Yesterday was a reminder of what winter can be like. We ended up with 6-8″ of very low density powder snow. Though it was enough to blanket the many tracks put down over the past month, it wasn’t quite enough to keep your skis/board or sled off the old hard surfaces underneath. Today we have a fight to return to spring as the sun is expected to shine but the temperatures look to remain cold.
How much the sunshine is able to warm the new snow will be the main concern for today. Despite cold temperatures, if the wind remains light we can expect wet point release avalanches to occur on East, South and Westerly aspects as the sun makes its rounds. Watch for these to release both naturally from rocks and trees as well as be easy to initiate yourself (as seen in this VIDEO from yesterday). These could become fairly large on sustained slopes as all the new snow will likely be entrained on the way down. Dry sluffs on Northerlies or areas the snow remains cold should also be expected.
Wet or damp sluffs are much harder to get out of and can push you around much more than dry sluffs due to the heaviness of the debris. This is one of those predictable and easy to manage avalanche issues if you are aware of your terrain. Getting run over by a wet sluff in a confined gully can become a serious issue.
Garden variety new snow sluffs from yesterday – this will likely be the case again today:
Although winds were calm at many weather stations yesterday and overnight, the gap winds did blow strong up Turnagain Arm (from the West). Seattle Ridge weather station can feel some of these and had a few hourly averages near 15mph during the past 24-hours. Additionally, wind may bump up a bit today – enough to move a little snow around on the ridgelines. The new snow is so light that it won’t take much to form soft wind slabs. If you are in one of these more windy locations, watch for cracking in the snow around you and surface clues that wind has formed slabs. These should be shallow and soft but also could have enough volume to be a problem if you are in larger terrain and significant snow is entrained.
Yesterday turned out to feel quite winter-like with 6-8+” of new snow, cold temperatures and mostly obscured skies. During the past 24-hours we have seen temperatures average in the low teens on the ridge tops and the mid 20’sF at 1,000′. Winds have been very light from the Northwest averaging 3-5mph, the exception is along Turnagain Arm mentioned above.
Storm totals at treeline are:
Turnagain Pass: 6-8″
Summit Lake: 1″
Girdwood Valley: 6-8″
For today, skies should clear this morning and the sun will be out as a high pressure builds over mainland Alaska. Temperatures have plummeted to the single digits on the peaks overnight but should rebound a bit with daytime heating. Winds are slated to pick up slightly from the Northwest to the 10-15mph range.
Thursday and Friday the high pressure remains with sunny skies on tap. However, for the weekend it looks like another low pressure may move through.
|05/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Ridge||Joe Kurtak|
|04/30/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/27/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Ridge||Joe Kurtak|
|04/26/21||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Creighton/ Hoople|
|04/25/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Nick D'Alessio|
|04/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Airplane obs||Johnston-Bloom / DiJulia /Hilliard Forecaster|
|04/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Corn biscuit||Heather Johnson|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Lynx Ck Drainage||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Eeva Latosuo|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Turnagain pass||Joe Kurtak|
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.