The snowpack continued to degrade yesterday under a tenth consecutive day of unseasonably warm temperatures. Wet slab and wet loose avalanches remain the primary concern as temperatures stay well above freezing again today.
We have continued to see large natural avalanches in the Turnagain and Girdwood regions nearly everyday since the warm up began. Yesterday was no exception as terrain on Pete’s South proved susceptible to the rain and warm temps. The mercury continued to climb overnight and we are seeing our highest temperatures in well over 3 months this morning.
Temperatures @ 5AM in degrees Fahrenheit
Penguin Peak (4200’): 41
Sunburst (3880’): 45
Alyeska top of Quad (2800’): 50
Seattle Ridge (2400’): 47
Center Ridge (1880’): 52
Cold temperatures (well below 32F) and time are the only two factors that will bring us out of this period of elevated danger. With unseasonably warm air and moderate amounts of rain again today, the snowpack will continue to lose strength and whither away from the valley floor moving up in elevation. Travel in avalanche terrain again today is not recommended.
Yesterday I saw people kayaking Six-mile Creek, road biking, ROCK-climbing and kite surfing along the Seward Highway. Until winter returns to south-central Alaska, activities such as these are going to be the better (and probably more fun) alternative to recreating in the backcountry this June-uary.
In the upper elevations of our zone where precipitation has been falling primarily as snow, we have a deep slab (6’+) resting on what we know is a weak foundation. Evidence of this deep slab problem presented itself on Saturday in the Girdwood Valley as pictured below. Any avalanches initiated in upper elevations today will likely be triggered either by wind or a falling cornice.
Natural deep slab avalanche on Goat Mt. SE to SW facing with ~6,000′ starting zone. Saturday Jan. 25th.
Winds have been moderate to strong over the last 2 weeks, primarily out of the east and southeast creating some large and unruly cornices on upper elevation west aspects. Cornices are quite unpredictable and have a tendency to release during warming events.
Scattered rain showers returned to our region yesterday with temperatures cooling slightly from Saturday night/ Sunday morning. The slight cooling was followed by rapid warming that began yesterday afternoon and continued into this morning (see Sunburst graph above) where all ridgetop stations are reporting temperatures greater than 40 degrees. Winds have continued to blow predominantly from the east in the 30-50mph range.
With the passage of this current warm front today we can expect temperatures to drop slightly throughout the day to the mid to low 40’s at 1000′. This slight cooling will not be nearly enough to shore up our snowpack, though it may drop our snowline down to around 2500′. Precip amounts will be light today with our first chance of SNOW coming later tonight in the 1-3″ range above 1000′. Ridgetop winds will continue in the 50-60mph range from the east.
|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|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wagner / Schauer|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|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.