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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Jon Gellings  
Tuesday, March 15th 2011
Created: Mar 15th 6:56 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 Bottom Line
Good morning backcountry travelers. This is Jon Gellings with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday, March 15th 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
There is a LOW danger today. Common hazards that never go away during the winter, such as cornice breaks or fracturing an old wind slab in steep and rocky terrain, still remain in extreme terrain. Regions with a thin snowpack still have an isolated chance of triggering a deeper avalanche on steep, wind loaded slopes.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Chugach Electric Association, Inc. will be conducting patrol and maintenance of the electrical lines between Summit Lake and Turnagain Pass until April 15th. They will be operating snowmachines near the power lines between Center Ridge and Johnson Pass North T.H. under a special use permit.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
We are forecasted to receive precipitation today. The intensity of this event is debatable, but we will let you know how much of what falls where when we know. The million dollar question right now relates to how any new snow will bond to the widespread boilerplate. The first few hours of any storm will be crucial for answering this question.

Today, normal caution is advised. There is still the potential to trigger an avalanche, but it is unlikely and is confined to extreme terrain. Older wind slabs from our previous wind storm could break near steep rocky terrain, as well as in cross loaded gullies with high slope angles. Cornices could also fail due to increased temperatures, so walking along sharp ridgelines could have an increased hazard as well.

Last nights temperatures were elevated from recent night temperatures, indicating that solar affected aspects may not have gone through as deep of an overnight freeze cycle as they recently have been. If the sun has a chance to warm these southerly slopes again today, it has an increased possibility to produce wet snow that can be pushed down a slope.

Yesterday we found that low elevation sheltered areas not previously affected by winds are harboring unburied persistent weak layers, such as surface hoar and near surface facets. Luckily though, most of our starting zones have been wind hammered, so these future weak layers are not as concerning as they could be.

There remains an isolated chance of triggering a larger avalanche into older weak snow in regions with less snow than Turnagain Pass. Places with this concern generally have less than a 5-6 foot deep snowpack.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
Snow is in the forecast, but it is unlikely to be significant enough to increase the avalanche danger today. Models show that Seward is going to receive more precipitation than Turnagain Pass. Winds look to remain pretty minimal today again, so they will probably not be able to move any old snow. Temperatures are currently warmer, but they will likely only be stressing the southern slopes.

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 TUE MAR 15 2011
.TODAY...CLOUDY. SNOW DEVELOPING IN THE MORNING. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP
TO 2 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT
NORTH 15 TO 25 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS IN THE LOWER
TEENS TO LOWER 30S...COOLEST INLAND. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT WEST
15 MPH NEAR WHITTIER.
.WEDNESDAY...CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN
THE 30S. LIGHT WINDS.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 35 28 38 / 80 40 40
GIRDWOOD 28 20 33 / 80 40 40

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800 Sunburst Wx Station-
22 degrees at 5am. Light wind from the NE.
-2600 Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
24 degrees at 6am. Calm to light wind from the NE.
-1800 Center Ridge Wx Station-
20 degrees at 5am. 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: Dec 08, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedRain and snow have fallen in Turnagain Pass this week, but not enough to open for snowmachining. Continue to check back to this site for updates.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to 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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