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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, February 18th 2012
Created: Feb 17th 6:53 am
2 Moderate Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
2 Moderate Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
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The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, February 18th 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
Most of the region will drop to MODERATE avalanche danger today. If we get the predicted 6 inches and 40+mph wind, then pockets of CONSIDERABLE may develop through the day. Remember, MODERATE avalanche danger allows for large avalanches in isolated areas. Weve had a LOT of snow recently and only very short windows for that snow to settle and bond.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
The stormy weather of the last 2 weeks gave us a break yesterday. In partly sunny skies, we saw limited natural avalanche activity in the most recent storm snow. South facing slopes with direct sun exposure were experiencing roller balls and point releases. Explosive triggers continue to get inconsistent results, occasionally finding large slab avalanches.

To recap our recent weather and avalanche situation - The last 2 weeks has brought well over 100 inches of new snow to some parts of the forecast area. Avalanche danger has been elevated the entire month of February with storm snow problems. Some very large natural avalanches and dangerous skier triggered avalanches have been recorded in the last week. The storm track continues to send wind and snow our direction for the foreseeable future.

Few people were traveling on high elevation or steep slopes yesterday. Today could be appropriate to venture slightly farther into the backcountry, but only if the weather stays mild enough to allow it. All this new snow will stabilize over time if we are patient enough to wait. Each day without significant snowfall will give us an extra margin of safety.

The backcountry today should be approached with caution. Its still premature to drop into big, steep, and high consequence terrain. One report yesterday came in from a pair of snowmachiners who experienced a large collapse in Turnagain Pass at mid elevation. Collapsing and cracking is a sign of a potentially dangerous slab over a weak layer. This observation was a solid piece of evidence that the new snow is still adjusting to the significant recent loading.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER
Yesterday gave us a partly clear break in the weather and fairly warm temperatures. We had little snow accumulation in the last 24 hours. Overnight the temperature has dropped, but wind has picked up a bit on the ridges this morning.

Today a large front is sweeping across our region. It is coming from the Southwest and is expected to primarily impact the Western Kenai, leaving Turnagain Pass in the rain shadow. Only 3-6 inches of snow are predicted today, but wind could reach into the mid 40mph range.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday 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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