Good morning backcountry travelers this is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, March 20th 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).
Due to the large number of people calling in since 6:30 this morning I was not able to update the hotline on time. PLEASE wait till 7:00 to call in so we are able access the phone line. Thank you.
Outside our forecast area:
There was a human triggered avalanche accident in the Hatcher Pass area yesterday. We are currently waiting for more details.
The avalanche danger today is LOW. Keep an eye out for regular backcountry hazards such as triggering a small wet sluff or an old wind slab which could pop out in steep rocky terrain. Also, give cornices a wide berth on ridgelines.
Normal caution is advised today. There is a slight chance a person could trigger a wet loose sluff at lower elevations or a cornice fall on ridgelines. However, with clouds streaming in and winds increasing any softening of the snow surface should be kept to a minimum. Also, there is small possibility someone could trigger an old wind slab on steep unsupported rocky features or in steep gullies.
Any new snow today will be around a trace falling in the afternoon. Surface conditions remain very firm with variable sun crusts and hard wind board in most locations.
Thin snowpack areas, generally less than 5′ of snow cover, such as the interior Kenai, have an unlikely possibility of triggering a larger avalanche that fails in the buried weak sugary snow near the ground. This deeper weakness has been lying dormant for three weeks now and the big question is how much new snow it will take to reactivate it. Looking into the near future, only 1-2” is expected for Monday. However, as we enter into a more unsettled weather pattern keep in mind even smaller snow events, upwards of several inches, could change avalanche conditions dramatically.
Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.
Saturday clear skies prevailed with temperatures in the 20’s with light westerly winds. Currently skies are partly cloudy with temperatures in the upper teens and low 20’s and winds have shifted to the southeast. Today we should see clouds building in and southeast winds increasing to gusts near 30mph. Snow flurries begin in the afternoon with a trace accumulating and temperatures will be in the 20’s to 30F.
Tonight it looks like 1-2” are possible with the remainder of the week forecast for clouds and scattered snow showers. Currently snow accumulations are forecast to be small.
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 SUN MAR 20 2011
…STRONG WIND THIS MORNING THROUGH THIS EVENING THROUGH PORTAGE
VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…
.TODAY…RAIN LIKELY ALONG THE COAST. MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF
RAIN AND SNOW IN THE INTERIOR. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 30S TO LOWER 40S.
SOUTHEAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN
ARM…EAST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH INCREASING TO 30 TO 45 MPH BY AFTERNOON.
.TONIGHT…RAIN AND SNOW. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 2 INCHES THROUGH
TURNAGAIN PASS. LOWS 20 TO 35…COOLEST INLAND. EAST WIND 10 TO 25
MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST WIND 25 TO 40
MPH DECREASING TO 10 TO 20 MPH AFTER MIDNIGHT.
.MONDAY…NUMEROUS RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1
INCH. HIGHS IN THE 30S. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT EAST 15 TO 30 MPH
THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.
.MONDAY NIGHT…NUMEROUS RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE MID TEENS
TO LOWER 30S…COOLEST INLAND. VARIABLE WIND 10 MPH EXCEPT EAST
15 TO 30 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.
.TUESDAY…NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 30S.
EAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH EXCEPT EAST 10 TO 25 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE
VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM.
.TUESDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW. LOWS IN THE 20S.
.WEDNESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AND RAIN. HIGHS
IN THE 30S.
TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION
SEWARD 41 26 38 / 80 100 60
GIRDWOOD 32 20 32 / 40 60 50
WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:
-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-
19 degrees. Southeast wind 12mph gusting to 17mph.
-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
21 degrees. Southeast wind 11mph gusting to 20mph.
-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-
20 degrees. No new snow.