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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Fri, December 5th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, December 6th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Graham Predeger
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today both in the alpine and at tree line elevations.  Pockets of MODERATE danger can be found above treeline in steep complex terrain on leeward slopes  harboring fresh wind slabs up to 12 € in depth.   Any significant rain on snow at the mid-elevations today will also increase the avalanche danger.   A continued lack of snow cover below treeline results in No Rating at this lowest elevation band again today.

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Fri, December 5th, 2014
Alpine
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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

Field observations and a lack of avalanche activity over the last several days have given us increased confidence in a strengthening snowpack.  With only modest amounts of new snow showing up precipitation hasn’t been a huge factor in increasing avalanche danger, allowing the snowpack to adjust accordingly, a couple inches at a time.  The most concerning interface in our snowpack at this point is the Nov. 18th rain crust (below ~3,500’).  This can be easily found through pole probing, hand pits or digging a full pit. Recent test results are showing signs of good strength and bonding to this layer.

Winds have been moderate at ridge top locations gusting up to the low 40’s from the north and east.  Caution will be warranted today on steep, leeward slopes at these higher elevations where a shallow wind slab (up to 12” deep) could be found.  Approach this terrain carefully; looking, listening and feeling for a wind slab prior to committing to a slope.

At mid elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 feet the surface snow is moist and somewhat gloppy.  With temperatures on the rise today, any rain we may see in this elevation band could spike the danger for small, wet loose sluffs.  In steep terrain these have the potential to entrain a significant amount of snow.  Fortunately, as of 6am this morning forecasted precipitation appears to be minimal for the eastern Turnagain arm zone.

                                A quick snapshot of depth and structure of our snowpack on the motorized side of Turnagain pass.

Weather
Fri, December 5th, 2014

Yesterday we experienced mostly cloudy skies with light to moderate winds from the northeast.   Snowfall rates were minimal with perhaps an inch stacking up throughout the day in the Turnagain pass area.   Rain was off and on for much of the day below about 500 feet.   Temperatures were hovering right around 32 degrees at the road level (1,000′)

Today appears to be a slight break in this general pattern of warm, moist air streaming into our region.   Though warming slightly from yesterday with temps expected to be around 36 degrees at 1,000′ the associated precipitation looks to be minimal with just a trace of rain/ snow forecasted today.   Any precip we do pick up will be all rain at sea level with that rain/ snow line hovering around 1,500 feet.   Winds will be predominantly from the east in the 10-25mph range at ridgetop locations.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 32    1 .1   20  
Summit Lake (1400′)  30  0 0   5  
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  31  1 0.1   19  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)  24 E    16  43
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 26   NNE   19   37  
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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.