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)
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.
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.
|01/26/21||Turnagain||Observation: Ridge near Seattle Creek Weather Station||Nick Ohlrich|
|01/26/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Alpine||Eric Roberts|
|01/25/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center ridge||Simon Garrard|
|01/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s||Mike Records|
|01/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Triangle bowl||Cooper Street|
|01/24/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Eddies||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/24/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Eddie’s||Jose Ramos-Leon|
|01/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Corn Biscuit||Troy Tempel|
|01/23/21||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
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: email@example.com
|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.