Good morning backcountry travelers this is Jon Gellings with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, February 2nd 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).
The Friends of the CNFAIC (Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center) needs your thoughts! With a new staff of forecasters and a list of completed goals, the program is growing and potentially heading in new directions. The FCNFAIC wants to know what you have to say about YOUR avalanche center. Please complete the following, approximately 10 minute, anonymous survey by February 20th.
Click here to take survey
Also, a reminder of our spring fundraiser, Telepalooza. There will be a weekend of fun events at Alyeska, February 25-27. The fundraiser raffle will be held Saturday, Februrary 26th at the Sitzmark. The theme is “Rock Star”, and Hells Belles will be playing after the raffle. You need not be present to win, but stop by the Sitzmark to buy raffle tickets Thursday-Saturday evening and nights! There are tons of sweet prizes, so get your tichets!
A list of events at Telepalooza can be found at:
Today the avalanche hazard remains at CONSIDERABLE. Snow is starting to compete with rain at Center Ridge, bringing our storm total snowfall to 16” at 1800ft. There is much more at higher elevations. If out travelling today, careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision making are essential. Naturally triggered avalanches are possible, while Human triggered avalanches are likely. Small avalanches may be located in many areas, while a few large avalanches may be observed in specific areas.
The majority of avalanche fatalities occur on days of CONSIDERABLE Danger. We remain at CONSIDERABLE today due to the absence of observed large natural avalanches yesterday, and loading processes continue to build wind slab and stress an already touchy snowpack. Indications of a High danger rating are not currently seen by myself or some CNFAIC Staff forecasters, but the fact remains that there are Dangerous Avalanche Conditions in the backcountry right now. This forecast is a tool for your own decision making. Use it if you want to, but continue to monitor changes in the snowpack while in the field, as this is not written while on a mountain slope looking at snow grains.
Yesterday while touring on Sunburst, a strong soft slab was definitely observed above softer snow from early in the storm. Cornices were sensitive to the touch, and shooting cracks were definitely possible on steeper test slopes. A few small wet slabs had popped out toward the southern end of Seattle Ridge, but they all looked to have initiated in the elevation band where the rain/snowline rose to, which ended up being around 1600ft. Visibility was limited for the most part, but skies cleared a bit while approaching Sunburst ridgeline. From there, no recent avalanches of any size were observed on Magnum or Tincan, but visibility was marginal at best.
Some new evidence has come in regarding the Homecoming avalanche, which was across the highway from Magnum. Details include 37deg convexity with alders at crown, 30deg at bottom, ran 1500ft, 2-3ft deep with cross-loaded section at 8ft. The person who triggered it was carried 20ft, but was then able to regain traction on the bed surface.
Notice the size of the person on the left side of the picture. In one spot it stepped down to the ground. There are plenty of CNFAIC Staff slopes in the area that have a similar terrain setup, so they could be lying in wait for somebody to step near their trigger points (i.e. alders).
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
Winds are still blowing, with gusts above 50mph. Temperatures are quite warm, with rain again in the forecast for today. The snowline is forecasted to start descending this evening. Precipitation is still falling, with 1” SWE still in the forecast for the next 24hrs. Radar shows a moderate amount of precipitation in Prince William Sound heading toward us, while satellite images show warm, low level clouds in our area.
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-
500 AM AKST WED FEB 2 2011
.TODAY…SNOW AND RAIN. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 5 INCHES. HIGHS IN
THE 30S. EAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH EXCEPT EAST 20 TO 35 MPH THROUGH
PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.
.TONIGHT…SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2 INCHES. LOWS IN THE
LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE
VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH.
.THURSDAY…NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2 INCHES.
HIGHS IN THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH. THROUGH
PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 35 25 35 / 100 100 60
GIRDWOOD 36 24 32 / 100 90 70
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
Temperature 23 degrees. Wind gusting to 62 from the ENE.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
Temperature 29 degrees. Wind from the SE. Speeds currently inoperable.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
Temperature 32. 3″ new snow, 1” settlement. Total snow depth 88″.