Good morning, this is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Sunday, November 13th 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).
The avalanche danger is MODERATE on all wind drifted slopes for wind slab and soft slab avalanches formed in the recent storm snow. Winds are forecast to remain strong enough to continue building wind slabs and drifts throughout the day in favored locations. Additionally, glide avalanches remain a concern and deserve respect.
Reminder of the Danger Rating system
One recent glide avalanche, a couple human triggered wind slab avalanches and several shooting cracks were reported yesterday. Check out the photo/observations page for a few of these details. Snowfall, low visibility and gusty winds kept many folks in the trees as well as limited the avalanche information for above treeline.
As skies begin to break up today and people venture onto the open slopes, wind slabs will be the primary concern. North and westerly winds have been gusting in the 30 to 40+ mph range, this is enough to blow the low density snow into wind pockets and slabs. Look for these on and off ridgelines, in gullies and below rollovers. Shooting cracks and stiff, hollow feeling snow are bulls eye clues you are on, or at the edge of, a wind slab. Additionally, keep an eye out for areas the storm snow has not bonded to the old surface. New snow sluffing and soft slabs may be easy to initiate and run far, especially in areas with a hard surface underneath such as an old wind slab.
Glide avalanches remain a legitimate concern. Because of their unpredictable nature, it is best to limit exposure around and below their dark cracks. These cracks may be hard to identify after the recent shot of new snow and filled in by the wind. They also may be lurking traps doors.
MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUNDUP
By this morning, there is around 8-12″ of low density snow in the Girdwood, Turnagain Pass and Summit Lake areas. 6-10″ fell yesterday with, what looks like, anCNFAIC Staff 2-4″ overnight. Winds were gusty yesterday but have picked up from the north and west, blowing in the 20-35mph range for the last 12 hours. Temperatures remain in the teens at the upper elevations. Today, scattered snow showers should diminish throughout the day as skies begin to clear. Expect winds to be from the west at 25-40 mph on the ridges with temperatures in the teens.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
We are in the season of Fireside Chats, free avalanche awareness talks from your local avalanche center. Show up on Wednesday nights at 7pm at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Girdwood. More details are on our training and calendar page.
WEBSITE CHANGES and INFO
We have expanded our photos page to include observations from both the CNFAIC forecasters as well as the public. Please keep checking this page as there will be lots of information to glean. Thanks to all the observations submitted so far!
Check out the training and calendar page on our site. Here you will find avalanche awareness talks and CNFAIC Staff education information. Including a link to an application for a snow safety scholarship offered by the Friends of the CNFAIC – a great opportunity! You must be a member but it’s donation based with a $10 minimum.
A huge thanks to all our current members for your support! The Friends could not do it without you and us without the Friends.
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.