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Sat, April 26th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Sun, April 27th, 2014 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is MODERATE above treeline, where new snow and wind has created 10-14 € slabs on leeward slopes that will be sensitive to human triggers.   These slabs will grow larger as snow continues throughout the day.

Below treeline the avalanche danger is also MODERATE, but for different reasons.   Rain and warm temperatures have weakened the snow surface below 1,800′.   It will be possible for humans to trigger wet loose avalanches in steep lower elevation terrain today.

Special Announcements

      €¢      Come join us this afternoon at 3pm for the  2014 Corn Harvest  at the Turnagain Pass Center Ridge parking lot!! Come by for FREE food, games and fun.  More details  HERE.

    €¢      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. €¨

      €¢      The final forecast of the season will be issued tomorrow morning Sunday, April 27th.

Sat, April 26th, 2014
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
2 - Moderate
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
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind 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

Winds out of the East coupled with 8-10” of new snow in the higher elevations have created slabs that will be easy to trigger this morning.  These slabs will range in depth from 10-14”.  With more snow and wind in the forecast, expect these slabs to increase in depth and sensitivity.  These slabs will be most sensitive as they are forming.

With winds blowing predominantly out of the East, it is safe to assume that West aspects will be wind loaded today.  However, as wind interacts with terrain, it often changes direction.  Because of this it is important to learn how to recognize wind loaded terrain features.  Look for smooth, rounded and pillowy surfaces.  Shooting cracks are commonly found on wind loaded features and are an obvious sign of unstable snow.

Avoiding wind loaded areas will be your best bet for managing this avalanche concern today.

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

Rain and above freezing temperatures have and will continue to create weak surface snow.  In terrain over 40 degrees in the lower elevations be on the lookout for human triggered wet loose avalanches to move slowly.  There is potential for these to gain enough mass to knock a person over and increase chances for injury.  If you are sinking more than a few inches below the surface, it is time to back off of steep terrain.

Sat, April 26th, 2014

In the past 24 hours 8 € snow containing .8 € of water have fallen at the Center Ridge SNOTEL site.   Rain/snow line has fluctuated between 500′-1,800′.   Winds have been blowing steadily out of the East, with Sunburst averaging 25 mph (max gust 49 mph).   Temperatures at ridge tops have been in the mid 20s F (Sunburst 24 hr avg=23.2 F)

Today expect more precipitation, with the bulk of it arriving later in the day.   As much as 5 € of additional snow can be expected by sunset.   Winds will continue to be in the moderate range, 25-35 mph out of the East.   Rain/snow line should hover around 1,500-1,800′.   Temperatures at 1,000′ will reach into the low 40s F.

Unsettled weather will persist through the weekend.   Moving into the early part of next week drier conditions should take over as the Low currently stalled over the area makes an exit.

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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.