Turnagain Pass RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Fri, December 3rd, 2010 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, December 4th, 2010 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
CNFAIC Staff
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers this is Matt Murphy with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, December 3rd at 7am. 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). This advisory will expire 24 hours from the posting date/time.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The National Weather Service has issued a BLIZZARD WARNING for today. If the weather hits us the way they are forecasting, then it will increase the avalanche danger this afternoon and evening. This storm looks like it is going to pack a big punch.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

-TEMPS: Are warming at lower elevations by 7-10 degrees compared to yesterday.

-PRECIP: 0.0 inches of water fell within the past 24 hours. The National Weather Service is forecasting significant precip today that will increase the avalanche danger if it hits us.

-WIND: Ridgetop winds have been mostly light in the last 24 hours, but are increasing at all ridgetop weather stations this morning with strong gusts up to 36mph. These increasing winds support the forecast by the National Weather Service for a BLIZZARD WARNING today.

TEMPS, PRECIP and WIND are the 3 main weather factors that affect avalanche conditions. 2 out of these 3 are forecasted to increase today; which, will also increase the avalanche danger.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

Today’s avalanche danger rating is based on complete speculation due to the high confidence level of the National Weather Service with today’s weather forecast. Right now, as of 6am this morning, the avalanche danger is MODERATE. We are already, however, seeing strong gusts on ridges. If we get new precip in addition to these winds, the avalanche danger will increase rapidly to CONSIDERABLE. If this blizzard hits us, dangerous avalanche conditions will exist. Statistics show that the majority of avalanche deaths occur when the avalanche danger is rated CONSIDERABLE.

The 3 main ingredients for an avalanche are:

1. a slab

2. a weak layer

3. a bed surface.

Our current snowpack conditions include a BED SURFACE (check!) consisting of a 1/4 inch thick rain crust that extends up to the ridgetops that is widespread throughout the Turnagain Arm area. This crust has all the characteristic to become a very dangerous bed surface because it has a couple of inches of light, dry, cold snow sitting on top of it. This layer of cold snow will act as a WEAK LAYER (check!) if a dense wind slab forms on top of it.

The only ingredient we are currently missing is a significant wind slab. If the weather forecast becomes reality, then NATURAL AVALANCHES will become possible, and HUMAN-TRIGGERED AVALANCHES will become likely.

MEDIUM to LARGE AVALANCHES on specific terrain like steep wind loaded slopes near ridges will be the primary concern today. Secondary concerns will include small avalanhces on steep rollovers in many areas. Glide Crack Avalanches are also still a secondary concern.

The glide cracks and glide avalanches continue to be present, with new ones being observed region-wide on a daily basis. Be aware of your travel routes and try to avoid spending time below the cracks. The only way to reduce your risk from glide avalanches is to avoid traveling below the obvious cracks.

This photo (taken 11/16/2010) shows a good example of a glide avalanche and a glide crack on the southern aspect of Cornbiscuit. For scale take note that the crack is 4-6 feet deep. The glide crack on the left hand side of this photo has already avalanched; while, the glide crack on the right is still a hazard that could avalanche any day. Avoid traveling underneath glide cracks just like the one on the right hand side of this photo.

The Nation Weather Service weather forecast for:

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…

MOOSE PASS

1044 PM AKST THU DEC 2 2010

…BLIZZARD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 9 PM AKST FRIDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ANCHORAGE HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD

WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TO 9 PM AKST FRIDAY. THE

BLIZZARD WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

A WEATHER FRONT WILL BRING STRONG WIND AND HEAVY SNOW TO WESTERN

PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND BEGINNING AT MIDDAY FRIDAY AND ENDING DURING

THE EVENING. SOUTHEAST WIND WILL INCREASE TO 40 TO 55 MPH ACROSS

THE REGION WITH 50 TO 65 MPH WIND EXPECTED IN PORTAGE VALLEY AND

TURNAGAIN ARM. SNOWFALL OF 4 TO 8 INCHES WILL COMBINE WITH THE

WIND TO PRODUCE BLOWING SNOW. VISIBILITIES WILL BE REDUCED BELOW

ONE QUARTER MILE AT TIMES UNTIL WINDS DIMINISH IN THE EVENING.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE

EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS

AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITE-OUT

CONDITIONS…MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. ALL TRAVEL AND

OUTDOOR ACTIVITY IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.

&&

$$

FPAK51PAFC_AKZ125

—————–

AKZ125-040100-

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-

INCLUDING…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

500 AM AKST FRI DEC 3 2010

…BLIZZARD WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM 9 AM THIS MORNING TO

9 PM AKST THIS EVENING…

.TODAY…SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW DEVELOPING THIS MORNING AND BECOMING

HEAVY AT TIMES IN THE AFTERNOON. VISIBILITY ONE QUARTER MILE OR

LESS AT TIMES. SNOW ACCUMULATION 4 TO 10 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE

MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. SOUTH TO EAST WIND INCREASING TO 25 TO 45 MPH

WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.

.TONIGHT…SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW TAPERING OFF OVERNIGHT. VISIBILITY

ONE QUARTER MILE OR LESS AT TIMES IN THE EVENING. ADDITIONAL SNOW

ACCUMULATION 3 TO 7 INCHES. LOWS IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S…

COLDEST INLAND. SOUTH TO EAST WIND 25 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS TO

55 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…DECREASING TO

10 TO 20 MPH BY MIDNIGHT.

.SATURDAY…A CHANCE OF SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING…THEN SNOW

SHOWERS LIKELY IN THE AFTERNOON. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2 INCHES.

HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S TO MID 30S. SOUTHEAST WIND 15 MPH.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 33 29 33 / 100 100 70

GIRDWOOD 29 25 32 / 100 100 70

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

3800′-Sunburst Wx Station

Temp: (5am): 15 (2 degrees colder than yesterday morning)

Winds: In last 24 hours have been light to moderate averaging 1-28mph with strong gusts up to 26mph

2400′-Seattle Ridge Wx Station

Temp: (5am): 18 (1 degree warmer than yesterday morning).

Winds: In last 24 hours have been light to strong averaging 1-29mph with a strong max gust of 36mph.

1800′-Center Ridge Wx Station

Temp: (6am): 24 (8 degrees warmer than yesterday)

Precip: 0.0″ in last 24 hours 44″ total snowpack depth (minus 1″ due to settlement)

The next advisory will be issued tomorrow Saturday morning 12/4/2010 at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or call and leave a message at 907-754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

Fri, December 3rd, 2010
Alpine
Above 2,500'
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
3 - Considerable
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.
Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
02/25/24 Turnagain Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
02/24/24 Turnagain Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
02/22/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Lynx Creek
02/22/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
02/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
02/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan
02/20/24 Turnagain Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
02/19/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
02/18/24 Turnagain Observation: Lynx creek
Riding Areas

The riding areas page has moved. Please click here & update your bookmarks.


Subscribe to Turnagain Pass
Avalanche Forecast by Email

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.