Good morning backcountry travelers this is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, March 19th 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. With only a skiff of new snow, light wind and mild temperatures recently, regular backcountry hazards exist. This includes a chance for a human triggered wet snow sluff on southerly slopes, cornice breaks or popping out a piece of a very old wind slab.
If the winds hold back and the sun stays out today southerly slopes may heat up enough in the afternoon for a person to possibly push some snow around. This is most likely where the snow cover is thin and around rocks in steep terrain. However, winds are forecast to increase slightly, into the teens on the ridges, which will hinder softening up of the snow.
Anyone venturing onto steep exposed ridges will want to keep an eye out for an old piece of wind slab or cornice to loosen up in the heat of the day which could potentially break off. Areas with less than 5′ of snow cover, mainly outside of Turnagain Pass, have a remote possibility of triggering a larger avalanche that fails in the buried weak sugary snow near the ground.
Challenging riding and skiing conditions remain out there. Slide-for-life situations continue on most upper elevation steep slopes with variable sun and hard wind crusts on southerly aspects and variable bulletproof wind board on northerly. All of these conditions sit under a trace to a couple inches of new snow.
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
Friday felt downright tropical with the prevailing sunny skies, warm temperatures, in the upper 20’s and 30’s, and calm winds. Currently skies are clear with temperatures fairly uniform in the upper teens and low 20’s from sea level to the ridgetops and winds have shifted to a more westerly direction remaining light. Today we should see mostly sunny skies with clouds possibly moving in later in the day. Temperatures will be warm, in the 20’s to low 30’s, with winds slightly increasing into the teens from the northwest.
Sunday, cloudy skies with a chance for snow is forecast, but it only looks like a trace as of now. Cloudy skies with a chance for scattered snow flurries also extends into mid-week.
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 SAT MAR 19 2011
…STRONG WIND SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON…
.TODAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. PATCHY MORNING FOG. HIGHS IN THE
LOWER 30S TO MID 40S. LIGHT WINDS. NORTH WIND 10 TO 20 MPH NEAR
SEWARD. NEAR WHITTIER…WEST WIND 15 TO 30 MPH BECOMING VARIABLE IN
.TONIGHT…INCREASING CLOUDS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS 10 TO 25
ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH.
.SUNDAY…RAIN AND SNOW BECOMING LIKELY BY AFTERNOON. NO SNOW
ACCUMULATION. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S TO LOWER 40S. SOUTHEAST WIND 15
TO 25 MPH EXCEPT EAST 30 TO 45 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND
.SUNDAY NIGHT…RAIN AND SNOW. LOWS 20 TO 30 ABOVE. EAST WIND 10 TO
25 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 20 TO 35
MPH DECREASING TO 10 TO 20 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT.
.MONDAY…NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING…THEN SCATTERED
SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S.
VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH.
.MONDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE
.TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW.
HIGHS 25 TO 35. LOWS IN THE 20S.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 39 25 41 / 0 0 70
GIRDWOOD 34 20 32 / 0 0 20
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
16 degrees. West wind 5 mph gusting to 10mph.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
21 degrees (station last report @ 1am). Light variable wind.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
23 degrees. No new snow.