Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
With little new snow and wind overnight, the avalanche danger rating above treeline has dropped to MODERATE. Below treeline the danger remains MODERATE. This means that human triggered avalanches are possible today and will most likely be confined to storm snow at all elevations or fresh wind slabs that built early yesterday morning, mainly above treeline. Additional avalanche concerns today come in the form of persistent slabs as this latest storm further adds weight to known weak layers in our snowpack.
The Chugach National Forest is looking for your comments in the Forest Plan Revision Process. Public meetings are being held this week and next in Seward, Soldotna, Anchorage, Cooper Landing, Moose Pass Cordova and Valdez. Forest Managers and decision makers are anxious to hear input from the people who live, recreate and make a livlihood on the Chugach National Forest. For more information and meeting dates click here.
Today looks to be the classic “Day after the storm” day. Storm totals were in the 1 foot range at mid-elevations with snow falling down to sea level. The winds, though potent at the beginning of the storm lessened around noon yesterday. As we are still within the 24-hour window directly after a storm, expect this most recent layer of storm snow to be touchy today, particularly in steeper terrain. Very little information is known above treeline as to how well storm snow is bonding given difficult travel yesterday, but we can assume tender wind slabs at higher elevations, chiefly below ridges and on west facing (leeward) slopes. These wind slabs may be covered up with a fresh coat of white given the lack of wind during the latter half of the storm.
Storm snow at around 1000’ did exhibit an upside down character and several point releases were observed where denser, surface snow was sliding on slightly older less dense snow. As this snow settles out today, I’d expect slabs to become more cohesive at lower and mid elevations where they may be reactive to a skier or snowmachine.
We continue to monitor a couple of known bed surface/ weak layers within our snowpack. The first is a series of crusts/ facet combinations formed in late January. Crusts are inherently slow to “heal” once buried and can act as a slick bed surface, promoting weak layers (facets) to form and persist for several weeks or more. The good news is that this crust is only present in a rather concentrated elevation band between 1900-3000 feet. The bad news is that crusts are persistent by nature and prove difficult to forecast for.
Then we have the deep slab issue that reared its head south of the Summit Lake region near Carter Lake on Monday. Though we have not seen recent signs of deep slab instabilities in the Girdwood or Turnagain region recently, this incident is a good reminder that weak, basal snow does exist region-wide and is more easily triggered in shallow areas where a skier or snowmachiner can influence the bottom of the snowpack.
This latest storm came in like a Lion and left like a Lamb. Easterly winds, most intense Tuesday evening as the front impacted our region brought around a foot of snow to mid-elevations yesterday, with higher elevations and some localized spots seeing more. Winds abated substantially during the later half of the storm as ridgetop temperatures briefly spiked around 1 PM.
An additional 1-2 inches of snow is expected today at all elevations as a weak low pressure slowly moves over our region. Winds will be in the 5-10 mph range from the southeast. Looking out toward the weekend there is a chance of snow everyday through Sunday as another front moves into the Gulf of Alaska.
Fitz will issue the next advisory on Friday, February 22st.
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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|
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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.