Turnagain Pass RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Thu, December 23rd, 2010 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, December 24th, 2010 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Jon Gellings
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers this is Jon Gellings with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, December 23rd 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Placer River and the Skookum Drainage are opened to motorized use today on 12/23. Adequate snow is present to prevent resource damage. These areas consist of the lands south of Portage Valley, and west to the ridgeline above the Placer valley. Twentymile motorized corridor is still closed to motorized use until adequate snow falls to prevent resource damage.

BOTTOM LINE

Today the avalanche hazard is LOW, with pockets of MODERATE. Natural avalanches and human triggered avalanches are unlikely for the most part, while small human triggered avalanches are still possible in steep upper elevation windloaded terrain. Be on the lookout for pockets of sensitive wind slab in isolated areas at upper elevations.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

Nothing is changing rapidly in our snowpack in Turnagain Pass. December 3rd was our last big snow day, which gave us 10″ of new snow at Center Ridge. Since then, not much has been happening besides weakening of the surface snow and the snow grains around the Thanksgiving Rain Crust. Even though we are not currently seeing much in the way of new avalanche activity, our present surface snow will likely be very conducive to avalanches whenever we get anCNFAIC Staff large precipitation or wind storm. The Thanksgiving Rain Crust has been observed anywhere from 4″ down, to well over 4ft down. Faceting processes are not presenting themselves in the deeply buried areas, but sluffing of the top several inches of low density snow was presenting itself.

We have also been seeing a few buried layers of surface hoar in areas, and some have been in all areas. Most have been constructed during inversions since the first week of December, and are usually easily located at middle elevations. It has proven tricky to find these layers without a question in many areas, but the most reactive layer has been spotted repeatedly about 4-6″ above the Thanksgiving Rain Crust. Luckily it has very little energy, and would not likely propagate a fracture. Be alert when travelling through areas where surface hoar tends to be preserved, such as wind-protected areas near trees and large rocks, as well as gullies and chutes where winds are unable to blow the surface hoar grains over.

For those of you who plan on going to recreate in the Placer and Skookum areas, be mindful that the track is currently not placed, and that there may be many hidden hazards on your way to your destination. Always ride with a friend, and have communication devices in case a stranding occurs due to equipment malfunctions. Cell phones have limited reception in areas of these drainages, so bring a backup communication device in case the cell phone can not get a good tower.

Check out an encyclopedia of terms here: www.fsavalanche.org/Encyclopedia.aspx

WEATHER ROUNDUP

We no longer have an inversion, with temperatures being colder as you gain elevation. Winds have been very consistent over the past 24 hours, as evidenced by the wind roses on the weather page. A Strong Wind Warning is issued by the NWS for the Whittier area, so be careful if recreating there today. This weather event is due to a large pressure gradient between the 1042mb High pressure giving us clear weather, and the 977mb Low pressure out near SE Alaska. The radar is currently clear again today, so expect sunny skies again today. Satellite images also suggest that our area will be clear of thick clouds. The National Weather Service is predicting that the next time we see falling snow will be on Christmas.

Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry give us a call at 754-2369 or send us your observations using the button at the top of this page. Thanks and have a great day.

The NWS weather forecast for:

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-

INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…

MOOSE PASS

512 AM AKST THU DEC 23 2010

…HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKST TODAY NEAR

WHITTIER…

A HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKST TODAY.

SOUTHWEST WINDS 25 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS 55 TO 75 MPH WILL PERSIST

NEAR WHITTIER THROUGH LATE THIS MORNING AND THEN BEGIN TO SLOWLY

DIMINISH THIS AFTERNOON.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A HIGH WIND WARNING MEANS A HAZARDOUS HIGH WIND EVENT IS EXPECTED

OR OCCURRING. PEOPLE ARE URGED TO SECURE LOOSE OBJECTS THAT COULD

BE BLOWN AROUND OR DAMAGED BY THE WIND.

INCLUDING…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

500 AM AKST THU DEC 23 2010

…HIGH WIND WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON AKST

TODAY NEAR WHITTIER…

…STRONG WIND THROUGH LATE THIS AFTERNOON NEAR SEWARD…

.TODAY…SUNNY. HIGHS ZERO TO 15 ABOVE INLAND AND IN THE LOWER 20S

ALONG THE COAST. NEAR SEWARD…NORTH WIND 15 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS

TO 45 MPH. NEAR WHITTIER…SOUTHWEST WIND 25 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS

55 TO 75 MPH. ELSEWHERE…NORTH TO WEST WIND TO 15 MPH.

.TONIGHT…CLEAR. LOWS 5 BELOW TO 20 BELOW INLAND AND IN THE

TEENS ALONG THE COAST. NEAR SEWARD…NORTH WIND 10 TO 25 MPH

WITH GUSTS TO 35 MPH. NEAR WHITTIER…SOUTHWEST WIND 15 TO 30 MPH

WITH GUSTS TO 50 MPH. ELSEWHERE…LIGHT WINDS.

.FRIDAY…SUNNY. HIGHS 10 BELOW TO 5 ABOVE INLAND AND 15 TO 20

ABOVE ALONG THE COAST. NEAR SEWARD…NORTH WIND 10 TO 25 MPH.

NEAR WHITTIER…SOUTHWEST WIND 15 TO 25 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH.

ELSEWHERE…LIGHT WINDS.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 22 11 18 / 0 0 0

GIRDWOOD 6 -5 6 / 0 0 0

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

recorded light west winds yesterday averaging 6-10mph and temps dropping from 14F to 5F. The current temp is 6F with 8mph winds out of the west.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

recorded mostly light north winds yesterday averaging 4-10mph. Temps increased from 4F to 8F during the day. The current temp is 10F with light 4mph winds out of the north.

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

recorded no new snow since Monday’s 1″. Temps yesterday warmed up from 2F to 10F. The current temp is 11F with a sensed total snowpack depth of 53 inches.

Thu, December 23rd, 2010
Alpine
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
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.