Yesterday was the first day of clear sunny weather following a warm and wet weekend of rain to 2500’ and 3-6” of new snow at higher elevations. Cooler temperatures have created a crust layer along the surface that is adding strength to the snowpack at mid elevations. Above 2700’ where this surface crust does not exist a softer slab 1-3’ thick is sitting on a widespread layer of facets.
This new snow looks very much like the classic Maritime snow we so often associate with stable conditions, but lurking below is an already stressed weak layer + thick slab that formed on Feb.16.
We currently don’t have a lot of information about how much force it will take to trigger an avalanche in the upper elevations. What we do know is that the weak layer is widespread throughout the region and test pit scores are showing moderate strength with high propagation potential. Meaning – if a slab is triggered an avalanche of its size is likely to have high consequences. This is why the danger for the Alpine will remain at CONSIDERABLE for today.
As we move away from this most recent loading event obvious signs like collapsing and shooting cracks will become less common. This could be deceiving because this also means that the weak layer will become harder and harder to trigger yet the consequences will remain high for awhile. This is a good reminder to be patient and stay off of steep slopes until conditions become more stable.
This is a picture of the surface crust at 2000′ on Sunburst yesterday. This crust gradally gets thinner as you gain elevation and disappears completely at 2700′.
Yesterday morning a trace of new snow fell at Turnagain Pass, just enough to cover the bare ground for a few hours before mid day temperatures (low 30’s F) melted most of it away. At higher elevations temperatures stayed in the mid 20’s F and North winds averaged 5-15mph along ridgetops. Skies were sunny and with thin cloud cover later in the day.
Overnight temperatures remained in the low to mid 20’s F. Ridgetop winds were from the North and averaged 5-15 mph. No new precipitation was recorded.
Today light cloud cover and patchy fog will become mostly clear by this afternoon. Temperatures will be in the 20’s F and are likely to increase into the low 30’s F mid day with sunny skies. Ridgetop winds should remain light to moderate from the North, but winds are expected to increase near Whittier throughout the day into the evening.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||29||trace||.01||40|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||29||0||0||6|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||30||trace||.04||23|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||24||NNW||9||21|
|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: email@example.com
|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.