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Thu, April 24th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Fri, April 25th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Avalanche danger is generally  LOW again today at all elevations.  The possible exception to this will be late in the day as the snowpack warms up and loses strength.

We have seen some wet loose avalanche activity from warm temperatures in the afternoon/evening.  These slow moving avalanches can pick up enough volume to be dangerous if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

Special Announcements
  • Turnagain Pass is now  CLOSED  to motorized use  due to low snow cover.  Snug Harbor road is the only area in Chugach National Forest open to motorized use.

  • 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.
  • This is the final week of advisories.   They will be issued today through Sunday, April 27th.
Thu, April 24th, 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

The snowpack continues to melt slowly each day.  Night-time temperatures are the key right now, with below freezing temps allowing the snowpack to maintain a little bit of strength.  This strength will be lost (and avalanche danger may increase significantly) if we get nights without freezing temperatures.  For today, we don’t expect a significant change from conditions over the last week.  

Wet loose avalanches have been noted in our zone recently.  The West face of Pyramid peak had a couple of lobes of wet loose snow travel the full length of the face sometime in the last 2 days.  This kind of avalanche activity is very unlikely in the morning when temperatures are colder, and increases in probability as the day gets warmer and the snow gets softer.  

Cornice fall will also become more dangerous late in the day as warming increases the possibility for spontaneous or human triggered cornices.  

The snowpack is very close to an “isothermal” state.  This is the point where all layers in the snowpack are the same temperature – 32 degrees.  Clues we monitor to gage the strength of the snowpack at this point include – natural avalanche activity, boot or ski penetration, “wetness” of the snowpack, and free water being released from the snowpack.  If these factors get significantly worse, then the backcountry could become dangerous.

Thu, April 24th, 2014

With no precipitation to speak of in several days, temperature is the most significant meteorological factor.  At mid elevations, temperatures are reaching the mid 40s during the peak of the day.  Overnight we had cooling down to below freezing.

                                     Low    High
Sunburst (3,812′)                     25       34.9
Seattle (2,400′)                           27.4     34.5
Center Ridge (1,880′)     28.9     48.7  

Our recent stretch of sunny and warm days looks to be coming to a close today.  Clouds will be moving in this afternoon with a chance of rain over the next few days.  Wind will increase tonight, with a Southeast flow to 16-25mph at the ridgetops.  

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
05/13/24 Turnagain Observation: Eddie’s, Sunburst, Seattle, Cornbiscuit, Pete’s South
05/13/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Pass non-motorized side
05/12/24 Turnagain Observation: Warm up Bowl
05/07/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Pass Wet Slabs
04/29/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Turnagain aerial obs
04/27/24 Turnagain Observation: Johnson Pass
04/23/24 Turnagain Observation: Turnagain Sunny Side
04/21/24 Turnagain Observation: Bertha Creek
04/20/24 Turnagain Avalanche: Spokane Creek
04/16/24 Turnagain Observation: Cornbiscuit
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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.