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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

Archives
ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Tue, February 26th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Expires
Wed, February 27th, 2013 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

Continued light snowfall and strong wind overnight keeps us at the upper end of MODERATE in the backcountry today.   Expect to find wind driven snow above treeline with areas of triggerable wind slab and a slight possibility of natural avalanches in some areas.   Below treeline, some areas may have a buried reactive crust layer.  

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Tue, February 26th, 2013
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Storm Slabs
    Storm Slabs
Storm Slabs
Storm Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within new snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slabs typically last between a few hours and few days (following snowfall). Storm-slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Even light snowfall adds up over time and can become a probelm.  About 6 inches have fallen in Turnagain Pass and Girdwood in the last 24 hours.  Overnight wind was strong enough to transport quite a bit of snow.  Yesterday the surface snow up high was getting a “slabby” feel.  Even without any prominent weak layers, recent loading has the ability to build pockets of avalanche potential. 

Last night there was a natural avalanche reported near Kern creek just south of Girdwood that was large enough to affect the railroad.  This underscores the potential for more avalanches to happen despite only moderate amounts of new snow.  High wind yesterday played a large role in causing this avalanche.

Wind loading at higher elevation will be the most likely place to find trouble today.  Expect deeper and stiffer snow on west aspects with cross loaded north and south facing slopes. 

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.
More info at Avalanche.org

A series of ice crusts with associated weak layers have kept us thinking about the lower to mid elevation snowpack.  A couple days ago forecasters found collapsing and unstable pit results at 1200 feet elevation.   As we open the low elevation zones of Placer/Skookum and 20mile to snowmachines, this should be a concern to think about.  

The Placer/Skookum/20mile zones are poorly understood at this time due to a lack of information.  Expect to find moderate avalanche danger, but remember that those zones get different weather patterns and local variations may be found.

Weather
Tue, February 26th, 2013

The last few days have been consistent light snowfall with wind up high.   Yesterday and overnight new snow built to around 6 inches at mid elevations in Girdwood and Turnagain, and double that amount in Grandview.   Wind has gusted 40-50+ mph every hour since yesterday morning at Sunburst.   Temperatures have been in the 20s at high elevation to mid 30s at sea level.  

Expect more of the same weather today.   A large low complex south of Kodiak is affecting our region with snowfall across the gulf coast spilling over to Turnagain Arm.   Total precip will be a little less than yesterday and wind may diminish slightly as well.   The forecasted snow doesn’t look like a big addition to the avalanche danger, but reduced visibility may hamper our ability to see very much today.  


Graham will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning, Feb 27th

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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.