Turnagain Pass RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Fri, April 3rd, 2009 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, April 4th, 2009 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
CNFAIC Staff
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Good Morning backcountry travelers, this is Carl Skustad with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday,April 3rd at2009 at 900 am. This will serve as a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for the Turnagain Arm area (Turnagain Pass is the core advisory area). Local variations always occur. This advisory expires in 24 hours and does not apply to operating ski resorts or highways/railroads.

***Join the 2009 6th Annual Jeff Nissman Telemark Festival this weekend at Alyeska Resort. Benefit for the CNF Avalanche Center. WIN HELISKIING TRIP at the beacon park beacon games on Saturday. check out http://web.mac.com/telepalooza/2009/Poster.html for more details.

*STARTING THE FIRST WEEK OF APRIL, WE WILL ONLY ISSUE ONE ADVISORY PER WEEK ON FRIDAYS, due to staffing and budget limitations. We will update riding conditions (open/closed) and significant avalanche and weather events as needed*

* Skookum closed to snowmachining on April 1st*

* Thank to all of you that assisted in the ongoing SAR in Johnson*

MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUND UP FOR THE LAST 24 HOURS

-General Weather Observations-

Partly sunny skies peaked out a few times this week for us to get a good look at big avalanches. The sun also created new sun crusts in some locations. Snow showers and wind is forecasted for the weekend.

The NRCS Center Ridge weather station at 1800 feet in Turnagain Pass

Has a temp of 25 degrees. A trace of new snow fell last night. 4 inches of new snow fall this week.

The Sunburst weather station at 3800 feet in Turnagain Pass

Is recording a temp of 13 degrees. Winds are increasing from the east 16-22 mph.

-Surface Analysis Maps-

A large 982 mb low is moving past just to the south of us. It is responsible for our current chance of snow and wind.

-Radar/Satellite-

Scattered snow showers in Prince William Sound moving onshore today.

AVALANCHE HAZARDS

Primary avalanche concerns

-3-6 plus feet of snow on top of multiple weak layers. This is the MOST SIGNIFICANT and MOST DANGEROUS layer of slab snow we have seen all year.

-Below 3000 feet. The “January Hurricane” rain crust buried under 4-6 feet of surface snow. There is a layer of weak sugary faceted snow above and below this hard rain crust.

AVALANCHES AND SNOWPACK

Bottom Line

EXTRA CAUTION is advised – today’s avalanche hazard is CONSIDERABLE. Natural avalanches possible. Human triggered probable. Unstable slabs on steep terrain. Use conservative decision making, careful route finding, and good travel habits. Training and experience are essential

The avalanche danger rating is only a starting point. YOU CONTROL YOUR OWN RISK by choosing where, when, and how you travel.

Discussion

We have reached the tipping point were the mountains snowpack weight exceeds the strength of the weak layers. Very large avalanches have occurred over the week.

Human and natural triggered avalanches have occurred as recently as April 1st. Very massive human and natural avalanches were reported in Grandview on the 1st. One human triggered slide involving a snowboarder that narrowly escaped. This slide was human triggered and avalanched the whole western face of the mountain. The second slide naturally avalanched from above and buried a snowmachine as riders rode out of the powder blast. Both of these instances are examples of the tender nature of our snowpack. We are seeing avalanche activity on slope angles as low as 25%. This instability could be triggered from lower angles and propagate onto steeper slopes bringing large amounts of snow down on top of you. Every mountain out there has a billboard (in the form of recent avalanche activity) hanging on it. Don’t ignore them! The most likely time for natural avalanche activity will be during periods of wind, snow, rapid warming, or direct sunlight. If any of these ingredients are present the avalanche danger at that time will go up.

You’ve heard me say it before and here it goes again. Unfortunately big lines will have to wait. the Mountains are all about timing. I think this is a season ending event that will linger until the snowpack goes isCNFAIC Staffmal. Low angled slopes or areas that you know have recently avalanched will be your safest bet.

Weather Forecast for

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-

INCLUDING…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

500 AM AKDT FRI APR 3 2009

.TODAY…SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION 2 TO 6 INCHES. AREAS OF BLOWING

SNOW. HIGHS IN THE 30S. NORTH TO EAST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH.

.TONIGHT…NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…THEN ISOLATED

SNOW SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW SNOW ACCUMULATION

UP TO 2 INCHES. LOWS IN THE 20S. NORTH TO WEST WINDS 10 TO 20

MPH…LOCAL GUSTS TO 30 MPH NEAR SEWARD AND WHITTIER.

.SATURDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE

MORNING…THEN PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE 30S.

NORTH TO WEST WINDS 10 TO 20 MPH. GUSTS TO 30 MPH NEAR SEWARD AND

WHITTIER IN THE MORNING.

.SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE TEENS. NORTHWEST

WIND 15 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 15 MPH NEAR SEWARD.

.SUNDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY IN THE MORNING THEN BECOMING MOSTLY

CLOUDY. ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S.

LIGHT WINDS. GUSTS TO 20 MPH IN THE MORNING.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN

THE UPPER TEENS TO MID 20S.

.MONDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE 30S.

.MONDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AND RAIN. LOWS IN

THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S.

.TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN

AND SNOW. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S. LOWS IN THE MID 20S

TO LOWER 30S.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 38 28 39 / 100 60 0

GIRDWOOD 35 25 35 / 80 40 0

This concludes today’s avalanche advisory which will expire in 24 hours. The next advisory will be on Friday, April 10th. Thanks and have a great day.

Fri, April 3rd, 2009
Alpine
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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.
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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.