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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Wednesday, February 22nd 2012
Created: Feb 22nd 7:02 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 Woodland Family
The Bottom Line
Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, February 22nd 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
This has been our longest break from snowfall in 2 weeks. The danger rating has dropped to MODERATE, the lowest weve seen in February. We have good information today that our storm snow is settling and stabilizing quickly. Uncertainty remains because we have dealt with so much snow over the last 3 weeks, which has kept people from traveling very far during constant stormy weather.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Our latest storm ended more than 24 hours ago. Wind and snowfall has diminished and temperatures dropped last night. The avalanche danger is on a decreasing trend.

I have to admit that I get a bit nervous when the skies clear after 3 weeks of constant snowfall. The question today is Where is it appropriate to travel? The answer should be - Start conservatively and work up slowly if conditions allow. Larger avalanches will be unlikely, but smaller avalanches in steeper terrain are still possible. The longer we wait since the last snowfall, the more stable the mountains will get.

Primary Concern
Wind slabs in steep terrain above treeline. This problem, along with associated consequences, will increase as the slope angle increases. We can expect a buried wind slab near ridge tops and on high elevation rollovers. A fresh layer of soft non-winded snow at the end of the last storm makes it more difficult to identify where the wind deposited the most snow.

Below treeline we can expect good stability and loose snow avalanche concerns. Perhaps one of the more dangerous stability issues can be found on the massive mushroom overhangs found in small cliffy areas. Some of these can build quite large and unstable, breaking off when a rider weights the edge of the overhang.

Partly sunny skies are in the forecast, and even a quick break could start the melting process on South faces. Watch for sun induced sluffs and a melt-freeze crust to form if we get sun exposure this afternoon.

Remember, sunny skies and good quality snow dont necessarily mean safe conditions. All of us (myself included) need to play according to the mountains schedule. This means being patient to wait for stability. If the weather forecast proves true, we may get the green light in the next few days. For today, a defensive approach to steep terrain is warranted. Find some test slopes and ride them one at a time. Avoid areas with terrain traps and high consequences until we get more information pointing towards stability.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
No additional snow has fallen since the last avalanche forecast was issued yesterday. Wind has been light and temperatures held steady, then started to drop last night. Weather in the last 24 hours has been promoting increased stability in the snowpack.

Today we still have a chance of snow, but the forecast only calls for a trace. A West wind should be light and temperatures are expected to stay cold with a subtle rise during the heat of the day. More stable weather is expected for the next several days.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Wendy will issue the next advisory Thursday 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
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