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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, December 18th 2011
Created: Dec 18th 6:53 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.
 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Wendy Wangner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, December 18th 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 CONSIDERABLE for storm snow and wind slab avalanches on all slopes steep enough to slide. Strong winds and heavy snowfall is expected today. This means natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely on slopes steeper than 30 degrees. There are pockets of HIGH danger for any area receiving more than 18" of new snow with high winds over the course of the day.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Yesterday, soft wind drifts, slabs and cornices were beginning to develop as easterly winds picked up ahead to todays storm. These wind deposited areas were just becoming sensitive in the afternoon and have only increased in size and sensitivity with the overnight winds and new snow.

Rapidly changing weather will dictate the avalanche conditions today. Developing strong to hurricane force winds will increase along with heavy snowfall this morning and into early afternoon. High precipitation rates, 2-3" per hour, are likely, especially during the late morning. Around 10-12" of new snow has already fallen in the Girdwood Valley with 8" at Turnagain Pass at the mid-elevations. This storm is similar to last Sunday's event, however, less overall snowfall is forecast.

Today's primary concerns are storm snow and wind slab avalanches. These are possible to release naturally and likely to be triggered by a human. If the weather forecast intensifies, natural avalanches will be likely and human triggered avalanches very likely. Travel in, and under, avalanche terrain is not advised today. Expert level terrain management skills are necessary for anyone deciding to brave the gale force winds and driving conditions to head into the backcountry.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Today, yet anCNFAIC Staff strong Sunday storm is bearing down on us, or as the NWS put it in yesterday's discussion: "STAY TUNED FOR ANCNFAIC Staff SUNDAY FULL OF WILD WEATHER". Overnight, around 8" of snow has fallen in the Turnagain Pass area and around 10-12" in the mid-elevations of the Girdwood Valley.

The strong easterly winds that have developed early this morning are forecast to increase to near 80mph through Turnagain Arm and on the ridge tops. In fact, the Sunburst weather station just reported a 98mph gust. The Weather Service has issued a HIGH wind warning for the Eastern Turnagain Arm. Snowfall is expected to be heavy at times, dropping anCNFAIC Staff 10-18" today, and possibly more, in favored locations. Girdwood Valley looks to be the most favored area for high precipitation rates at this point. The rain/snow line looks to be hovering around 500'. Temperatures will remain mild, in the mid 30's F at sea level to the mid 20's at 3000' with overcast and obscured skies. The storm is expected to move out later this afternoon.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

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: 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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