|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.
|Size (D scale)
|Unlikely to bury a person
|Can bury a person
|Can destroy a house
|4 & 5
|Can destroy part or all of a village
Today should be our last day of cold temperatures before our weather does a complete 180 on us. A large scale system with strong southerly flow is headed in this evening and will bring considerably rising temperatures, gale force winds and heavy precipitation through the weekend. Rain could make it above 2,500′ by Sunday and another pulse looks to pump more warm air and moisture in for Monday and Tuesday. After today, expect rising avalanche danger, wet soggy snow along Turnagain Pass, and if we are lucky, the rain line will not reach our ridgetops. Stay tuned for more details on precip numbers tomorrow morning.
For today however, we are still in a similar avalanche pattern. Our main concern is at the upper elevations above 3,000′ where a person could trigger an avalanche 2-3′ thick breaking near the ground. If skies are clear enough to travel above 3,000′, keep in mind there is a potential weak layer of facets lurking under you. There could be no signs of instability before a slope cracks and releases. Unfortunately, snowpack tests continue to show reactivity in a weak layer of facets just above hard crust. This is keeping our hackles up on high alpine slopes.
High elevation terrain, pictured above, is where our avalanche concerns exist.
Snow pit at 3,200′ on Sunburst shows a thinner section of the snowpack (2.5 feet total depth) and thinner section of the slab (1.5 feet). This pit had the most reactive and concerning stability test results and tells us this layer of faceted snow could create an avalanche.
Yesterday: Partly cloudy skies were over the region with a trace of snow overnight in areas near Turnagain Arm. Winds shifted from the NW to the east in the morning and have been averaging near 5mph with gusts in the mid-teens. The wind shift brought slightly warmer temperatures, mid-teens along the ridgelines and the low 20’s at the lower elevations.
Today: Partly cloudy skies, slowly warming temperatures and scattered light snow showers are forecast (to sea level). Only a trace to 2″ of snow is expected today along with a chance for 2-4″ of snow tonight. Winds will continue from an easterly direction and pick up into the 15-25mph range along ridgetops before increasing tonight to the 30-40 mph. Temperatures should rise to the 20’s F at the high elevations (4,000′) and close to 30 F at the low elevations (1,000′).
Tomorrow: A strong weather system and significant warming trend is on tap for the weekend and into early next week. Heavy snow and rain at sea level is expected along the eastern Kenai and western Prince William Sound. Seward is expected to see several inches of rainfall and Girdwood up to an inch tomorrow. Snow should make it to 1,000′ tomorrow but then turn to rain on Sunday with the snow line rising to 2,000′ or higher by Monday. We’ll be keeping close tabs on this storm so stay tuned!
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
*Seattle Ridge anemometer (wind sensor) is rimed over and the temperature sensor is not functioning. A new temperature sensor is arriving soon and we hope to get it up on the next clear day.
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek