Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast
Conditions are variable today. An overnight freeze-up affected lower elevations, but not ridgetops. Areas this morning with a hard surface crust will start with a LOW avalanche danger today. As the daytime temperatures melt that crust away the danger may rise to MODERATE for wet loose avalanche conditions.
Upper elevations will start at MODERATE this morning. Temperatures at elevations over 3000 feet have been in the mid 30s all night. Wet loose avalanches are also the major problem for this zone.
Overall the avalanche concern is minor. Large avalanches are unlikely. Small avalanches may be manageable depending on terrain. The weather factors to keep in mind today are rising temperatures and sun exposure that may increase the problem as the afternoon progresses.
Due to warm temperatures, rain, and a decreasing snowpack all motorized areas in the Seward District and 20 mile are now closed. The only areas open for snowmachine riding are Turnagain Pass, Johnson Pass north, Placer and Skookum.
We have seen quite a few small wet loose avalanches over the last few days. They seem to be initiating in the top 5-6 inches of the snowpack where the water saturated snow is concentrated. Check out this observation for a recent dye test of water percolation.
The worst case scenario with these avalanches would be stepping down into deeper layers and breaking out in a larger slab – a scenario we haven’t seen with any consistency yet.
Wet avalanches will be more likely on sun exposed southern faces this afternoon. While we expect most avalanches of this type to be small and slow moving, terrain considerations are still important. Channeled terrain and terrain traps should be avoided. Trees and cliffs could make even small avalanches dangerous.
The lack of overnight freeze up high is actively destabilizing cornices. These structures are always considered unstable, but as the snow temperature increases, their strength decreases. Today is a good day to give cornices an extra wide berth and stay out from underneath them.
The old persistent weak layer at the January crust interface is still present. Any activity on this layer would be an outlier, but should be considered in steep terrain, especially at high elevations >4000′. We simply don’t have a lot of information on this problem since the most recent warmup began.
This persistent weak layer has been responsible for many avalanches as recently as last weekend.
The last precipitation – in the form of rain – passed through on Thursday. This rain had a lot more effect on the Southern Kenai peninsula near Seward than Turnagain Arm.
Partly sunny skies are expected today with patchy morning fog. Temperatures this morning are in the 20s at sea level, but into the mid 30s at ridgetops. It will get warmer through the day, especially in direct sun exposure. Wind is light and variable.
The weather pattern looks consistent through the weekend. Cold at night, warm during the day. The next chance of snow looks like Monday night and Tuesday.
|05/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Nick D'Alessio|
|05/12/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan, Sunburst, Magnum, Cornbiscuit||Heather Thamm|
|05/07/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan – Bear Tracks||CNFAIC Staff|
|05/05/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seattle Ridge||AS/ WW Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Schauer/ Sturgess Forecaster|
|05/02/23||Turnagain||Observation: Seward Hwy Turnagain Pass||Joel Curtis|
|04/30/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Ayla, Kit Crosby, Barton|
|04/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||John Sykes|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Taylor Pass/Pastoral||Schauer/ Creighton Forecaster|
|04/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
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|
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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.