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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sun, January 5th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Mon, January 6th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is HIGH today at and above treeline. The addition of 12-14+ € of new snow and strong wind is overloading weak snow near the ground. Large full depth avalanches 3+’ deep are very likely to be triggered by a person.  A CONSIDERABLE danger exists below treeline (below 2,000′) where triggering a slab avalanche 1-2′ deep is likely on steep slopes and rollovers.

Large avalanches can be triggered from a distance and from the bottom of a slope. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. This includes runout zones from slopes above.

*Don’t be fooled if the skies clear today, the avalanche danger remains  HIGH. This is based mainly on the travel advice portion of the danger scale. The height of the storm has passed but our weak snowpack and recent large avalanche incidents give reason to be very conservative in our backcountry travel.

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Sun, January 5th, 2014
Alpine
Above 2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • 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

Our tenuous snowpack is on the brink. During the past 24-hours we have added yet another load (1-1.5” of water equivalent). This may not sound like much for a coastal climate, but our snowpack has such a weak foundation that 12-14+” of new snow will impact it. The slab that overlies the weak faceted snow near the ground was around 2′ deep yesterday and today will be around 3′ deep.

There were multiple medium to large human triggered avalanches Friday. One of these claimed the life of a dog. A preliminary write-up can be found HERE. A party of a few skiers was able to initiate a collapse on a broad ridge and trigger 4 avalanches 50-300’ away simultaneously. Additionally, two large avalanches were remotely triggered in Seattle Creek. These avalanches are breaking in the weak snow near the ground and taking most of the snowpack along with it. The character of remote triggers and close to full depth slides is a scary combination. With this new load and warming temperatures expect avalanches to be easier to trigger and larger today.

 

Below is an image of the large Tincan avalanche from Friday. (Photo: Kevin Wright)

Avalanche Problem 2
  • 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

Instabilities within the new storm snow will be prevalent today but these issues are trumped by the bigger problem at hand – mentioned above. The new snow came in with both strong East winds and warming temperatures. This means there are both wind slabs from the wind and soft slabs from the upside-down nature of the storm. These new snow issues are in the top 1-2’ of the pack and will result in avalanches around 1-2’ deep. 

Weather
Sun, January 5th, 2014

A wet, warm and windy storm has moved through the Easter Turnagain arm beginning yesterday morning and is now exiting. During the past 24-hours we have seen 12-14 € of snow (likely more at the upper elevations) and rain below 500ft. Winds have been consistently strong from the East averaging 40mph with gusts up to 84mph. Temperature has been in the mid 20’s F on ridgetops and increased to the upper 20’s overnight with sea level temperature in the mid to upper 30’s.

Storm totals to date (beginning 7am yesterday, Friday 1/4):

Girdwood Valley (2800ft) €“ 14 € snow (1.28 € water)
Turnagain Pass (1880ft) €“ 12 € snow (1 € water)
Summit Lake (1400ft) €“ 2 € snow (.1 € water)

Today snowfall will taper off with a chance for 1-4 € additional accumulation. However, the strong East wind will remain with averages near 40mph. Temperature also remains warm €“ upper 20’s on the ridgetops and low 30’s at 1,000′.

For tomorrow, a smaller system develops that could add 4-8 € of snow. This looks to also be a warm and windy event.  Stay tuned.

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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, October 26th, 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
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.