Could we really see a hint of winter now that we are well into March? Now that we just switched over to Daylight Savings Time? Why not… It seems like all bets are off these days and we will take what we can get! Below are mid-elevation storm totals from a cold front that moved over Alaska Friday night through yesterday:
Turnagain Pass – 10″
Girdwood Valley – 8+”
Summit Lake – 3-6″
Hatcher Pass – 12-18″
On the heels of this much anticipated new snow has been a cold Northwesterly wind. The winds produced plumes off some, but not all, peaks in the region yesterday afternoon and have continued to blow in the 15-20mph range overnight. This is prime speed for wind slab development and human triggered wind slab avalanches should be expected. Additionally, this flow direction is ideal for loading the East face of Seattle Ridge.
Yesterday, we were able to find and trigger a small wind slab just before the winds kicked up. Today, these types of avalanches should be a dime a dozen and easy to trigger. Slab depths are on the shallow side, 8-14″, yet could be stiff enough to support the weight of a person; this is concerning as the slab may allow someone on to it before breaking above them. The good news is, wind slabs should be easy to identify with their smooth rounded surface and upside down feel (harder snow over softer snow). Quick hand pits are a great way to see how the new snow is acting and I’d recommend a number of these as you move through the mountains.
Photo below is of an easily skier triggered soft wind slab yesterday on Sunburst’s Southwest face (3,000′ average depth 10″).
Winds transporting snow on Mount Alpenglow yesterday afternoon.
Watch your sluff. Sluffing in Friday/Saturday’s storm snow was prevalent yesterday and will be again today. These sluffs are entraining a significant amount of snow on sustained steep slopes and in channeled terrain. The cold temperatures will help to keep sluffs on the radar.
It is very nice to finally have some new snow to report. Besides the storm totals above, see the chart below for the past 24-hour totals. The rain/snow line with this event hovered between 500 and 1,000′ and 3″ of wet snow (which has now frozen) fell at the parking lots at Turnagain. Snowfall shut down around noon yesterday and was followed by a switch in wind direction from the South to the Northwest. Cold air has and is currently being ushered in by the Northwesterly flow.
Today, visibility should be good with mostly sunny skies and a few lingering clouds. However, the cold Northwest winds are expected to remain in the 15-20mph range with higher gusts. Temperatures will continue to drop through the day into the teens at most locations, then to the single digits by tonight.
As we head into the early part of this week, no precipitation is expected as we will remain in a cold and blustery Northwest flow.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||28||3||0.3||45|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||29||2||0.3||8|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||30||2||0.27||29|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||23||n/a||13||42|
|01/31/23||Turnagain||Observation: Johnson Pass area||Megan Guinn / W Wagner Forecaster|
|01/29/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Backdoor||AAS-Level 1 1/27-1/30|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Brooke Edwards|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner|
|01/28/23||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Common||Tony Naciuk|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||John Sykes|
|01/27/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Lynx Creek||Megan Guinn / W Wagner|
|01/25/23||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||John Sykes Forecaster|
|01/22/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Schauer/ Guinn|
|01/21/23||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Elias Holt|
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.