With over three weeks now of nearly no precipitation, our snowpack is old, tired and slowing being eaten away by cold and clear weather. Impressive surface hoar sits over faceted snow at the mid elevations while the upper elevations are a combination of several inches of faceted snow with varying degrees of older wind crusts. The good news is, there is a pattern change on the doorstep! We have warm and moist southerly flow on tap this coming week. The question is, how much precipitation will make it over the mountains from the Sound to our area?
For those getting out today, we do have a few surface instabilities to watch out for:
Keep an eye out for stiff and shallow wind slabs formed by Friday’s strong winds, mainly in the Girdwood Valley area. Although these are expected to be relatively small, they are likely to be sitting on weak faceted snow and hard enough to allow a person onto one before it pops out. Seeking out the softer non-wind affected snow will be key for not only good turns, but avoiding one of these pockets as well.
Shallow sluffs on steep slopes, over 40 degrees, should be expected. These continue to be generally low volume and fairly slow moving.
Although the “ski/rideable” snow line remains high (1,500′ or so), there are still good turns to be salvaged! Most of Turnagain Pass was spared by the winds on Friday. Seattle Ridge is one of the windier spots at the Pass and still sports a couple inches of loose snow on the ridge proper. (Photo looking South, taken by Andy Moderow)
Yesterday saw our first cloudy day in over a week. Light Easterly flow ushered in mid-level clouds along with very cold temperatures, single digits on the ridgetops that matched the frigid valley bottom temperatures hovering around 0F. Overnight, a rebound in temperature has begun as warmer air is on its way from the East.
For today we can expect mostly cloudy skies with a few blue holes here and there. We may even see a few snowflakes make it out of the clouds. Winds should remain light (5-10mph) from the East with some stronger gusts on the peaks. Temperatures in valley bottoms will remain in the 0-10F range today but ridgetops should climb into the mid teens – balmy!
Our next shot at snow, more than just a few flakes, is coming up this week. As the dominant high pressure over mainland Alaska breaks down, a return to warm southerly flow associated with a large area of low pressure in the Gulf will move in. Right now, models are showing the bulk of precipitation to our Southeast, but we can still cross our fingers we will get a fresh coat of paint!
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||7||0||0||31|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||3||0||0||7|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||7||0||0||22.5|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||3||var||6||11|
|01/15/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Schauer/ Wunnicke Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Johnston-Bloom / Moderow Forecaster|
|01/13/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Rec Level 1 Roberts|
|01/12/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge/Center Ridge||A Schauer Forecaster|
|01/11/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Trees||Schauer/ Roberts Forecaster|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Meadows||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1 Course Latosuo|
|01/10/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan trees||Anonymous|
|01/09/21||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst meadow between Hemlocks||Anonymous|
|01/08/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Wagner / Schauer|
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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.