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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Wendy Wagner  
Thursday, February 2nd 2012
Created: Feb 2nd 6:59 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 Thursday, February 2nd 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
Alaska DOT crews will be conducting avalanche hazard reduction along the Seward Highway today. Expect intermittent road closures between 10am and 3pm. Visit http: http://511.alaska.gov/ for updated information.


BOTTOM LINE
Pockets of HIGH avalanche danger remain in areas where strong winds and continued snowfall and/or rain persist in the wake of yesterday's intense storm. In most areas this morning, winds and snowfall rates are tapering off and the danger is CONSIDERABLE. Though the storm, and avalanche danger, is decreasing, dangerous avalanche conditions still exist. Human triggered avalanches are likely on ALL SLOPES at ALL ELEVATIONS today and expert level route finding skills are required for safe backcountry travel.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Heavy snowfall, rain and hurricane force winds pounded our region yesterday. The avalanche danger was updated to HIGH as the storm intensified mid-day. Natural avalanches occurred and, though driving conditions and visibility were very poor, debris piles were seen at the bottom of some avalanche paths. One of three paths at mile 106 on the Seward Highway slide and deposited snow on the road.

Storm snow instabilities are the primary concern today with continued moderate snowfall and strong ridgetop winds. These will be in the form of: Wind slabs, soft slabs and loose snow avalanches. Soft slabs were exceedingly touchy yesterday on slopes over 35 degrees in the relatively 'safe' treed locations. We were able to trigger these 10-16" slabs at will on steep rollovers. This is indicative of how the snow is reacting and bonding to the old surface. Though this weakness has likely settled out to some degree today, new snow and continued wind will keep the hazard up.

Lower elevation slopes (below 1000'):
Wet avalanches are also a concern where rain has fallen on snow. Very heavy and wet snow exists at these elevations and, until cooler temperatures lock it in place, wet avalanches will be possible.

Safer places to recreate are in the flats, or on slopes less than 35 degrees, that are NOT below or connected to steeper slopes and avalanche paths.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Heavy snow and rain fell in force yesterday. Some areas saw over 3" of snow per hour at times.
Totals from the mid elevations:
Turnagain Pass: 24-30" snow, ~2" water
Girdwood Valley: 28-36" snow, 2.5-3" water
Summit Late: 14" snow, ~1" water

Winds were off the charts as well. Not only did Sunburst's wind sensor make it through 5 hours of over 100mph gusts intact, it recorded its new record gust - 126mph. Winds were southeast, sustained between 50-85mph. Needless to say, it was bona fide storm day.

Today, remnants of the storm still hang over us and we can expect moderate snowfall (around 6-10" accumulating today) and moderate to strong ridgetop wind (southeast 30mph with 55mph gusts). The snow/rain line is currently right around sea level where temperatures are in the mid 30's. Temperatures will be in the upper to mid 20's F above 1000' and should cool off tonight and into tomorrow.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

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: May 16, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedThanks all for a safe and fun season on the Chugach NF! Stay tuned for the 2017/18 season. #playsafe #snowtosealevel
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail will be open to snowmachine use during the 2017/18 winter season.
Snug Harbor: Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Closed
Summit Lake: Closed

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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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