Good morning backcountry travelers this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, March 17th 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’s avalanche danger rating is LOW. Changing weather conditions will put us on a slight rising hazard trend today. Warmer weather is enough to grab our attention. New snow today is predicted to be small amounts, but should be monitored closely. A larger amount of new snow is unlikely to bond well to our old surface snow and may shed naturally.
The weather pattern change should wake us up and get us thinking about avalanches again. Only 1-4 inches of snow is forecasted for today, but it will be the first we’ve had in 3 weeks. The dry interval without snow is the significant factor here. Any long period without snow will increase the chances of avalanches the next time it does snow. Our interest today is finding out how well the new snow bonds to the old surface.
The elevated temperature over the last 2 days is also something to consider. The heavy freeze at night was replaced by mild nighttime temperatures. This means that it takes less heat during the day to bring the snowpack up to the melting point. Yesterday was one of the warmest days we’ve had. Wet snow avalanches may be possible as it warms up today.
An isolated chance of triggering deeper avalanches exists in shallow snowpack areas. This is generally outside of the core Turnagain Pass in the interior Kenai or anywhere that the snowcover is thin.
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
The last few days have been warmer, with nighttime temperatures in the upper 20s. Highs yesterday were into the 30s. Up to 4 inches of snow today in Girdwood. As of 6am this morning it has already started to snow a little. Light wind, 5-15mph from the Southeast.
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-
500 AM AKDT THU MAR 17 2011
.TODAY…SNOW…MIXED WITH RAIN AT LOWER ELEVATIONS. SNOW
ACCUMULATION UP TO 3 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE 30S. VARIABLE WIND TO 10
.TONIGHT…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…DECREASING
CLOUDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS 10 TO 25 ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. LIGHT
.FRIDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S TO MID 40S. LIGHT
WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 TO 15 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.FRIDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. PATCHY FOG. LOWS 15 TO 25…COOLEST
INLAND. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SATURDAY…SUNNY. PATCHY FOG IN THE MORNING. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S
TO MID 40S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 15 TO 25.
.SUNDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE 30S.
.SUNDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY. LOWS IN THE 20S.
.MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW.
HIGHS 25 TO 35. LOWS 15 TO 25.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 37 23 39 / 80 0 0
GIRDWOOD 37 17 38 / 100 40 0
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
23 degrees. Light wind from the East.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
26 degrees. Light wind from the SE.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
30 degrees. No measureable snow as of 0600.