Good morning. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, December 29th 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 steep slopes today for loose snow avalanches. Human triggered sluffs will be possible, and though often a manageable situation, could be more dangerous if tripped up in unforgiving terrain. There are also pockets of MODERATE danger in isolated steep upper elevations for lingering wind slabs and cornice breaks. Outside these areas the danger is generally LOW.
The last few days of intermittent snow showers, cold temperatures and light winds have made for some pleasant riding conditions in our area. The only avalanche activity seen or reported the last two days has been loose snow avalanches. These have been mostly minor and not packing much punch.
Today’s primary concern will continue to be loose snow sluffing. Human triggered sluffs will be possible to initiate in the steeper terrain. Though these types of avalanches are typically manageable, there is still a chance a person could get knocked off their feet and sent over rocks or a cliff. “Sluff management” techniques could be a useful tool today.
The second concern will be triggering a lingering wind slab or cornice break. Though it has been over 24 hours since the last wind loading event and the pack has mostly adjusted, there are always some isolated areas that could surprise you, especially in the steep upper elevations where the snowpack is more variable.
Yesterday, we saw partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the single digits. A trace of snow fell over the course of the day with light westerly winds on the ridges. Overnight, temperatures have dropped into the negative single digits above 3000′ and are just above 0F at 1000′. Winds remain light from the west, blowing around 5mph on the Sunburst Ridge.
Today we have anCNFAIC Staff cold day on tap. Temperatures are currently hovering around 0F and will have a hard time rising into the double digits. However, the good news is, the winds will be calm as we sit under the center of a large low pressure system. Expect partly to cloudy skies with a chance for a flurry or two as clouds filter in and out through the day.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
Kevin will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning. 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.