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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
Wed, March 12th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, March 13th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
The Bottom Line

With 22+ inches of storm snow yesterday morning, in addition to 4 inches in the last 24 hours we are still adapting to the new load.  Yesterday we witnessed small avalanches break in small terrain and one larger slide remotely trigger in steep terrain (with skiers approaching from a safe area).  

Today is all about giving the snowpack time to settle, bond, and adjust.  Dangerous avalanche conditions will be found without a lot of searching.  CONSIDERABLE danger will be found both above and below treeline, on all aspects.  Today is a great day to stay on lower angle slopes and enjoy the new snow in mellow terrain.  

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Wed, March 12th, 2014
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Considerable (3)
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
Considerable (3)
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
  • 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

The storm snow that makes up our primary concern started falling on Monday.  It tapered off substantially yesterday and transitioned to rain below 1000 feet.  All told, more than 2 feet of new snow fell from this storm.  Combined with a lot of wind, we have scoured areas between heavy wind loading.  

Yesterday we were finding the storm snow would break easily on the new snow/old snow interface.  This is the old surface layer about an inch above the late February crust.  This is a very easy interface to identify, no need to pull out the shovel, just dig in with your hand to find it.  Any avalanches today are likely to break a little above that crust, taking 2 feet of storm snow or greater amounts in wind loaded areas.  Areas with now buried surface hoar may behave even worse with a persistent weak layer involved.

I’ll mention that avalanche activity yesterday seemed a bit sluggish – initiation was slow and avalanches were somewhat small in size for the amount of snow we got.  This doesn’t mean much in terms of travel advice…  It’s still an easy call when managing today’s problem.  A lot of new snow on top of a crust with sporadic buried surface hoar – requires conservative travel in the backcountry.  

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
More info at Avalanche.org

Below 1000 feet we did get rain at the later half of this storm.  The lower you go, the more rain we got.  This isn’t a big concern, just keep in mind that lower elevations have a water saturated surface layer.

Weather
Wed, March 12th, 2014

The recent storm is the big news.  Storm totals listed below.  Numbers are 48 hour snow totals.  Keep in mind that the snow is settling and temperatures increased during the storm, transitioning to rain at lower elevations.

Girdwood midway – 26″  (2.25″ water equivalent)

Turnagain Pass – Center Ridge – 25″ (2.2″ water equivalent)

Summit Lake – 12″ (1″ water equivalent)

Wind blew hard during the peak of the storm, which caused visually evident scouring of ridges.  Max gusts were recorded up to 114mph at ridge tops.  That wind diminished yesterday.

Today will bring a short break in precipitation intensity.  Snow and rain showers are expected throughout the day with an inch of accumulation.  Wind is increasing through the day as another weather front approaches.  

Tonight and tomorrow will bring another storm similar to the last one.  Predicted snow totals for tonight and Thursday are 14-24 inches.  There is a high wind warning in effect 2am to 8am Thursday for Turnagain Arm and Portage.

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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 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
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Closed
Turnagain Pass
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Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
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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.