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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Sunday, January 15th 2012
Created: Jan 15th 6:51 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 Libby Group
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, January 15th 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
Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE for both human triggered sluffs in the loose surface snow and lingering wind slab avalanches. The winds that produced a natural avalanche cycle around 36 hours ago in the areas just south of Turnagain Pass have a heightened danger and it is possible that a person may find one of these wind slabs in our core area today.


AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Yesterday, Seward Highway DOT crews shot down a few class 2-3 size avalanches in the Summit Lake area (milepost 43) while conducting avalanche hazard reduction work. We also received several reports from the backcountry. Folks in the Turnagain Pass area reported easily triggered sluffing in the surface snow while a few reports from the periphery were more concerning.

Today, most people in the Turnagain pass area will likely see sluffing in the loose snow that has not been wind affected. These sluffs are often quite manageable but can quickly entrain more snow than expected. Also, the loose snow is sitting on a hard winded surface in many places and has been reported to be significant and running easily with this hard surface underneath.

Lingering wind slabs will also be something to watch for today. Especially for folks heading for longer outings outside the central Turnagain Pass area. Keep a close eye out for cracking in the snow around you as this is a bulls eye clue the slope could slide.

Locations just south of Turnagain Pass, including the summit lake area, have a heightened avalanche danger. The snowpack in these areas is more variable and, as described by a local avalanche educator yesterday, collapsing in the lower elevations along with natural avalanches around 2 days old, is something we have not seen just a few miles down the road in our core forecast zone.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
The cold air flowing down from the arctic has settled in and is here to stay for the next several days. Under mostly clear skies overnight, temperatures have dropped into the negative single digits at sea level and around 1000'. The good news is above 3000' temperatures have risen to around 10 degrees above zero. Winds overnight have been light from the northwest with gusts in the teens. (Our Friends of the CNFAIC computer/weather instrumentation guru, Crane Johnson, installed a new anemometer yesterday on the Sunburst weather station - so it is back up and running!)

Today, skies will be mostly clear with a chance for a few high clouds streaming overhead and temperatures look to warm up slightly, into the positive realm around 1000'. No snow is on the horizon and winds will be from the northwest blowing between 5-15mph with gusts into the 20's.


CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast


We would like send a HUGE Thank you to everyone who has submitted observations this weekend. They have been vital. Keep 'em coming!!


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: 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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