Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, February 25th 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 LOW this morning. Watch for a rapid and significant increase in the avalanche danger tonight as heavy snow and high wind enters the region. Until the weather changes, the avalanche danger will be limited to isolated pockets such as unstable cornices and sluffing on very steep terrain.
The last several days have been stable through Turnagain Pass. That trend will continue this morning, and possibly into the afternoon until the weather takes a turn. Get it while the gettin’s good, but keep an eye out for the big weather change.
As long as the wind stays calm, the avalanche danger should be isolated to manageable problems. Low avalanche danger does not mean no avalanche danger. Don’t drop your guard because of this forecast, and be ready for a possible change by sometime this afternoon.
Cornices have grown into huge overhanging lobes, especially on some West facing aspects. We recommend keeping your distance from these features and approaching with caution.
Loose snow sluffing may be an issue, but only in very steep terrain. This issue has diminished over the last several days. For the most part, skiers and snowmachines are floating over the top 6-12 inches of loose snow. The surface snow has enough density that it isn’t as prone to sluffing or entrainment issues as it was 3 days ago. You can still expect it on slopes steeper than 45 degrees.
Areas outside the core zone of Turnagain Pass may have local variations in the avalanche danger. Check out the photos/observations page for pictures of large avalanches from the last week. As always, evaluate the conditions based on what you find.
We haven’t had significant snowfall since Monday. Over the last few days we’ve had light wind and below freezing temperatures. Temperatures this morning are into the mid to low single digits at 3000 feet, but should rise quickly this morning.
Today, partly sunny skies in the morning will gradually digress into snow showers in the afternoon. The real weather change will occur tonight, when a large front sweeps across the region from the West. This system is expected to bring heavy snow and high wind late tonight and Sunday morning. A blizzard warning has been issued for Sunday starting at 3am.
CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast
Wendy will issue the next advisory Sunday 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.