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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Sat, January 31st, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, February 1st, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW in the Alpine and Treeline elevations today.   It will be possible to trigger low volume dry and wet loose avalanches in steep upper elevation terrain.

Early season conditions exist on the approaches; slick surfaces, rocks, and stumps require careful travel into and out of the mountains today.

Special Announcements

Scientists from the Snow and Avalanche Lab at Montana State University are seeking more participants for their project examining decision making and travel in avalanche terrain. Their project aims to collect GPS information (from your smartphone) and survey responses from backcountry skiers and riders to better understand what types of terrain are used, and how decisions are made.
To Participate or get more information:  www.montana.edu/snowscience/tracks   or their companion site directed toward snowmachiners at: www.montana.edu/snowscience/sleds

Sat, January 31st, 2015
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

It has now been two weeks since the weather has delivered any significant loading.  Several inches of low density snow sit on the surface in many locations.  With the current snowpack set up, it will still be important to clue into the following minor issues:

Loose Snow Avalanches-
Both dry and damp sluffing will be possible in steep terrain.  Volume of these sluffs will be very low.  If venturing onto steep and large unsupported slopes pay attention to any loose snow that releases.  On sunlit aspects expect sluffs to move slow and entrain enough snow to knock you over.  This issue will be more serious if traveling above terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies or vegetation.

Wind slabs –
Isolated pockets of older wind slab  6-8” deep may be encountered when getting into higher elevation terrain.  Areas on the periphery of the forecast zone (Girdwood Valley and Summit Lake) may be harboring more of these pockets.  For those taking advantage of the pleasant conditions and getting into the high alpine, it will be important to be on the lookout for these slabs.

Glide Avalanches-
Glide cracks are scattered around the forecast area.  Figuring out the timing of their release is very difficult at best.  With warm temps and sunshine the possibility exists for glides to release.  But really it’s anyone’s guess.  These avalanches do not follow the normal rules of avalanche release.  With this in mind do your best to minimize time spent under any glide cracks.

Weather
Sat, January 31st, 2015

Yesterday’s theme was clear, calm and mild.   Ridgetop temperatures were in the 20s F with some valley locations experiencing an inversion and cooler temps.   Winds were light out of the Northeast.   No new precipitation fell.

High pressure covering a majority of mainland Alaska will keep conditions similar for today.   Clear skies, very light wind and relatively mild temps are on tap.   The sun combined with mild air temps will be a destabilizing factor today as ridegtop temps look to climb into the low 30s F.

The extended outlook is calling for a continuation of this pattern through the weekend.   High pressure over the area will keep all moisture well to our South as we head into the early part of the week.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 25 0 0 31
Summit Lake (1400′) 14 0 0 8
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 19 0 0 19

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 26 ENE 4 13
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 26 VAR 3 10
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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.