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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Friday, February 10th 2012
Created: Feb 10th 7:01 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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Alaska Rock Gym
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, February 10th 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 danger rating has likely reached CONSIDERABLE above treeline this morning. Only a small amount of snow is forecasted today, but above freezing temperatures and high wind will all contribute to building wind slabs and storm snow problems up high. Below treeline, expect a Moderate danger until the snow or rain builds to significant levels.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
We got a sunny break in the weather yesterday that allowed us to see what happened from the latest storm. Wednesday night brought up to 2 inches of snow-water and 1-2 feet of snow with wind and warm temperatures. Rain made it above 2000 feet for a short time period. There were a number of medium to large natural avalanches that happened during the storm. Yesterday cleared in the morning and cooling temperatures quickly stabilized the snowpack. There may have been some buried surface hoar contributing to those avalanches, but we believe much of that concern was destroyed by rain down low and wind up high. As far we can tell, the avalanches from the storm were breaking on new snow only and not stepping into older and deeper layers.

Today, warm temperatures and mild snow and rain are back. A couple inches of snow have fallen in the last several hours this morning and wind is picking up with gusts to the 60s at ridgetops. Avalanche danger is increasing again. The primary concern up high will be storm snow from Wednesday night and today continuing to build. Steeper pockets of wind loaded snow off ridgelines and catchment features could be triggered by people today. Natural avalanches are possible if enough snow builds, and should be expected tonight if the blizzard watch proves correct.

Our avalanche danger currently, and for this entire winter so far, fits into the definition of Direct Action. We define Direct Action as avalanches that occur during or immediately after a storm. The alternative to direct action is delayed action, when avalanche danger lingers for days or weeks after storms and is almost always associated with buried surface hoar, facets, or CNFAIC Staff persistent weak layers. Direct Action problems are much easier to deal with, because the hazard is short lived and spikes during periods of active stormy weather. We have a simple problem to manage if its stormy, snowy, windy, or warm then stick to green light terrain in the backcountry.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
The current storm is a Low centered in Prince William Sound. We should get at least a few more inches of snow out of this storm today. Temperatures are rising again, and liquid precip may reach up to 500 feet elevation. Wind this morning is already reaching into the 50s and 60s at ridgetops. It looks like anCNFAIC Staff storm day with poor visibility and difficult travel above treeline.

A blizzard watch has been issued for Turnagain Arm this evening and Saturday. The snowfall is expected to increase tonight and into tomorrow.

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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