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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, January 8th 2012
Created: Jan 8th 7:00 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 Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, January 8th 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).

ANNOUNCEMENT
20 Mile drainage is open to motorized use! Park at the Portage rail depot and cross the RR tracks at the designated spot ONLY. Please follow bamboo poles from the parking area.

BOTTOM LINE
We have a CONSIDERABLE danger today for wind slab avalanches in areas above treeline that are expected to receive moderate, and possibly strong, winds. Slopes with recent wind deposited snow are likely to be sensitive to the weight of a person and human triggered avalanches are likely. Storm snow sluffing and soft slabs avalanches will be likely in steep terrain as well. There is a generally MODERATE danger for storm snow sluffing and small soft slabs near and below treeline in wind sheltered areas.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
AnCNFAIC Staff storm day in the Chugach and Kenai yesterday has put down around 8-10" of very light fluffy snow in most areas and added to our great start to the year. Low visibility kept people and observations near and below treeline however.

The primary concern is for wind slab avalanches that are contingent upon the increase in northwest winds today. There is ample low density snow available for the winds to transport and form soft sensitive slabs. Secondary concerns are storm snow sluffing and soft slabs formed within the new snow. If the skies break up enough for travel above treeline, careful evaluation of the surface conditions are prudent.

There is roughly 12-18", possibly more, of storm snow from Thursday (1/5) that is sitting on recycled powder from the late December and early January cold spell. The new snow has shown signs of good bonding to this older snow surface but observations are limited to near and below treeline and how the snow is reacting above treeline should still be suspect. Expect any avalanche that gets moving to be fast and far running, as this is common with light snow.

A reminder that there are more weak layers present in the Summit Lake area. The most recent one is made up of near surface facets that formed during the cold spell. This layer sits right under the new snow and associated wind slabs from Thursday and has shown signs of being quite reactive.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Snow fell fairly steadily yesterday and has tapered off overnight. Most locations picked up around 8-10" of very low density fluff in the past 24 hours. Temperatures remained warm at the upper elevations, ~20F, and have begun to drop this morning while mid and lower elevations hovered near 10F. Winds picked up yesterday from the east and blew around 15mph with gusts in the mid 20's and have decreased overnight.

Today, intermittent snow showers could add an inch to some locations but should continue to taper off while skies may break up enough to allow for better visibility. Winds have shifted to the northwest and unfortunately are forecast to increase to the 40mph range, possibly stronger. These winds are ushering in cold air so expect temperatures to drop back into the single digit realm.


CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

I will issue the next advisory Monday 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 28, 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: OpenPlacer remains open but SKOOKUM DRAINAGE will close to motorized use on April 1st.
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

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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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