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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Kevin Wright  
Saturday, March 24th 2012
Created: Mar 24th 6:47 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, March 24th 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
Fresh snow overnight will create pockets of CONSIDERABLE danger in alpine areas that were exposed to wind. CNFAIC Staff problem areas include South faces and sheltered pockets containing touchy buried surface hoar. Below treeline will be MODERATE. Weve got a complicated snowpack right now with many different potential problems.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
The biggest red flag this morning is new snow with wind. Its not a lot of new snow, but probably enough to create pockets of unstable wind slabs. Of course this fell on top of multiple persistent weak layers, complicating our current scenario even more. Weve had quite a few reports of human triggered avalanches in the last week, on all aspects and elevations. The new snow will add even more stress to the already questionable snowpack. The safest terrain today will be shadier slopes and moderate slope angles.

Concern #1 Storm snow and fresh wind slab
All the new snow overnight will be prone to avalanching given the right trigger. This will be most likely where it fell on top of problem layers, but fresh wind slab by itself could be touchy today. Wind was blowing consistently during the snowfall, loading the West and Northwest slopes and cross loading South gullies.

Concern #2 Buried Sun Crust
South faces are a bad choice right now. Multiple buried sun crusts have built a complicated network of slabs and weak layers. New snow last night added anCNFAIC Staff slab I would plan my day to avoid southerly aspects completely.

Concern #3 Buried Surface Hoar
Multiple layers of buried surface hoar are widespread and have been implicated in quite a few human triggered avalanches. These weak layers have been found on all aspects and up to high elevations. Check out this observation from 2 days ago illustrating the touchy nature of the surface hoar problem.

Concern #4 Wet loose and wet slab
This will only be a concern if the clouds depart enough this afternoon for the sun to start shining through. New snow, like what fell last night, is more prone to quick changes from sun exposure. South faces should be avoided late in the day.


MOUNTAIN WEATHER
5 inches of snow fell overnight in some areas with an East to Southeast wind up to 50mph. Up to 3 more inches are possible today. Temperatures were cold enough for all this new precip to stay snow down to sea level.

The front moving across Southcentral Alaska is still dropping some snow this morning, this will weaken to scattered showers this afternoon.

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: 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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