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Issued
Thu, March 17th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, March 18th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

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).

BOTTOM LINE

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.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

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.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

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-

INCLUDING…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

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

MPH.

.TONIGHT…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SHOWERS IN THE EVENING…DECREASING

CLOUDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS 10 TO 25 ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. LIGHT

WINDS.

.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.

Thu, March 17th, 2011
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.
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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.