Turnagain Pass RSS

ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Thu, November 21st, 2013 - 7:00AM
Fri, November 22nd, 2013 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

A storm is brewing.  

Many of us have been watching the satellite images, surface maps and model loops. How much snow are we going to get? How is the snow level going to fluctuate? Wind? Right now it looks like we will pick up between 1 and 2 feet on Turnagain Pass from tonight through Friday night. The snow level looks to rise mid storm, from sea level to 500ft, then cool off again for the tail end. Winds should be strong from the east.

Tune in tomorrow morning for our first official avalanche forecast!!

In anticipation of tonight’s and Friday’s weather, Kevin and I headed to Turnagain Pass to get one last look at the pre-existing snowpack. We ventured to Tincan – the most likely place to see the most folks recreating this weekend. See Kevin’s snowpack-before-the-storm VIDEO here  and photos below.  

Currently our mountains are covered with variable thicknesses of loose faceted snow. With 1 – 2 feet of new snow forecast to fall within 24 hours, it will be very likely natural avalanching will occur. This will be most pronounced at the mid and upper elevations. A person in avalanche terrain during and right after this storm should have a good chance of triggering an avalanche.  Awareness of people around you – both above and below – is essential. With most folks congregating on similar slopes (mostly due to lack of easy access to other areas), a slide triggered by one person that overruns another is something we need to keep in mind and avoid. Don’t leave your safe travel practices at home.

New Webcams!
Thanks to the AK DOT Avalanche Program there are two new webcams with snow stakes to peruse. These are on the Kenai, one is at  MP 45 across from the Summit Lake lodge  the other is at  MP 37 near the Sterling Y. The Summit Lake cam looks to be frosted over but hopefully the warm temperatures will clear it up soon.

Special Announcements

Early morning advisories, including danger ratings, will begin tomorrow, Friday November 22nd.   These will be issued  5 days a week on Friday/Saturday/Sunday with two mid-week forecasts. Starting in early December, we will be fully funded and staffed with the arrival of John Fitzgerald (aka “Fitz”) and  7 day a week forecasts will begin.

Thu, November 21st, 2013
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice 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.
Thu, November 21st, 2013

Winds have shifted and temperatures are climbing as the leading edge of a low pressure system approaches from the southeast. Check out the Sunburst temperature trace. Light snowfall should begin this afternoon and intensify later tonight. Models are showing around 1.5″ of water by tomorrow night. This equates to 15″ of medium density snow around 1,000′. We will likely see more in favored areas and at the higher elevations. Winds are from the SE and forecast to increase to 60mph on the ridgetops though tonight/tomorrow then back off to the 20’s by tomorrow evening. The peak of the storm looks to be midnight tonight. We may see some rain at sea level mid-storm and ridgetop temperatures climb to ~30F. Cold air in the teens should replace the warm air rather quickly however and by tomorrow evening snow returning to sea level.

Instability showers look to set in for Saturday and Sunday. We may squeak a few more inches out of these.

Below is the 10am Infrared satellite image that our friends at the NWS in Anchorage produce.  

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/27/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Ridge
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender
11/26/23 Turnagain Observation: Pete’s North
11/25/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan trees
11/21/23 Observation: Spokane Creek
11/20/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl
11/19/23 Other Regions Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Eddies
11/19/23 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
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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.