Good morning backcountry travelers. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Monday, March 14th 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).
Today the avalanche danger remains LOW. Be wary of regular backcountry hazards such as a cornice breaking off or an old wind slab popping out in steep terrain, such as rocky outcrops. Thin snowpack locations, mainly outside the Turnagain Pass area, still have a remote chance of triggering a deeper avalanche from wind loaded steep slopes.
It will be the usual backcounty hazards that are in effect today. Even when the hazard is LOW and the snow is welded in most locations, there is still an outside chance a person could get an ancient wind slab on an unsupported rocky feature or in a steep gully to pop out. Also, temperatures will be on the rise today relative to the past few days, nearing 30F, so keep an eye out for cornice falls on ridges and loose wet sluffing on south slopes.
Areas with less than 5-6′ of general snow cover, such as Summit Lake and locations just south of Turnagain Pass, have a remote possibility of triggering a larger avalanche that fails in the buried weak sugary snow near the ground.
It was yet anCNFAIC Staff fairly quiet weekend in the backcountry. A few reports came in of folks finding a little soft recrystallized snow in low angle shady sheltered terrain as well as a few southerly bowls warming just enough for slightly softer than boiler plate turns. Slide-for-life conditions remain on most slopes. Solid melt-freeze crusts are in place on south aspects with variable wind board on north while old sastrugi is widespread. Pit digging may require a chainsaw. There is a variety of snow surfaces to consider for how any new snow will interact in the future.
The holding pattern we have been in for weeks now may finally be moving on in a few days. Here are a few numbers from our last events:
24 days since the last snowfall.
16 days since the last wind event.
15 days since the last seen/reported avalanche breaking into the deep weak layers.
6-7 days since the majority of the wet loose point release avalanches during last weeks warm up.
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
Sunday was anCNFAIC Staff repeat sunny day. Winds were light from the east with temperatures a bit cooler reaching into only the mid-teens on the ridges. Overnight an inversion set in with temperatures dropping into to the single digits below 1000′ and are around the low teens above 1000′. Today warmer air moves in with the light east winds and temperatures should climb into the upper 20’s and low 30’s. It looks like the high pressure over the state will finally get pushed out later this week so a glimmer hope exists for some snow in the future.
Jon 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 AKDT MON MAR 14 2011
.TODAY…SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 30S. LIGHT WINDS
EXCEPT NORTH 20 MPH NEAR SEWARD AND WEST 25 TO 40 MPH NEAR WHITTIER.
.TONIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 5 TO 15 ABOVE EXCEPT AROUND 20 NEAR
SEWARD AND WHITTIER. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT WEST 20 TO 30 MPH NEAR
.TUESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. HIGHS IN THE
LOWER TO MID 30S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT WEST 10 TO 25 MPH NEAR
.TUESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS 15 TO
25 ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH.
.WEDNESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE
MORNING…THEN SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS IN THE
AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER 40S. VARIABLE WIND TO 10
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS
IN THE 20S TO LOWER 30S.
.THURSDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE 30S.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 32 18 33 / 0 0 40
GIRDWOOD 30 10 34 / 0 0 30
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
13 degrees at 6am. Light wind from the NE.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
12 degrees at 6am. Light wind from the NE.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
9 degrees at 6am. No new snow.