Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Wednesday, December 14th 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).
There will no advisory issued tomorrow. The next advisory will be issued Friday, December 16th, at 7am.
Don’t miss tonight’s big double premiere and CNFAIC benefit!! Teton Gravity Research’s “The Continuum” along with “One For the Road” will be playing at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill. More details are on our training and calendar page. Come on out!
The avalanche danger is moderate for new storm snow. Natural avalanches are not likely, but human triggered avalanches are possible in specific terrain. The snowpack is still adjusting to the significant extra weight from the storm over the weekend and more snow is expected today.
Sunny breaks in the weather yesterday gave us a good look around the mountains to see the aftermath of last weekend’s storm. Most of the natural avalanches happened during the peak of storm intensity, then got filled in and hidden by more snow. There isn’t much obvious evidence of avalanching through Turnagain Pass, but you will find some if you look hard enough. Nearly all the information yesterday pointed towards a stabilizing trend in the snowpack. The one anomaly was a reported glide avalanche on Raggedtop in Girdwood yesterday.
Snow pit data showed variable depth of the storm snow depending on aspect related to windloading. In some areas the storm pillowed 5-6 feet deep, CNFAIC Staff places it got scoured free of the ridges. Most slopes got a solid 2 feet of heavier snow, and we found decent bonding to the older snow underneath. Check out our pit data from yesterday HERE.
We got no reports of human triggered avalanches yesterday. Snowmachiners and skiers were doing some pretty good slope testing through Turnagain Pass with no problems that we know of.
All this information points to a stabilizing snowpack. Yesterday (48 hours after the heavy and intense storm) the snow was not reacting to human influence. Today, I expect the deeper stability to be improved further. We do have more snow in the weather forecast, so treat the additional load as an issue of its own.
The big storm from the weekend is now 3 days in the past. The Center Ridge weather station has lost 8 inches of snow depth due to settlement since Sunday. Up to 5 inches of snow could fall today, with 6 more tonight. Moderate to strong East wind at the ridgetops could be blowing this new snow and forming some new slabs.
Looking forward into Thursday and beyond, more snow is in the forecast. The incoming storms appear to have only mild intensity, but a little snow each day will eventually accumulate into a lot. Snow, wind, and temperatures in the mid 20s will be the norm for the next few days.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
I will issue the next advisory Friday morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.