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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Fri, January 26th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, January 27th, 2024 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Sykes
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE today above 1000′. Glide avalanches releasing down to the ground (4-6′ deep) are our primary concern. Keep an eye out for glide cracks on the slopes above you and try to minimize the amount of time you spend underneath. In addition, wind speeds are expected to increase slightly today and small wind slabs could be possible in areas exposed to gap winds, like along Turnagain Arm. Below 1000′ the avalanche danger is LOW.

Special Announcements

One event coming up TOMORROW!!

  •  POSTPONED! Anchorage: Avalanche Rescue Skills Workshop. This event is being postponed to a later date (TBD) due to extremely cold temperatures. We will post the new date as soon as it’s determined.
  • Moose Pass: Winter Rendezvous – Trail Lake Lodge – Jan 27, stop by between 10-1pm to chat with the new forecaster Daniel Krueger, ask your questions, and learn more about avalanche information on the Kenai.

SnowBall 2024!:  Mark your calendars for Valentine’s Day, Feb 14 (7-11pm @ 49th St Brewing). Details and tickets HERE. The evening promises costumes, finger food, a rocking band, silent auction, and of course plenty of great company. Join us in supporting Chugach Avy as well as our friends at the Alaska Avalanche School.

Fri, January 26th, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Sat, January 27th, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Sat, January 27th, 2024
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Recent Avalanches

The last known avalanche in the Turnagain Area was a large glide avalanche that released overnight on Thursday Jan 25th. This avalanche released down to the ground (4-6′ deep) and came close to burying the Seattle Ridge uptrack. Most of the debris piled up on a bench at 1700′ and did not runout onto the lower slopes, where most folks travel to access Seattle ridge.

The new glide avalanche is on the right side of this image and slight below an older large glide avalanche release. Photo 1.25.24

Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
  • Aspect/Elevation
  • Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic (D4-5)
    Very Large (D3)
    Large (D2)
    Small (D1)
    Size
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.

Aspect/Elevation of the Avalanche Problem
Specialists develop a graphic representation of the potential distribution of a particular avalanche problem across the topography. This aspect/elevation rose is used to indicate where the particular avalanche problem is thought to exist on all elevation aspects. Areas where the avalanche problem is thought to exist are colored grey, and it is less likely to be encountered in areas colored white.

Likelihood of Avalanches
Terms such as "unlikely", "likely", and "certain" are used to define the scale, with the chance of triggering or observing avalanches increasing as we move up the scale. For our purposes, "Unlikely" means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. "Certain" means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches are expected.

Size of Avalanches
Avalanche size is defined by the largest potential avalanche, or expected range of sizes related to the problem in question. Assigned size is a qualitative estimate based on the destructive classification system and requires specialists to estimate the harm avalanches may cause to hypothetical objects located in the avalanche track (AAA 2016, CAA 2014). Under this schema, "Small" avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become "Large" enough to bury, injure, or kill people. "Very Large" avalanches may bury or destroy vehicles or houses, and "Historic" avalanches are massive events capable of altering the landscape.

Signal Word Size (D scale) Simple Descriptor
Small 1 Unlikely to bury a person
Large 2 Can bury a person
Very Large 3 Can destroy a house
Historic 4 & 5 Can destroy part or all of a village
More info at Avalanche.org

Glide avalanches continue to be our primary concern. These avalanches can be very large and destructive and they release randomly. Typically you can see a glide crack on the slope before an avalanche releases. We recommend being aware of any slopes overhead and looking for any existing glide cracks to identify areas to avoid. If you need to travel underneath a glide crack it is best to space out and travel as quickly as you can. Glide cracks that have already released can have additional portions of the crack that extend further across the slope which have not yet released. These pieces of hang fire can be harder to identify, but still pose a threat and should be avoided if possible.

Other than glide cracks it is possible that you could find a small wind slab today. Winds speeds started to pick up slightly overnight, with averages of 10 mph and gusts to 20 mph. Given the strong winds that have impacted the forecast area since the last new snowfall, there is probably not much soft snow left on the surface to be transported into wind slabs. However, if you are in steep terrain a small wind slab could cause an issue. Keep an eye out for active wind loading along ridgelines to check whether the winds are strong enough to form a fresh wind slab. These will be most likely along areas exposed to typical gap winds, like Turnagain Arm, where winds speeds are expected to be highest today.

Another view of the recent glide avalanche on Seattle Ridge. Photo 1.25.24

Weather
Fri, January 26th, 2024

Yesterday:  Another cold and clear day, with temperatures ranging from -10 to 10 F at lower elevations and 10 to 20 F at upper elevations. Wind speeds were light and variable averaging 0 to 5 mph with gusts up to 15 mph. Valley fog hung around for most of the day in Girdwood and was in and out along Turnagain Arm.

Today:  A little bit of cloud cover is expected to move into the area today, but skies should remain mostly sunny. Winds are also expected to pick up slightly with averages of 5-10 mph out of the NW and gusts up to 20 mph at upper elevations. Stronger wind gusts up to 35 mph are possible in typical gap wind areas, like along Turnagain Arm and near Seward. Temperatures are expected to remain cold at lower elevations (-10 to 10 degrees) and decrease at upper elevations throughout the day (0 to 10 F).

Tomorrow:  Continued cold temperatures and partly cloudy skies are expected to persist on Saturday. The temperature inversion that has been in place for over a week is expected to break down Friday night, with cold temperatures from -5 to 5 F expected at all elevations on Saturday. Wind speeds will remain in the 5-10 mph range out of the NW with gusts up to 20 mph at upper elevations. Stronger gusts up to 35-40 mph are expected in gap wind areas.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 10 0 0 76
Summit Lake (1400′) -2 0 0 n/a
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 10 0 0 74
Bear Valley – Portage (132′) -6 0 0
Grouse Ck – Seward (700′) -1 0 0 50

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 15 variable 5 20
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 15 variable 1 6
Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
02/24/24 Turnagain Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
02/22/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Lynx Creek
02/22/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
02/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan
02/20/24 Turnagain Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
02/19/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Lynx creek
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.