Rain on snow will impact the below treeline areas today as this storm is bringing in warmer temperatures with rain up to 1500ft and heavy, wet snow below 3000ft. It is downright soggy on Turnagain Pass. This will be a good shock to the snowpack as it is the first significant load with warm temperatures at the mid-elevations. Natural avalanches are likely to release and send debris down gullies and into runout zones. There were 3 of these natural slides 24 hours ago on the front (east) side of Seattle Ridge – two of them covered highmarks across from the Turnagain Pass motorized lot. Today is not the day to play anywhere near or under slopes. In fact, it is a good day to stoke the fire and hunker down.
For the past week now we have seen several “Alaska style” storms that are putting down dense snow that is quickly bonding to itself. This normally would be a good thing, but this year the tabels are turned. The problem is we have a “Colorado style” base of weak faceted snow sitting underneath all this sticky Alaska snow. This has set the stage for the deep slab problem that will haunt us for a while. As of yesterday, we had a strong slab 3-6’ thick overlying 1-2′ of weak snow from October and November. Today, we will add another couple feet to that – making it a 4-7’ slab. Any avalanche triggered with a slab this thick is unmanageable and likely unsurvivable.
As far as storm snow concerns go, such as fresh wind slabs and instabilities within the new snow, they are out there at the upper elevations. However, the wet avalanche and deep slab problems are the most concerning today.
It has been six full days now with accumulated precipitation and varying degrees of strong east winds. Today the onslaught intensifies with a powerful storm churning in the Gulf. This is ushering in warmer temperatures with rain falling below 1500′. We can expect around 2 €“ 2.5 € of rain (20-30 € of dense snow above treeline) from overnight into this evening. So far this morning we have around 0.5″ of rain on Turnagain Pass with 1″ at mid elevations in the Girdwood Valley. Wind has been relentless from the east and is averaging 60mph with gusts over 100mph €“ which should remain though the day. Ridgetop temperatures are, and will continue to be, in the mid to upper 20’s F and mid to upper 30’s below treeline.
We are in a nice progressive pattern and should see a break Monday with another low moving in for Tuesday. This system looks to be a bit cooler but fairly potent.
Fitz will issue the next advisory on Near Year’s Eve – Monday morning, December 31st.
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding 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.