|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.|
|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|
As emphasized above in the bottom line there is a lot of variability with the current snowpack. If you head out today you need to be a bit of a detective and approach avalanche terrain with caution. There is new snow and a recent wind event. There are layers of buried weak snow. Triggering a slab avalanche is possible in steep terrain. The weather forecast for today includes light snowfall and shifting winds.
What you need to keep in mind:
What to do with all this information if you go out today?
Look for signs of instability like cracking and whumpfing. Try to figure out if there is wind affected snow and a slab. Is there punchy, hollow-sounding snow? Can you feel really hard snow in wind-loaded area where your skis or track don’t sink in? This could be a hard wind slab over weak snow and could break once you get onto the slope. Don’t forget that weak snow is lurking in the snowpack! Think about the consequences if a slope does slide and as always use good travel protocol. Because of the variability and the buried weak layers approach avalanche terrain with extra skepticism.
Yesterday: Skies were mostly cloudy with light rain and snow showers in the morning becoming partly cloudy mid-day. Winds were easterly and gusty until around 10 am and then became light for the remainder of the day. Temperatures were in the 20°Fs at ridgetops and 30°Fs from sea level to up to mid elevation weather stations. There was snow overnight, 1-4″ with rain falling at sea level. Winds were light and easterly and temperatures were in the 20°F s to mid 30°Fs.
Today: Skies will be mostly cloudy with light precipitation tapering off in the afternoon. Temperatures will be in the 30°Fs at low elevations and 20°Fs in the alpine. Winds will be light and easterly shifting to the west in the late afternoon and increasing to 10-15 mph. Overnight skies will be partly cloudy becoming mostly clear early Friday. Temperatures cool down into the teens and single digits. Winds will be northwesterly 15-25 mph with gusts into the 30s.
Tomorrow: Skies will be mostly clear with temperatures in the teens and low 20°Fs. Winds will remain northwesterly 15-25 mph with gusts into the 30s eventually easing off overnight. Partly sunny skies for the weekend with light winds and temperatures in the teens and 20°Fs.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||31||1||0.1||116|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||30||0||0||44|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||30||2.5||0.3||116|
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||25||E||11||29|
|12/03/23||Turnagain||Observation: Lipps||Paul Schauer|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||Schauer / Keeler Forecaster|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan South Side||Anonymous|
|12/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies up track||Luc Mehl|
|12/01/23||Avalanche: Sunburst||John Sykes Forecaster|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddie’s trees||Anonymous|
|12/01/23||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – God’s Country||Graham Predeger Forecaster|
|11/30/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||Kakiko Ramos-Leon|
|11/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Ridge||Schauer/ Stiassny Forecaster|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender||Anonymous|