CNFAIC LogoCNFAIC Logo

Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, December 4th 2011
Created: Dec 4th 6:57 am
4 High Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
4 High Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
The Hoarding Marmot
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, December 4th 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 is HIGH for the Turnagain Pass, Summit Lake and Girdwood Valley today. Strong winds, new snow and rain, have dramatically increased the potential for naturally occurring avalanches. Below treeline, wet snow avalanches will be likely due to rain on snow. Above treeline, wind slab and soft slab avalanches will be likely due to the recent, and ongoing, new snow and strong wind. Travel in avalanche terrain, including runout zones, is not recommended today.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Yesterday, we had a couple reports of small wind slab and soft slab avalanches in the Turnagain Pass area. More details are on our photos/observations page.

The cold and dry snow we have been enjoying for the past several weeks is currently being washed away by a warm storm that hit our region yesterday. Overnight, rain on snow impacted areas below 2000' while around a foot of snow has accumulated above. Winds have been adding to the mess and are gusting to 60mph. Today may be a good day to get a start on Christmas shopping as this weather continues.

Areas below 2000'
Rain on snow overnight, which is forecast to continue throughout the day, has saturated the snowpack in the mid to lower elevations. This is the first time the 3-4 foot pack has seen rain and above freezing temperatures. This is a good set up for wet snow avalanches. These are likely to release naturally (on their own) today. Steering clear of all steep slopes, and their runout zones, is advised.

Areas above 2000'
Storm snow and wind slab natural avalanches are likely. All locations above 2500' have received, what looks like, around a foot (or more) of snow overnight with anCNFAIC Staff 8-12" forecast for today. The winds are STRONG, gusting to 60mph on the ridges, and loading slopes quickly.

With the variety of avalanche problems today, all of these have the potential to break out wider and deeper due to weak faceted snow that is sitting in the middle of the pack. Though this weak layer has been stubborn in our pit tests, it has not been tested yet by new snow/rain and deserves respect.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Only a few inches of snow fell yesterday before the brunt of the storm finally moved in later in the afternoon. Overnight, 5" of wet snow fell at the Tunagain Pass SNOTEL site with 0.9" of water weight. Girdwood valley has seen slightly more. These numbers are for ~1900' where the snow switched to rain early this morning. Currently, the rain snow line is hovering just under 2000', but expect it to increase to just above 2000' today. Temperatures are 35F at 1900' and 28F at 3200'. Winds are gusting to 60+mph on the ridges. More rain, snow and wind are on tap today. AnCNFAIC Staff 8-10", and possibly more in favored areas, is expected at the higher elevations. Temperatures will remain warm, above freezing at 2500', and winds are forecast to remain strong as well, gusting in the 60mph range.

ANNOUNCEMENT
For those doing some Christmas shopping: A great way to help support the avalanche center is by purchasing items through the links on the right side of our website (Patagonia, REI, etc). We get a percentage so check it out!

I 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: Mar 25, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: OpenPlease park on road in and leave the turnaround (near outhouse) open for trailers to turn around.
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: OpenSkookum drainage closes to motorized use on April 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: Open
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease STAY ON existing and hardened trail surface through the lower sections of this route.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for 2016/17 winter season. This is a non-motorized season. This alternates every other year and will open again during the 2017/18 winter.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

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
© 2017 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
FCNFAIC