Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, February 5th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, February 6th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Graham Predeger
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

LOW avalanche danger exists in Turnagain pass and most of the surrounding region.   However, LOW does not mean NO avalanche danger.   Shallow wind slabs sitting on weak snow can be found scattered throughout the Pass and periphery areas and identifiable by a stiffer, smooth surface.

Winds are expected to kick up to the low 20’s mph from the North late in the day.   If these winds come earlier or are stronger, expect slabs to still be shallow but rather easy to initiate.

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Thu, February 5th, 2015
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
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

This persistent high pressure weather pattern is reminiscent of the in-laws that have stayed past their welcome.  Sure everybody loves sunshine and mild temps for a few days or even a week, but we yearn for a change in house guests eventually.  I think that most can agree that we are ready for rowdy Old Man winter to come and “crash the couch” for a bit this month!

In the meantime this high pressure is allowing the brave and adventurous among us to venture through the Forest, past the Alder-wall and high into the Alpine.  For those that make it, rewards have come in the form of generally stable snow and soft surface conditions.  That being said, pockets of instabilities may exist in the form of shallow wind slabs and loose snow avalanches.

Wind Slabs:

Shallow wind slabs have been found littered throughout the advisory area in the mid and upper elevations.  As most of the surface is quite soft (comprised of near surface facets or ‘loud powder’) these wind slabs are fairly easy to identify by feel as the surface below your skis will feel stiff or hollow.  These older wind slabs are very likely to be small (<6”) and manageable if initiated. 

Winds are expected to pick up today and intensify tomorrow and into the weekend creating more widespread (though still shallow) wind slabs and some bitterly cold wind chills.

Loose Snow Avalanches:

We’ve had yet another day of weather that has aided in loosening and faceting the snow surface.  Sluffs on steep terrain, > 40 degrees is low in volume but fast moving.  Anticipate this, manage it accordingly and it shouldn’t prove much of an issue today.

Loose snow sluffs are fast moving but managable.  photo: Wendy Wagner

Weather
Thu, February 5th, 2015

Calm, cool and clear describe yesterday’s weather in the Turnagain pass area.  Inverted temperatures continued with single digits at the highway and low 20’s at ridgetops yesterday.   Winds were light out of the west and as soon as you began climbing the Seward highway into Turnagain pass, the low-level fog parked in the Arm was a distant memory with blue sky abound above about 300′.

The potential game-changer today and into the weekend will be the onset of moderate northerly winds starting out calm this morning and increasing into the low 20’s by this afternoon/ evening. These winds are fueled by a tightening pressure gradient between a low in the Gulf and the dominant high pressure over mainland Alaska. Any wind today should act to scour out a mild temperature inversion and low level fog by this evening.  Temps are expected to be reach the mid-20’s by this afternoon under clear skies.

Cold, clear and windy looks to continue through the weekend as dry offshore flow continues to dominate southcentral Alaska at least through Sunday morning.  Expect wind chill values to be well below zero by tomorrow.  The National Weather Service is hinting at a pattern change by mid-week next week as the Bering High moves west into Russia promoting southern flow and an increased chance of precipitation.

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 18    0  0  31
Summit Lake (1400′)  7  0 0    7
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  19 0    0  20

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 20   W    6  12
Seattle Ridge (2400′)  18  Var. 3   11  
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Riding Areas
Updated Tue, April 20th, 2021

Status of riding areas across the Chugach NF is managed by the Glacier and Seward Ranger Districts, not avalanche center staff. Riding area information is posted as a public service to our users and updated based on snow depth and snow density to prevent resource damage at trailhead locations. Riding area questions contact: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Open
No parking in turnaround at end of the road near the outhouse.
Placer River
Open
Please do not ride along Railroad tracks. Cross tracks at 90 degree angle and clear the right of way.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
The Skookum Valley is closed to snowmachines. This closure occurs annually on April 1 as per the CNF Forest Plan.
Turnagain Pass
Open
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Open
Lost Lake Trail
Open
Primrose Trail
Open
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed for the 2020/21 winter season.
Snug Harbor
Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Open
Summit Lake
Open

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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.