Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, December 22nd 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 is a MODERATE avalanche danger today for wind slab avalanches. Watch for lingering wind slabs formed during Wednesday’s early morning wind and snow event, as these will be possible to be human triggered. Areas most suspect will be steep terrain with recent wind deposited snow.
Yesterday, we had one report of a small skier triggered wind slab avalanche in the Turnagain Pass area. In general, it seems most folks have been sticking to the soft, wind sheltered, snow near and below treeline. Above treeline, the snow is quite wind effected with variable riding conditions.
Today’s primary concern will be human triggered lingering wind slab avalanches. These formed during Wednesday’s early morning 70+mph winds and 6-16” of snow. Anyone traveling in steep terrain will want to keep an eye out for hollow feeling wind pillows and any cracking around your sled or boards. Also, keep an eye out for looming cornices that could fail under the weight of a snowmachine and/or person. These cornices have grown substantially during the past 2 ½ weeks of stormy weather.
Of note, there have been a few recent glide avalanches in the Girdwood Valley over the past few days.
Under mostly clear to partly cloudy skies overnight, temperatures have cooled into the teens at most upper elevations and mid 20’s F at the mid elevations. A slight inversion has set up with temperatures in the low 20’s near sea level. Winds have been light to moderate from the northwest on the ridges.
Today, a large low pressure system that is spinning in the Gulf is spilling clouds our way. By the afternoon/evening skies look to fill in with a chance for a few inches, and possibly more, of snow tonight. Winds look to remain light to moderate on the ridgelines from the northwest. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 20’s F today and will continue to decrease with the cold northerly flow into the weekend.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
Kevin will issue the next advisory Friday morning. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button on right hand side or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.