Happy New Year backcountry travelers this is Carl Skustad with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, January 1st at 7 am. This will serve as 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).
All areas designated for snowmachines on the Chugach National Forest are open to snowmachines except Placer and 20 Mile. Please remember that Center and Divide Creeks near the Johnson Pass North Trailhead are always closed due to the current Forest Plan.
3800′ -Sunburst Wx Station-
19 deg F, winds are averaging 9 with gusts to 11 out of the N
3400′ –Fresno Ridge Wx Station-
20 deg F, winds are averaging 3 with gusts to 7 out of the SW
2400′-Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
winds are averaging 3 with gusts to 7 out of the SE
1800′-Center Ridge Wx Station-
Precip: 0.0 inches of water
Total depth of 59 inches after 1″ of settlement
18 deg F
WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
500 AM AKST FRI JAN 1 2010
…STRONG WIND THROUGH THIS EVENING NEAR WHITTIER…
.TODAY…SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE TEENS TO LOWER 30S…COLDEST INLAND.
VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT NORTH WIND 15 TO 30 MPH NEAR SEWARD. WEST
WIND 30 TO 45 MPH NEAR WHITTIER.
.TONIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS 5 TO 25 ABOVE…COLDEST INLAND.
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH EXCEPT NORTH WIND 15 TO 25 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
WEST WIND 30 TO 45 MPH DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 30 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT
.SATURDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY IN THE MORNING THEN BECOMING MOSTLY
CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE MID TEENS TO LOWER 30S…COLDEST INLAND. LIGHT
WINDS EXCEPT NORTH AND WEST WIND 15 TO 25 MPH NEAR SEWARD AND
.SATURDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS ZERO
TO 15 ABOVE…COLDEST INLAND. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 TO
20 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SUNDAY…CLOUDY WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF SNOW. HIGHS IN THE LOWER
TO MID 20S. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 15 TO 20 MPH NEAR
.SUNDAY NIGHT…SNOW LIKELY. LOWS IN THE TEENS.
.MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 32 17 29 / 0 0 0
GIRDWOOD 19 8 15 / 0 0 0
Due to a lack of significant weak layers and a mild weather forecast, the avalanche danger for Turnagain Pass will remain at LOW today. LOW is defined as: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Terrain features to be mindful of include steep rollovers (>38 %) near ridgetops and hanging snowfields that look wind loaded.
On New Years Eve we found two layers of interest at 8 and 10 inches below the snows surface. Both of these layers failed easily in stability tests (CT 6 and CT 11 Q2). These layers looked to be mid storm interfaces and should heal over time. The surface snow ranged from surface hoar to surface faceting. Death crust below 2000 ft and fairly good snow above.
AnCNFAIC Staff concern today will be the glide cracks. A couple of large glide cracks have opened north of the snowmachine up track to Seattle ridge. Odds are there are numerous more of these crevasse like features which may be difficult to see. People and dogs have fallen into these cracks before, and they can be very difficult to get out of. Sometimes these glide cracks will avalanche, but this does not appear to be a concern today. It’s always a good idea to treat glide cracks like cornices and avoid traveling underneath their path. Like cornices, glide cracks are very difficult to predict.
Always remember that safe backcountry travel requires training and experience. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.
Thanks for checking today’s avalanche advisory. Happy New Year.