH WIND 10 MPH IN THE MORNING BECOMING LIGHT.
.TONIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 5 BELOW TO 20 ABOVE...COOLEST
INLAND. NORTH TO WEST WIND 15 MPH.
.MONDAY...PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S TO MID 30S. LIGHT
WINDS. NEAR SEWARD...NORTH WIND 10 MPH. NEAR WHITTIER...WEST WIND 15
MPH.
.MONDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS ZERO TO 20 ABOVE...COOLEST
INLAND. LIGHT WINDS.
.TUESDAY...MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 20S TO LOWER 40S.
LIGHT WINDS.
.TUESDAY NIGHT...PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 5 TO 15.
.WEDNESDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS 25 TO 35.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 32 18 35 / 0 0 0
GIRDWOOD 29 8 26 / 0 0 0



WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800 Sunburst Wx Station-
10 degrees at 6am. Light wind from the East.
-2600 Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
12 degrees at 6am. Light wind from the SE.
-1800 Center Ridge Wx Station-
13 degrees at 6am. No new snow.


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

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.


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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