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Avalanche Advisory

Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Forecaster:   John Fitzgerald  
Monday, March 3rd 2014
Created: Mar 3rd 5:08 am
1 Low Alpine / Above 2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Treeline / 1,000'-2,500' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
1 Low Below Treeline / Below 1,000' Travel Advice: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
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The Bottom Line

The avalanche hazard is LOW above and below treeline.  A steady melt freeze cycle continues today.  A crust on the surface up to ridge top level exists throughout the forecast area.  Sunlit aspects will see a small degree of melting.  It will take direct sun and a lack of wind to soften these slopes.  Very small wet loose avalanches are still a possibility on very steep sunlit slopes today.  If triggered, they will be small, predictable and easy to avoid.

LOW hazard does not mean NO hazard.  While avalanche activity is unlikely today, it is important to always use good travel practices.


Primary Concern

It has been almost 2 weeks since the last measurable snowfall covered the mountains around the forecast zone.  The last loading event was on Feb 23rd (as a result of high winds).  On this day we had reports of a few slab avalanches as a direct result of sensitive slabs being built by high winds.  Over the last 5 days we have had a consistent melt freeze cycle.  This cycle initially produced a round of wet loose and a few slab avalanches. 

Another solid freeze overnight will keep the surface snow firm for most of the day.  Very steep south facing slopes will likely see some melting today.  Because of this it will be important to pay attention to the snow surface as it melts.  Very small wet loose avalanches will be possible today in this terrain.

Other hazards to consider today are:

Cornices.  Give cornices a wide berth both above and below.  Sunshine coupled with a lack of wind will aid in destabilizing these features.

Persistent slabs in steep high elevation terrain on the periphery of the forecast zone and in outlying areas.  Melt freeze and sun crusts exist on all surfaces up to most ridgelines and summits.   Above 4,000’ (which is a small percentage of the terrain in the advisory area) it will be possible to find dry surface snow.  1-3’ below the surface is a weak layer of facets sitting on the January crust.  This layer has not been reactive of late but still exists.  It will be remotely possible to trigger an avalanche in very steep terrain that has not been subject to this recent melt freeze cycle.

LOW hazard does not mean NO hazard.  It is important to continue to practice good travel habits; expose only one person at a time on steep terrain, avoid cornices, communicate your decisions & plans, and carry and know how to use rescue gear.


Mountain Weather

It has now been 13 days since snow has fallen at the Center Ridge SNOTEL site.  Temps over the past 24 hours averaged 31 degrees F at the Sunburst weather station.  Winds there have been light out of the West at 5mph with a max gust of 12mph.

Today expect one more day of clear skies and spring like weather.  Temps at 1,000’ will climb back into the low 30s F.  Winds will remain very light.

A slight chance for snow showers to develop overnight exists.  Snowfall will become more likely later in the day Tuesday into Wednesday.  Expect an unsettled pattern throughout the week with generally weak Low pressure systems moving through the region.

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
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