It is another wet and windy storm day in the Girdwood and Turnagain Pass area. Light rain fell yesterday up to 2000’ and has intensified overnight. Rain will persist through the day today adding up to another .75” of water. That said, wet avalanches due to continued rain on snow will be the main concern below treeline.
We have seen very little natural avalanche activity since Friday’s heavy rain event and widespread avalanche cycle. However, there was one wet slab noted on the Southeast face of Seattle Ridge just below treeline (photo below). This avalanche is one of the smaller wet slabs we have seen lately but it does show that the pack is still adjusting to the rain on snow – this can also be seen in Fitz’s video HERE from Sunday. With today’s increase in precipitation we could see a few more natural wet slabs release.
Natural wet slab avalache likely occurring Sunday or very early Monday. (1800′, SE facing, 12-18″ deep x ~150′ wide)
Above treeline our snowpack is getting deeper by the day. We have had up to 3’ of dense heavy snow fall since Thursday night. Yes, this is good news for the upper elevations in the long term, but for the moment it is creating a dangerous deep slab avalanche problem. The weak faceted snow near the base of the snowpack was overloaded by Friday’s rapid loading event and several large full-depth avalanches occurred. Some of these propagated across entire slopes and deposited deep debris piles. This natural activity has since settled down and stability tests show likelihood of triggering becoming harder and harder but if it does go a deep and destructive avalanche is likely. With the continued stormy weather, warm temperatures, and very little upper elevation information, the deep slab issue continues to deserve much respect.
In short – this is a highly unpredictable but highly consequential avalanche problem.
In the upper elevations (above 2,500’) where it has been and will continue to snow, storm snow instabilities will be a concern. These are mainly in the form of wind slabs near the upper elevation ridgelines. The Easterly winds have been strong for over 24-hours on the ridgetops. Though wind slabs were abundant yesterday around 3,000’ they were shallow (6-8″ thick), stubborn and hard to crack. However, the higher one goes in elevation the more sensitive, and larger, they should be.
Cornices have been growing substantially the past several days. A cornice fall right now has the potential to trigger a large deep slab avalanche. This is one more reason to steer clear of runout zones.
Another pulse of warm, wet and windy weather is over us currently. During the past 24-hours we have seen .7 € of rain at the Turnagain Pass SNOTEL (1880′). Another .75 of rain is expected today. Temperatures have been in the upper 20’sF on the ridgetops and low 40’sF at sea level. Wind has been strong with averages around 50mph and gusts to 96mph from the East.
Temperatures today are expected to be in the mid to upper 20’s on the ridgetops and low 40’s at sea level. The rain/snow line will be around 2000′ once again with .75 € of rain expected below this and up to 8 € of heavy snow up high. Winds will remain out of the East with averages in the 60-70mph range.
The next several days look to remain warm and stormy. Models are hinting at a possible clearing by the weekend.
|01/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain Pass Road Obs.||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/16/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Trees||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
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.