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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Tuesday, January 31st 2012
Created: Jan 30th 6:59 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 Graham Predeger with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday, January 31st 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
Backcountry travelers will find generally safe avalanche conditions within the advisory area today. There is however pockets of MODERATE danger near ridges and CNFAIC Staff wind affected areas where shallow wind slabs may lurk. CNFAIC Staffwise, the danger is LOW for the core advisory area.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
The better than average skiing and sledding conditions continued yesterday in the Turnagain Pass area thanks to the abundance of snow and cold temperatures over the last 10 days. Surface conditions are smooth and consistent from ridge top to valley bottom. Settlement cones observed yesterday below tree line are well developed and provide visual evidence of the slow deformation and densification of our upper snowpack. This is a sign that this upper layer (the latest storm) of our snowpack is gaining strength.

Our observations yesterday on Sunburst yielded no signs of the recent surface hoar from this weekend. This is good news for this specific area, but this particular observation may not be representative of the entire forecast area. With light snow falling yesterday and last night, it is possible that any lingering surface hoar was covered up intact. We'll be further investigating this today and appreciate any CNFAIC Staff observations from people out skiing or sled-necking today.

Pockets of moderate danger do still exist for soft, shallow wind slabs. The most likely spot to find these will be near or just below ridges and any cross-loaded slopes such as steep gullies or spines. One can identify these wind slabs by feel. Surface conditions will change from loose, unconsolidated snow to a stronger dense surface layer (wind slab) over a matter of feet.

Our sluffing problem is showing signs of slowing down yesterday as warmer temperatures set in. Loose snow avalanches are still a concern though and can pose a problem for those traveling through steep, extreme terrain. As always, practice safe travel protocol riding slopes one at a time, utilize escape routes/ safe zones and you're bound to have a great day in the backcountry today!


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Yesterday ushered in light snowfall and the beginning of a significant warming trend that looks to persist through the week. Today appears to be a relatively quiet day as far as weather is concerned. We can expect temperatures to be in the high teens to low 20s and wind speeds at ridge tops to max out in the 15-20 mph range. A weak surface low dominates the advisory area, keeping us under mostly cloudy skies where we may be able to eek out a trace of snow today.

Things appear to be picking up late tonight and into tomorrow with a large, intense storm developing in the central north Pacific Ocean. A Blizzard watch has been issued for Portage Valley and eastern Turnagain Arm on Wednesday. 5-10 of snow is expected along with strong easterly winds peaking tomorrow afternoon. Temperatures will continue to climb as this storm progresses and we may see above freezing temperatures at lower elevations on Thursday.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday 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 15, 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: Open
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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