Good Morning backcountry travelers, this is Carl Skustad with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 7am. This will serve as a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued 5 days a week Wednesday-Sunday for the Turnagain Arm (Turnagain Pass is the core advisory area). Local variations always occur.
MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUND UP
In the last 24 hours…
-The Center Ridge weather station at 1800 feet in Turnagain Pass-
rough weather has delayed the fix until next week
-Sunburst weather station at 3800 feet in Turnagain Pass-
since yesterday’s max gust of 96 the winds have slowly decipated. Current winds are gusting to 23 from the east with averages in the mid teens.
-Top of Alyeska weather station at 2700 –
the anomometer may have blown apart yesterday as wind direction stopped recording mid day. Maxes recorded an easterly gust to 115 yesterday morning.
-Surface Analysis Maps-
A 958 mb low has slid north, above the Aleutians and is moving at us from the west. It will bring with it some cooler air to bring temps back to normal.
The jet is still carrying warm wet air to us today but look for that to change starting tomarow.
The Middleton radar shows significant rain showers in Prince William Sound this morning. It’s hard to see if it’s comming over the range or not.
-General Weather Observations-
Yesterday brought very heavy rain up to ~3000 ft. Hurricane force winds were once again recorded at 100 plus. Temps are cooling off and winds are subsiding.
PRIMARY AVALANCHE CONCERNS
-Wind slabs on top of December facets
-New storm snow on top of December facets
SECONDARY AVALANCHE CONCERNS
-Glide Cracks (see photos)
WATCH OUT SITUATIONS
-Terrain steeper than 25 degrees. Terrain under or near any avalanche paths.
AVALANCHE AND SNOWPACK DISCUSSION
We still have a considerable avalanche hazard today. We just had the largest storm event of the season and the snowpack will need time to settle and respond to the beating it just received. Many north and east aspects will be stripped of snow and large wind slabs will be found near ridge tops and in cross loaded terrain features. Yesterday we drove to Summit Lake and saw many natural avalanches. I noticed one brand new one above the highway between Girdwood and Portage that ripped out 8-10 feet deep. If you venture out today, terrain management will be key. Keep your slopes less that 35 degrees. Pay attention to “bulls-eye” data such as whoophing, shooting cracks, and recent avalanche activity. If you witness any of these avalanche symptoms you know your in the avalanche dragons den. Stay on lower angle terrain and away from avalanche paths.
WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
500 AM AKST SAT JAN 17 2009
…URBAN AND SMALL STREAM FLOOD ADVISORY FOR RAIN AND MELTING SNOW
CONTINUED UNTIL 1 PM AKST SATURDAY…
.TODAY…RAIN…MIXING WITH SNOW AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS. SNOW
ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH AT HIGHER ELEVATIONS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER
30S TO LOWER 40S. EAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH. GUSTS TO 35 MPH THROUGH
PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM DURING THE MORNING.
.TONIGHT…RAIN NEAR THE COAST…TURNING TO SNOW INLAND. SNOW
ACCUMULATION UP TO 3 INCHES. LOWS IN THE MID 20S TO MID 30S. VARIABLE
WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 10 TO 20 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SUNDAY…RAIN NEAR THE COAST…TURNING TO SNOW INLAND. SNOW
ACCUMULATION UP TO 5 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE 30S. EAST WIND 10 TO 15
.SUNDAY NIGHT…SNOW. LOWS IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S…COOLEST
INLAND. EAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH.
.MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY…SNOW AND RAIN. HIGHS IN THE MID 20S
TO UPPER 30S…COOLEST INLAND. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 41 27 34 / 60 80 80
GIRDWOOD 40 29 29 / 60 80 80
Thanks for checking the CNFAIC avalanche advisory. Have a great day.