Good morning, this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, November 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).
Not much has changed over the last few days. The cold weather continues this morning with below zero temperatures. Avalanche danger is generally LOW through Eastern Turnagain Arm including Turnagain Pass. Our heightened concern remains for the glide avalanche activity and wind slabs formed earlier in the week. MODERATE avalanche danger can be found in those specific areas.
Our most recent major clues to avalanche activity are a few days old now. This report from Wednesday came during high wind in Turnagain arm. I expect most of the upper elevation areas got winded, but the wind slabs that formed are now stiff and difficult to trigger.
The glide cycle in recent weeks is the wild card right now. We’ll see if the cold weather puts them into hibernation. At this point we don’t have enough information yet to call them docile, so it is still prudent to exercise caution around and underneath the glide cracks.
One piece of information we got over the last couple days was strong proof of faceting regionwide. This is what happens with cold weather and a shallow snowpack. Check out Wendy’s pit profile from Summit here. Also a pit that Graham and I did yesterday here. The biggest take home message from these pits is that the current snow is weakening from the temperature gradient (a large change of temperature across a short distance), and it’s getting worse the longer we have cold weather. Remember, this isn’t a problem now, but it could be when new stress (snowfall) gets deposited on top of this base. We’ll keep you posted if this turns out to be a problem in the future.
Read more about faceting here and watch the animation for a good visual of the faceting process.
MOUNTAIN WEATHER ROUNDUP
The predicted warmup yesterday never materialized. We do have a slight inversion in some areas. Portage is reading –15, Granite creek –20 this morning. Ridgetop stations are generally in the low single digits with Sunburst at 3 and Seattle ridge at 1 degree. Wind has been light over the last 24 hours. The predicted warmup and snowfall is still in the forecast starting tonight and going into next week. Expect clouds and snowfall to start this afternoon/evening.
A reminder that all areas for winter snowmachine riding in Chugach National Forest remain closed. Keep checking this website for the latest updates.
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.
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.