|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.|
Wet avalanches: Rain falling off-and-on up to 1800′ has weakened our 2-3′ snowpack and everything from wet loose, wet slab and glide avalanches have been reported. All of these reports have come in today (Saturday) and avalanche size has been described as small to medium. These are releasing on all aspects and elevations around 3,000′ and below.
As stated in the bottom line, be cautions of runout zones and areas under/near glide cracks where an avalanche occurring above could run down into your location.
Glide avalanches and cracks in the Girdwood area (Virgin Valley) above. Photo taken by Tim Glassett ADOT&PF.
Dry avalanches: Above 3,000′ in the alpine terrain where it is snowing and blowing – classic stormy weather with little visibility – natural storm snow avalanches are likely. These come in the form of wind slabs, storm slabs and loose snow avalanches. Though winds are predominantly from the East, all aspects are suspect that harbor snow.
If you are debating getting out in the higher elevation backcountry to where it’s snowing, beware that natural avalanches are possible. Even if the skies clear and the snow stops be VERY suspect of triggering an avalanche. With weak snow on the ground earlier this month, the new storm snow may take several days to gain strength. Watch out for strong (harder) snow over weak (softer) snow – these are ingredients for a slab avalanche. Digging or poking in the snow with your pole can be very useful for sussing out this bad combination.
It looks like it will keep snowing up high for another few days – possibly this will begin to fill the cracks on the glaciers and set down a good base for the year?!
November is coming in warm, wet and windy. We have had precipitation for 6 of the first 7 days of November and another several more days on the way. This is due to Super Typhoon Nuri that has evolved into a strong low pressure system centered in the Bearing that has shifted the storm track right to Southcentral AK. See image below from the NWS.
This is good news for the alpine elevations above treeline where it is snowing but for the lower elevations, not so much. The rain/snow line has been hovering between 1500 and 1800 feet and is expected to rise with warmer and wetter air masses moving in as the storm track dips further south.
Since Halloween night we have seen 25″ of snow and 3″ of water equivalent at the Turnagain Pass SNOTEL. This has been in two storm intervals. The first being colder 10/31-11/3 (12″ snow and 1.2″ water) and the second being warmer with a rain/snow mix 11/5-11/7 (13″ snow and 1.7 water). Winds have been strong out of the East with averages 20-25mph and gusts to 50mph.
As we head into this week expect rain to continue up to 1500-2500′ and snow above. Models are showing around 2″ of precipitation from now (11/8 through Monday 11/10).
|11/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan Ridge||Schauer/ Stiassny Forecaster|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Road report: Slide with dirt on Repeat offender||Anonymous|
|11/26/23||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Ben Sullender|
|11/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan trees||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/21/23||Observation: Spokane Creek||John Sykes Forecaster|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum – PMS Bowl||Schauer/ Cullen/ Jonas Forecaster|
|11/19/23||Other Regions||Observation: Sunnyside/Penguin||Jose Ramos-Leon|
|11/19/23||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||Andy Moderow|