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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Thursday, January 19th 2012
Created: Jan 19th 6:52 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, January 19th 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 continues to be LOW in the majority of the Turnagain Pass area. There are pockets of MODERATE danger on slopes 40 degrees and steeper for easily triggered, yet usually manageable, sluffs in the loose surface snow. These sluffs also may be possible to initiate on steep rollovers near and below treeline.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Many folks have been getting out to the far reaches of our forecast zone lately with avalanche activity seen/reported in the form of human triggered sluffs. These have been easy to initiate from your feet and are running far but, in most cases, shallow, manageable and low consequence. Hence, the snow conditions, and the riding conditions, in the Turnagain Pass zone remain quite good in all areas without past wind damage.

Todays primary concern will again be sluffing in the loose surface snow. Steep slopes, 40degrees or more, are sluffing easily from the foot. These areas include steep rollovers below treeline as well (the snow here is getting looser every day making sluffs easier to trigger). This avalanche problem is very manageable with a bit for foresight as to where the debris will run and avoiding having it catch up to you from behind.

Though the winds should remain light, less than 15mph today, keep in mind, there is quite a bit of loose snow available for transport. In any area the wind picks up enough to move the snow around watch for touchy wind slabs to start forming.

Surface conditions around treeline and below consist of loose snow that is now becoming recrystallized (faceted) during our spell of cold clear weather. Surface hoar is forming in these locations as well, on top of the faceting snow, but decreases with height. Above treeline, in the more exposed areas, there is a mix of wind effected hard snow and settled powder over a hard wind slab. Faceting in the surface snow is occurring here also but at, what seems to be, a slower rate than in the lower elevations.

Note: A quick reminder to fill in your snow pits, as these can be hidden traps for CNFAIC Staffs. A report yesterday explained that one person, with the help of his quick reaction skills, narrowly avoided an unknown fate after coming over a roll and finding an open snow pit in his path.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Continued clear and cold weather conditions have produced anCNFAIC Staff impressive inversion this morning:
Portage at 10: -28F
Girdwood Valley at 175: -15F
Center Ridge SNOTEL at 1880: 6F
Sunburst at 3812': 10F

With sunny skies, temperatures again should only rise slightly in most areas. Winds have been light from the southeast and will be light again today, averaging around 5-10mph with gusts around 10-15mph on the ridge tops. The strong area of high pressure over Alaska currently is looking like it will shift to the west allowing for a low pressure system to move into the Gulf and give us a bit of a change in the weather for the weekend.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Note for those needing to gas up in Girdwood:
The Tesoro gas station at the intersection of the Seward Highway and Alyeska Highway is replacing their gas pumps. Gas/fuel may not be available today.


Kevin will issue the next advisory Friday 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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