Share your feedback! Share your feedback!

How’s our new website?
How can we better serve you?

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Fri, December 31st, 2010 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, January 1st, 2011 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, December 31st 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).

BOTTOM LINE

The avalanche hazard rating is CONSIDERABLE today. We have a little bit of new snow and high wind overnight. Wind slabs at upper elevations are the primary concern. Natural avalanches will be possible and human triggered avalanches likely in certain terrain. Expect smaller avalanches in many areas.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

We’re in the middle of a tough prediction cycle right now. The snowfall has generally fallen short of predictions, bringing 10-12 inches to Turnagain Pass the last few days. High wind has redistributed that snow up high, so wind slabs are a concern today.

Yesterday I predicted dangerous avalanche conditions and that never really happened. The storm broke early and left only 3 inches new snow by late morning. If you did make it into the backcountry you were treated to relatively safe conditions and good visibility. Since then the wind has continued and we have gotten a little more snow.

Primary concern: Wind slab. Wind blowing into the 50s, predominately from some variation of east at the ridges, means the western slopes will be loaded. Intense wind like this can sometimes drop the snow a little bit lower onto the slope, so be cognizant of depth early as you approach the ridges.

Secondary concern: Persistent weak layers. This new snow is sitting on top of many different suspect layers ranging from the Thanksgiving rain crust, facets, and buried surface hoar.

Added weight equals added stress. Any new stress on top of known persistent weak layers needs to be treated with respect, especially during the storm. If anyone notices avalanches breaking into these old weak layers please send us your observations.

During a storm cycle is a great time to use good terrain management to stay safe in the backcountry. Pay close attention to the wind distribution patterns and relative snow depth as you travel. Caution should be high at upper elevations, near ridges, and in any steep, high consequence terrain.

The problem with this setup is that it makes snow assessment difficult. We could be looking at moderate to considerable danger ratings for a while as the hazard never

really spikes and never really drops. We’re dealing with lots of unreliable weak

layers that are just waiting for that right amount of stress before they fail and

cause an avalanche. As our new snow has time to set up the slab we’re worried about gains strength and cohesiveness. Strength in the slab means that triggering becomes more difficult but potential avalanche size becomes larger.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

Yesterday’s predicted storm fizzled out pretty early. Turnagain pass received only 3 inches of slightly heavier snow, added to Wednesday’s 7 inches of light powder. During the day we got good visibility and saw very little evidence of avalanche activity. Overnight the wind picked up, gusting into the 50s in some areas. The temperature has also risen significantly. The freezing line is around 1500 feet, which means rain at lower elevations. Right now the storm continues but looks like it isn’t producing much in the Turnagain/Girdwood region. Flow is from the south, putting us in the rain shadow and giving Seward a direct hit. Today the same weather is predicted, with precipitation as rain or snow depending on elevation. High wind is expected to diminish this afternoon.

I 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…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

500 AM AKST FRI DEC 31 2010

…STRONG WIND THIS MORNING THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN

ARM…

…STRONG WIND SATURDAY THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH PORTAGE

VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…

.TODAY…RAIN…MIXED AT TIMES WITH SNOW OVER HIGHER ELEVATIONS AND

INLAND AREAS. ISOLATED AREAS OF LIGHT FREEZING RAIN INLAND. MOSTLY

CLOUDY THIS AFTERNOON WITH SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LITTLE

SNOW ACCUMULATION. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S. THROUGH PORTAGE

VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 35 TO 55 MPH DIMINISHING 10 TO

20 MPH BY AFTERNOON. ELSEWHERE…SOUTH TO EAST WINDS 15 TO 30 MPH

DIMINISHING TO 15 MPH THIS AFTERNOON.

.TONIGHT…SNOW LIKELY AFTER MIDNIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2

INCHES. LOWS IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH

INCREASING TO EAST 15 TO 30 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT.

.NEW YEARS DAY…SNOW IN THE MORNING…THEN RAIN AND SNOW IN THE

AFTERNOON. PRECIPITATION MAY BE HEAVY AT TIMES IN THE AFTERNOON.

SNOW ACCUMULATION 2 TO 6 INCHES…HIGHEST AMOUNTS INLAND AND AT

HIGHER ELEVATIONS. HIGHS IN THE 30S. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND

TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 35 TO 45 MPH INCREASING TO 50 TO 60 MPH IN

THE AFTERNOON. SOUTHEAST WINDS 20 TO 40 MPH ELSEWHERE.

.SATURDAY NIGHT…RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S TO

MID 30S. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 50 TO

60 MPH. ELSEWHERE…SOUTH TO EAST WINDS 20 TO 40 MPH.

.SUNDAY…RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S.

SOUTHEAST WIND 15 TO 30 MPH EXCEPT EAST 35 TO 50 MPH THROUGH

PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS IN THE 20S.

.MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW.

HIGHS IN THE 30S. LOWS IN THE 20S.

.TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF

SNOW. LOWS 15 TO 25. HIGHS 25 TO 35.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 35 27 36 / 90 80 80

GIRDWOOD 32 24 34 / 90 60 60

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

Temperatures into the mid 20s. Wind gusting to 58, consistently from the ENE and strongest the last few hours.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

Temperatures to 27 degrees. Max gust 52 from the ESE

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

About 0.3 inches of snow water equivalent fell since yesterday. Temperatures at or near freezing, so expect an inch or two of wet heavy snow.

Thanks to our sponsors!
Fri, December 31st, 2010
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Observations
Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/06/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face
04/10/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Wolverine
04/10/20 Turnagain Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder
04/09/20 Turnagain Observation: Bench Peak
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
04/04/20 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)
03/26/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Seattle Ridge
03/25/20 Turnagain Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′
03/24/20 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations
Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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.