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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, December 3rd 2011
Created: Dec 3rd 6:59 am
3 Considerable Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
3 Considerable Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
3 Considerable Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious routefinding and conservative decision-making essential.
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The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, December 3rd 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
Todays avalanche danger rating is rising towards CONSIDERABLE with a storm expected to ramp up early this afternoon. This storm brings all the ingredients needed to increase the avalanche danger snow, rain, wind, and rising temperatures. Conditions may start out calm this morning, but expect the weather to get worse through the day.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Primary concern today is storm snow avalanches caused by intense precipitation this afternoon. The National Weather Service is confident that a strong storm will enter the region today, bringing rain, snow, and wind. This will add additional weight to the snowpack. Additional weight adds stress, and stress on the snowpack is ultimately what causes avalanches. Wind is already becoming an issue at ridgetops in Turnagain Pass and snowfall has started in Girdwood early this morning.

We expect natural avalanches to be possible, and human triggered avalanches to be likely this afternoon. Traveling in avalanche terrain today will require expert level skills to stay in safe areas.

Yesterday we got this report of naturally occurring avalanches in the Girdwood valley. This is a huge red flag! The snowfall yesterday came in stronger than expected and produced these avalanches and considerable avalanche danger in the backcountry. Any additional precipitation will increase the hazard further.

Our underlying snowpack is a secondary concern to the storm today. If you are interested, check out our most recent pit data here. We are seeing a couple of layers of concern with weak faceted snow formed during the cold snap as a potential problem. Given enough additional storm loading, it may be possible for avalanches to step down into these deeper layers. The storm snow by itself is the primary concern today, but given enough additional stress these deeper layers could turn the avalanche cycle into a much more dangerous issue. Stay tuned and keep a close eye on the snow if you get in the backcountry today.

ANNOUNCEMENT
The Seward District has opened all motorized areas. Check the riding areas at the bottom of this page for the latest updates. Placer river and Twentymile remain closed until we get more snow cover.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
A tropical moisture feed extending from Hawaii will bring abundant moisture to the area through Sunday. Rain at lower elevations and heavy snow in the mountains is predicted today. The elevation of the rain/snow line could be up to 2000 feet. Snowfall amounts today and tonight is expected to be 1-2 feet. Wind will be strong through the region with a Southeast flow up to 55mph in the afternoon. Hold onto your hat!

Wendy will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

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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