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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Sun, April 3rd, 2011 - 7:00AM
Expires
Mon, April 4th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, April 3nd 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Hone your beacon skills and meet some new folks – The Friends of the CNFAIC and the Avy Savvy Gals will be operating the BCA beacon park at the Glen Alps trailhead parking in Anchorage today from 1-4pm. This is an excellent thing to do on a stormy, dangerous day in the backcountry, like today.

BOTTOM LINE

The avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on all slopes over 30 degrees with pockets of HIGH danger on steeper slopes at higher elevations. Strong winds and new snow have overloaded recently buried weak layers as well as created sensitive wind slabs. Widespread storm snow sluffing as well as wet activity at lower elevations with rain on snow is likely.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

If it’s snowing and it’s blowing expect the snow to move. Recent and ongoing strong winds and close to a foot of new snow overnight with 6 – 10” expected today (likely more at the higher elevations) has elevated the avalanche danger. Stay clear of avalanche run out zones such as gully bottoms and out from under all steep slopes.

We have two main problems out there:

Persistent slab avalanches –

These are deep and dangerous avalanches that can be found where 2 to 4 feet of snow from the past week overlies the old wind hammered March surface. Surface hoar and/or facets are sandwiched between these two layers and continue to be very reactive. Several avalanches have recently slid on these layers but many more hang in the balance. These slabs can release naturally with the added weight of the new snow or be initiated by a new wind slab breaking off from above. They are most common in the mid to upper elevations, including all aspects, and could propagate wide and run into the drainage bottoms.

Wind slabs and storm snow –

Winds have been gusting into the 60’s and higher for the past 24 hours and are transporting snow onto leeward slopes. These fresh wind slabs and cornices will be widespread and very ‘touchy’, likely to fail on their own today. Many southerly and mid elevation slopes have a variable crust under the last 24 hours of new snow which will encourage any wind slabs or storm snow sluffing to run fast and far. At and below treeline watch for wind slabs and storm snow to be sitting on a crust as well, allowing for soft slabs and sluffing likely on the steeper rollovers.

If skies clear enough for travel, expert level snow and terrain assessment skills will be required today.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

Obscured skies, afternoon snow showers and gusty wind were the scene yesterday as the approach of the storm over the gulf pushed into our area. Overnight 10 inches of snow fell at the center ridge SNOTEL site and the winds have been over 40mph with gusts over 70 from the east on the ridgelines. Temperatures have been in the 20’s at all elevations above 1000′ with the rain snow line near 1000′. Today we should see anCNFAIC Staff 6-10” of snow and continued strong winds, gusting in the 50’s. Expect limited visibility with the low clouds and temperatures to remain in the mid 20’s. Snow accumulation looks to decrease a bit overnight and into tomorrow.

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 SUN APR 3 2011

…STRONG WIND THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND

TURNAGAIN ARM…

.TODAY…SNOW AND RAIN. NO SNOW ACCUMULATION. HIGHS IN THE MID

30S TO UPPER 40S. NORTH TO EAST WIND 15 TO 30 MPH. THROUGH PORTAGE

VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN ARM…EAST 40 TO 55 MPH DIMINISHING TO 15 TO 30

MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.

.TONIGHT…NUMEROUS RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 1

INCH. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. NORTH TO EAST WIND 10 TO 20

MPH.

.MONDAY…CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS. HIGHS IN THE

UPPER 30S TO UPPER 40S. SOUTHEAST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH.

.MONDAY NIGHT…SCATTERED RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS IN THE

EVENING…THEN NUMEROUS RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS AFTER

MIDNIGHT. LOWS IN THE UPPER 20S TO MID 30S. SOUTHEAST WIND 10 TO

15 MPH EXCEPT EAST 15 TO 25 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND

TURNAGAIN ARM.

.TUESDAY…RAIN AND SNOW LIKELY IN THE MORNING…THEN RAIN LIKELY IN

THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO MID 40S. NORTHEAST WIND 15

MPH EXCEPT EAST 10 TO 25 MPH THROUGH PORTAGE VALLEY AND TURNAGAIN

ARM.

.TUESDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS

IN THE 20S.

.WEDNESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS 35 TO 45.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 43 34 43 / 100 60 40

GIRDWOOD 42 32 42 / 80 60 40

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

Currently 20 degrees. East wind 30mph gusting over 50mph.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

25 degrees. SE wind 25mph gusting over 45mph.

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

28 degrees at 6am. 10 inches new snow recorded.

Sun, April 3rd, 2011
Alpine
Above 2,500'
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
3 - Considerable
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
3 - Considerable
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.