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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   Graham Predeger  
Tuesday, March 27th 2012
Created: Mar 27th 6:55 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 Graham Predeger with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday, March 27th 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 avalanche danger is MODERATE today for the core advisory area. Human-triggered avalanches will be possible due to a variety of buried weak layers in our upper snowpack along with fresh wind slabs.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

We haven't seen any large avalanches recently in our forecast area but there have been several class 1 and 2 slides on all aspects. These have not been large and destructive snow slides though many are big enough to bury, injure or kill a person. The common denominator with these avalanches is proving to be buried weak layers (surface hoar and facet/ crust combinations) persisting in the upper snowpack.

Concern #1 - Wind Slabs and Soft Slabs
Winds appear to have picked up again overnight blowing in the 20 to 40 mph range from the east and southeast. Expect to find tender wind slabs on west and northwest aspects especially below ridges today. These newest of wind slabs are likely not bonding well to underlying layers yet. Yesterday we found anCNFAIC Staff sun crust on solar aspects and sporadic pockets of surface hoar. These future weak layers were being buried by light snowfall and are now overlain by a fresh wind slab in problem areas.

Concern #2 - Persistent Slabs
Several weak layers have been buried over the previous 2 weeks. Some of these have healed up nicely and are of no concern today. CNFAIC Staffs however are lingering, waiting for a trigger. It is worth the time to dig into a slope you intend to ski or snowmachine and try to identify the presence of weak layers. An obvious weak layer will show itself as a uniform grey line in your snowpit wall. These weaknesses and overlying slabs have been found recently, lurking in our snowpack from Girdwood to Summit Lake.

Concern #3 - Wet sluffing
It's unlikely we will see much direct sunlight over the next several days but daytime temperatures do appear to be rising as we near April. Wet sluffs, when initiated will have the potential to step down and pull out some of these deeper buried weak layers over the coming days. Pay attention to areas where the surface won't support your weight as you step off your skis or machine. This is an easy test that is indicative of the upper snowpack weakening, if you are able to post-hole up to your mid-thigh or crotch.

MOUNTAIN WEATHER

Sunday's bluebird day gave way to clouds and light precipitation over south central Alaska yesterday. It was snowing lightly most of the day from Girdwood to Turnagain pass with just a few inches of accumulation to cover up some of the most recently deposited surface hoar from the weekend.
With a warmer unsettled air mass digging in, we can expect mostly cloudy skies and gusty east and southeast winds in the 25-40 mph range at ridge top levels today. Precipitation looks to be mainly in the form of snow (1-3"), but may be mixed with rain at lower elevations. Overnight, temperatures will be significantly warmer (high 20's) than we have seen recently.



CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday 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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