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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, January 13th 2012
Created: Jan 13th 7:01 am
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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The Hoarding Marmot
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, January 13th 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 MODERATE today for aging storm snow and wind slabs. We are a couple days out from the peak of the last storm, but not far enough out to really trust the snowpack quite yet. Natural avalanches are unlikely today, human triggered avalanches are still possible. Enough uncertainty in the snowpack remains today that starting out on lower consequence slopes will be prudent until we understand the new layers better.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
The big obvious avalanche signs are becoming harder to find since the hurricane on Tuesday, but the residual effects from that storm remain the primary concern today. On the drive to Girdwood, take note of the large avalanche across the road in Bird Flats. There were only a couple of large explosive triggered slides over the last few days, with the obvious one on Bird Flats from Tuesday and anCNFAIC Staff one yesterday. This is a good reminder that even a couple days out from the storm there remains the possibility of finding anomalies in the backcountry.

Digging into the snow yesterday at Turnagain Pass we found the concerns isolated to the upper 2 feet of the snowpack. It is possible to find some clean and relatively easy shears in the storm snow interface and around the rime crust from last Sunday. That rime crust and the denser storm snow is sitting on top of the older fluff from last week. This is a heavy-snow-over-weaker-snow combination that deserves some scrutiny. Snow pit analysis should emphasize these upper layers and determining if the rime crust is still a problematic layer.

Our current understanding of the new storm snow is limited, giving us fair to low confidence in the forecast today. Very few people have been in the backcountry since Monday, and clouds and snow have obscured the view of the mountains in the region. This is a great day to play low key in the mountains until we get a better idea of the conditions. The new snow is strengthening every day, so the avalanche danger is continuing to drop. Cold temperatures, light wind, and limited snowfall will keep us on the decreasing trend going into the weekend.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Yesterday we got continued snowfall with rapidly dropping temperatures. This is a great combination, creating a right-side-up finish to the recent storm events. The 6-7 inches of surface snow is dry and low density as a result. Wind yesterday was blowing in the Girdwood region and through Portage Valley, but CNFAIC Staff areas were getting only light wind.

Today will be the beginning of a significant weather pattern change. High pressure, clear skies, and cold temperatures are the trend for the weekend. A North wind up to 30mph is possible at higher elevations today. Light snow showers in the morning may give way to partly sunny skies this afternoon.


CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

I will issue the next advisory Saturday 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: Apr 28, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: ClosedSKOOKUM DRAINAGE CLOSED TO MOTORIZED USE ON APRIL 1 annually as per the Chugach National Forest Plan document.
Turnagain Pass: OpenOpen thru May 14th.
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: OpenClosed May 1.
Lost Lake Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
Primrose Trail: OpenClosed May 1.
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: OpenClosed May 1.
South Fork Snow River Corridor: OpenClosed May 1.
Summit Lake: OpenClosed May 1.

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
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