Good morning backcountry travelers, this is Carl Skustad with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, April 10th 2009 at 6 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.
*As we wrap up this season I would like to thank the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Center. These guys and gals are amazing and are responsible for the improvements made to the Center this season. The countless hours of fund raising, web design, map making, and community outreach they put in make me proud to be part of such an organization. The Glacier Ranger District and the Chugach National Forest thank the board and all who helped support the Center. Join the team, check out the Friends Page on this web site.
*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*
MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUND UP FOR THE LAST 24 HOURS
-General Weather Observations-
Clear and warm weather dominated the past week. A Blizzard warning is in effect for this morning so it looks like a big change in weather for the weekend. Very strong easterly winds are gusting up to 80 mph on the ridgetops.
–The NRCS Center Ridge weather station at 1800 feet in Turnagain Pass–
Snow started last night. 7 new inches of snow fell and .6 inches of water. Current temp is 26.7F.
–The Sunburst weather station at 3800 feet in Turnagain Pass–
has winds averaging 40 mph and gust to 60. Current temp is 19F.
-Surface Analysis Maps-
A large 986 mb low moving our direction.
Scattered snow showers in Prince William Sound moving onshore today.
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.
-new wind slabs on sun crusts. South, west, and easterly aspects.
-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
EXTRA CAUTION is advised – today’s avalanche hazard is still 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.
Boy oh Boy, are we out of the woods yet? I don’t think so! There are still plenty of big slabs out there hanging out on one or two significant weak layers of snow. In talking with CNFAIC Staff avy savy folks around town this week there is still a significant avalanche hazard out there. We continued to see natural avalanche activity this week when the sun hit steep slopes. Especially near rock or cliff bands. Temps refroze each night and helped tighten things up for the early part of most days. Additional snow and wind coming with this weather front will once again raise the chance for avalanche activity. You could expect to see new wind slab formation on top of the new sun crusts, as well as deeper instabilities. There are just to many question marks with the current state of our snowpack. If I were to go riding or skiing this weekend I would make sure to test the snow I was traveling on or under. I would try to travel on or right next to terrain that has already avalanched (old avalanche activity, not rand new) or on slope angles less than 30%.
Try to share information you know about avalanche safety and terrain with your friends. It could save their bacon. The instability that we have this spring could be triggered from below. Insist that your partners have beacons, shovels, and probes. If you don’t have the gear don’t go. If buried a beacon is the best way to find you!
Weather Forecast for
WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
.500 AM AKDT FRI APR 10 2009
…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKDT TODAY THROUGH PORTAGE
.TODAY…SNOW IN THE MORNING…THEN RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS IN THE
AFTERNOON. ALONG PORTAGE VALLEY…BLOWING SNOW WILL REDUCE VISIBILITY
TO ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES IN THE MORNING. SNOW
ACCUMULATION 2 TO 5 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO MID 40S. SOUTH
TO EAST WIND 10 TO 25 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN
ARM…EAST WIND 30 TO 45 MPH BECOMING 15 TO 25 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
.TONIGHT…SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…THEN SNOW SHOWERS
AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1 INCH. LOWS IN
THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. EAST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH. NEAR SEWARD…
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH.
.SATURDAY…SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING…THEN RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS
IN THE AFTERNOON. LITTLE SNOW ACCUMULATION. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO
MID 40S. NORTHEAST WIND TO 15 MPH.
.SATURDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED RAIN SHOWERS AND SNOW
SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH.
.SUNDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN
THE UPPER 30S TO MID 40S. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH.
.SUNDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS.
LOWS IN THE UPPER TEENS TO MID 20S.
.MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN
AND SNOW. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO MID 40S. LOWS IN THE 20S.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 44 31 45 / 80 80 60
GIRDWOOD 40 27 41 / 80 40 40
This concludes this avalanche advisory which will expire in 24 hours. Thanks and have a great day.