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Thu, April 15th, 2010 - 7:00AM
Fri, April 16th, 2010 - 7:00AM
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good Morning, this is Matt Murphy with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday April 15, 2010 at 7am. We are no longer issuing regular avalanche advisories for the rest of the 2009-2010 season, but that does not mean that the avalanche season is done.

First of all, we want to thank you for staying safe in avalanche terrain and helping make this avalanche center an important resource for South Central Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. Your observations help steer this operation in the right direction. Remember that your information could save a life; so, we want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to everybody that submitted observations this year. We’d also like to thank the Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center and our major funding partners. You are a great group of people with a passion of helping keep people safe in the backcountry, THANK YOU for all your support. Additionally, we want to thank:

-Alyeska Ski Patrol

-Alaska DOT

-Alaska Railroad

-Alaska Avalanche School

-Alaska Pacific University

-Chugach Powder Guides

-and many CNFAIC Staffs

for sharing important avalanche information for us to pass on to the backcountry community.

There are still plenty of weak layers including: pockets of buried surface hoar, sun crusts, a deep rain crust that formed January 7, and facets buried deep in the snowpack. We will see avalanches on these weak layers, especially:

-during the big spring thaw

-during storms

-within 24 hours of storms

-during times of direct sunlight

-rapidly warming temps

-during rain on snow events

Every year, there is a time when the snowpack completely falls apart due to the spring thaw. This could happen any time in the next couple weeks. Many times, this extremely dangerous avalanche cycle starts after 2-3 days of sustained above freezing temps at the ridgetop weather stations during periods of direct sun or intense rain. When that spring thaw happens, we all need to stay away from the mountains till this cycle is done. We will see large destructive avalanches that could fail on deep weak layers during that time.

Thanks for checking avalanche advisories this season. Stay tuned for periodic updates to the photo gallery and snow history. Have a great spring and summer.

Thu, April 15th, 2010
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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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.