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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Sun, April 20th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Mon, April 21st, 2014 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains LOW in the Turnagain Pass and surrounding regions. Low volume wet loose avalanches and cornice falls are the snowpack issues to be aware of today and into the early part of this week.  

**Remember, no forecast will be issued for Monday and Tuesday. The outlook at this time is for similar avalanche concerns as today. However, the threat for larger and more dangerous wet avalanches may go up if we continue to see above freezing  ridgetop nighttime temperatures. More on this below.

Special Announcements
  • Mark your calendars!!  The 2014 Corn Harvest will be Saturday, April 26th at the Turnagain Pass Center Ridge parking lot. Come by for free food, games and fun!  More details HERE.

  • Turnagain Pass and Snug Harbor are the only remaining areas on the Chugach National Forest open to motorized use.   Check the bottom of the page for the latest updates on motorized access.
  • Advisories will be issued 5 days per week – Wednesday to Sunday – through April 27th.
Sun, April 20th, 2014
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

It has been almost a week now since we have heard of, or seen, any ‘slab’ avalanche activity. There has been a handful of wet loose snow avalanches mainly associated with the 2-3″ of snow from Friday. Yet, the snowfall (and related sluffing) was relegated to areas close to Turnagain Arm and Portage Valley. The snowpack continues to show signs of handling the spring-time warm conditions with good stability. 

For today, and the early part of this week, our main snowpack concerns continue to be wet loose avalanches and cornice falls. Although the wind will pick up from the East, there is little to no snow available for transport and the wind will likely be just an inconvenience.

Wet Loose Avalanches:
It will be possible to trigger wet sluffs in very steep terrain with surface warming – slopes over 40 degrees, either in the lower elevations or on sunlit aspects in the higher elevations. The volume of any potential sluff will likely be low and slow moving.  

We have yet to see any significant cornice falls in the area. Despite this, it is still worth being aware of and staying away from them. Know where you are in relation to cornices and always hedge your bets by giving them a wide berth. Warm temperatures and sunshine will help to destabilize cornices.

Overnight Ridgetop Temperatures:
Last night was the warmest night we have seen this spring. Ridgetop temperatures remained at, or very near, 32deg (they have been dropping to the mid 20’sF until now). These warm overnight temperatures are something avalanche practitioners pay close attention to in the spring. After 3 consecutive nights where ridgetops are above freezing, the snowpack can begin to melt-down, or shed. In this case large and destructive wet avalanches, which can run to valley bottoms, become a real concern. Our snowpack this spring has undergone so much melt and freeze (remember January?) that how it will react to future warm nights is uncertain. We may simply see the pack melt out with minor wet avalanche activity, which is likely the case, but not something to bet on AT ALL as we enter into the warmer days of late April and May. Keeping an eye on the upper elevation temperature trends, cloud cover and any overnight re-freeze of the surface will be good things to watch. Additionally, being mindful of terrain above you late in the day is key in the event a large natural slide releases and runs to lower angle terrain or a drainage bottom.

Sun, April 20th, 2014

During the past 24-hours we have seen partly to mostly sunny skies and temperatures averaging ~30F. Winds have been light and variable. Overnight, temperatures have remained warm – above freezing at 2,500′ and just dipping slightly below 32F at 4,000′.

For today, we will have sunny skies with clouds streaming in from the East later in the day as a weak low pressure spins to our South. Temperatures look to climb as high as the mid 30’sF on the ridgelines and 50F at 1,000′. Winds are forecast to pick up to 25-30mph on the peaks from the East. There is a chance we could see a trace of rain below 2,000′ this afternoon and snow above this.

Looking forward to Monday and Tuesday, the high pressure over mainland Alaska looks to become more established and sunny skies with warm temperatures are in store. Our pleasant spring continues!

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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.