Good morning backcountry travelers this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, March 18th 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. New snow yesterday was limited to 2 inches or less in our region and did not have a significant affect on avalanche conditions. Wet snow avalanches are a minor possibility as it warms up this afternoon.
The snowfall yesterday hit Anchorage harder than Turnagain arm and the Kenai. Turnagain Pass received less than 1 inch of snow. Some areas got as much as 2 inches. The snow came without wind and had no visible change to avalanche conditions.
Over the last few days temperatures have been higher both at night and during the day. Warming of the snow at mid elevations has been evident but no significant avalanches have been caused by this change. The warmer temperatures are a factor to consider as we transition towards a Spring melt-freeze cycle. We’re not quite there yet, but be on the lookout for those heat induced avalanches.
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 notably thin. Persistent, weak, sugary snow underneath a harder slab is evident throughout these areas.
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
Yesterday’s snow was the big news of the month so far. Up to 2 inches fell in Summit and Girdwood. Less than 1 inch fell in Turnagain Pass. So far, this winter in Girdwood has been the driest in over 20 years. Light wind and above freezing daytime temperatures have been the norm over the last few days. Today, partly to mostly cloudy skies are expected. Daytime temperatures into the mid to upper 30s in the mountains. Our next chance of snowfall is Sunday but we haven’t fallen into a good precip pattern yet.
Wendy 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 FRI MAR 18 2011
.TODAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY IN THE MORNING…BECOMING PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS
IN THE LOWER 30S TO MID 40S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 TO 15 MPH
.TONIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. PATCHY FOG. LOWS 5 TO 25 ABOVE…COOLEST
INLAND. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SATURDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. PATCHY MORNING FOG. HIGHS IN THE
30S TO 40S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH 10 MPH NEAR SEWARD.
.SATURDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. LOWS 5 TO 25 ABOVE…COOLEST
INLAND. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH.
.SUNDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW IN THE AFTERNOON.
HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S TO LOWER 40S. EAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH.
.SUNDAY NIGHT…RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY. LOWS 25 TO 35.
.MONDAY AND MONDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW.
HIGHS 25 TO 35. LOWS IN THE 20S.
.TUESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AND RAIN. HIGHS IN
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 40 23 39 / 0 0 0
GIRDWOOD 39 16 37 / 0 0 0
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
19 degrees. Wind 5 mph or less.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
21 degrees. Very light wind.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
22 degrees. One inch new snow yesterday.