|Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
|Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
|Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential.
|Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended.
|Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
|Likelihood of Avalanches
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely.
|Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible.
|Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely.
|Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
|Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
|Avalanche Size and Distribution
|Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain.
|Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas.
|Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
|Very large avalanches in many areas.
While it has been almost a week since new slabs have formed, we are still seeing isolated areas with slabs that are reactive to the weight of a person. While avalanche activity has been on the decline, the potential remains for human triggered avalanches in steep upper elevation terrain. Yesterday was the first day with no reported human triggered avalanches in the last week. Several parties experienced collapsing in areas that had not previously seen traffic. This is an obvious sign of unstable snow. Snowpits from yesterday showed us that the potential remains for avalanches, if triggered, could propagate and entrain enough snow to injure or bury someone. While it’s easy to get complacent with a lack of obvious avalanche activity, remember that there is very weak snow lurking below the surface.
Look for winds to increase in the mountains today. With a limited amount of snow available for transport coupled with a trace of new snow, the chance exists for the formation of small new wind slabs. If you are observing wind blowing out of the east right in front of you, expect nearby west facing slopes to be receiving a new load of snow.
The clear and cold weather of the last several days will be replaced by clouds, wind and warmer temps today. A low pressure system moving south into the Gulf will skirt South Central Alaska. Look for flurries starting midday with accumulations of up to an inch of snow. Winds shifted overnight and are now blowing out of the east. Look for ridgetop winds to pick up for part of the day today with gusts in the 30-40 mph range. Temps will warm into the balmy teens today!
The longer term outlook shows a return to clear and dry conditions.
This is 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).
Kevin will issue the next advisory Wednesday morning, December 19th.
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin
|Observation: Lynx creek