|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.
It was a welcome sight for many yesterday to see snow falling across most of Southcentral Alaska! Turnagain Pass picked up 3-4″ of low density snow with very little wind and no avalanche activity was seen or reported. Today, we should be greeted with mostly clear skies and chilly temperatures, in the teens. The wind, however, is a bit of a wild card.
Overnight the ridgetop Northwesterly winds bumped up to averages in the teens with gusts to 25-33mph. This doesn’t sound like a whole lot of wind, but with 6-10″ of light snow on the surface, it could have easily blown this snow into drifts and slabs. If you are getting out today into the upper elevations watch for areas with stiff wind deposited snow. Is the snow cracking around you? Does it feel stiff and hollow? Quick hand pits to check for harder snow over softer snow in the top foot of the snowpack are also good ways to look for wind slabs.
Sluffing in the top 3-6″ of loose snow is possible on steep, >40 degree, slopes.
EARLY SEASON CONCERNS:
Keep in mind that hazards due to low snow cover (rocks, alders, etc.) remain a concern and they could be harder to see with the new snow.
Photo below: One of countless glide cracks on the slopes of the popular Tincan Trees. These are opening up a little more each day.
A quick moving disturbance passed by yesterday blanketing the mountains with 3-4″ of low density snow. The snow came in with ridgetop winds from the Northwest 5-10mph. Overnight, skies have cleared and temperatures have dropped to the teens F. The Northwesterly winds increased early this morning to 10-15mph with gusts to 33mph yet have died back down.
Today is short break between storms. We could see another bump in wind from the Northwest into the 15mph zone. Skies should remain mostly clear and temperatures in the teens.
Monday we will see the onset of a more potent storm that looks to hit most of Southcentral in phases through the middle part of the week. A result of all the snow dances and sacrifices to Ullr…? We can expect cloud cover to increase and 1-3″ of snow by Monday evening with winds shifting to the South and East increasing to the 20mph range. Tuesday and Wednesday look to be the brunt of this storm. Models are suggesting by Wednesday evening Turnagain Pass could see 8-12+” of snow. Stay tuned!
|Temp Avg (F)
|Snow Depth (in)
|Center Ridge (1880′)
|Summit Lake (1400′)
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)
|Temp Avg (F)
|Wind Avg (mph)
|Wind Gust (mph)
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)
|Observation: Seattle Ridge
|John Sykes Forecaster
|Observation: Kickstep NE Bowl
|Observation: TinCan Backdoor/ Center Ridge
|AAS L1 Turnagain
|Avalanche: Lynx Creek
|Observation: Turnagain, Seattle, Mt Ascension
|Silverton Mountain Guides
|Observation: Tincan Trees
|Dalpes/Thamm/ Schauer Forecaster
|Observation: Seward Highway across from Johnson Pass TH
|Avalanche: Base of Seattle Ridge
|Troy Tempel, Thomas Lees, .Josh Bollaert, Damian Naquin