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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, February 3rd 2012
Created: Feb 3rd 6:58 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 Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, February 3rd at 10am. 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
Seward Highway DOT will be doing more avalanche reduction work today. Expect intermittent road closures between Summit lake and Seward. Check the 511 hotline or http://511.alaska.gov/ for the latest information. As of yesterday evening there were no parking areas plowed in Turnagain Pass. Be patient with the plowing efforts and do not block the road crews.

BOTTOM LINE
Avalanche danger is at CONSIDERABLE this morning for much of the region. The current storm system is producing heavy snowfall in Girdwood and Turnagain Arm. Pockets of HIGH danger are building again. Human triggered avalanches are likely on steep and/or wind loaded slopes. Natural avalanches are possible. Expert level avalanche avoidance skills are important for anyone traveling in the backcountry today. Many areas of the backcountry should be avoided completely today.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
A late morning update in the weather forecast has greater snowfall amounts accumulating in the region. All this snow is adding significant weight to an already overloaded pack. Conditions are changing fast, and avalanche danger is back on an increasing trend.

The majority of the snowfall from this storm is still recent enough to justify a Considerable danger rating. The peak storm intensity, with wind up to 120+ at ridgetops and most of the 2+ feet of snowfall occurred on Wednesday. Yesterday added anCNFAIC Staff 4-8 inches in some areas, and a foot or more could fall today. This is a lot of extra weight on the snowpack in a short period of time. Steep slopes are ripe for a human trigger today, and natural avalanches are still possible.

Avalanche workers were finding a reactive snowpack at mid and high elevations yesterday. We found easy to moderate and clean shears within the storm snow in several different layers. One large natural avalanche crossed the Seward Highway at mile 37 yesterday morning, shutting down the road just North of the Sterling Y.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
It is currently snowing hard in Girdwood and Turnagain Arm. Wind remains light at the ridgetops, but snow accumulation at all elevations is quickly becoming significant.

The last 2 days has brought an intense storm to the region. On Wednesday 2-3 feet of snow fell above 1000 feet in Girdwood, Turnagain Pass, and parts of the Kenai. Summit Lake got 14 inches of slightly drier snow. Thursday had intermittent snowfall with anCNFAIC Staff 4-8 inches in some areas. This storm came in a little warmer, so sea level elevations got rain that transitioned to snow a few hundred feet up.

The majority of the major storm has passed our region, but anCNFAIC Staff wave is entering Prince William Sound this morning. 8-14 inches of additional snow is possible today, with moderate wind and slightly lower temperatures in the mid 20s.

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: Nov 18, 2017 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Closed
Placer River: Closed
Skookum Drainage: Closed
Turnagain Pass: ClosedOnly a few inches of snow sits at the motorized lot, not enough to open for snowmachining at this time. Updated Nov. 18, 2017
Twentymile: Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake: Closed
Lost Lake Trail: Closed
Primrose Trail: Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedResurrection Pass trail is expected to 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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