Yesterday warming temperatures and sustained Northeast winds have left 1-2’ of upside down storm snow in Turnagain Pass. This snow proved tender yesterday and shooting cracks were observed above 2000’ in places where the snow felt stiffened by the wind. No avalanche activity was reported, but visibility was poor making it difficult to see if any natural avalanche activity occurred.
Today weather conditions will deteriorate again with the arrival of yet another storm that is expected to intensify this evening. Easterly winds will start building this morning along with snow showers by early afternoon. This weather will be adding stress to an already stressed out snowpack. Triggering a slab 2+’ deep will be more likely on unsupported terrain features like steep convex rolls, gullies, and above cliffs. Poor visibility is expected today, but should you choose to travel into the upper elevations, maintain a conservative Jedi mindset. Use stability tests like hand pits or ski pole tests to feel for upside down snow; denser snow sitting on weaker snow. Most of all don’t be tempted by the Dark Side (large open slopes.) Patience you must have!
Shooting cracks observed yesterday on Tincan and a 15″ slab failed easily above the skin track where snow was unsupported.
We have been tracking several layers of weak snow formed in early December that are now buried under 3-4’ of snow. Poor visibility and dangerous avalanche conditions have made it difficult to evaluate this problem in the upper elevations where a large trigger, like a snowmachine, could find a sweet spot. This is one of the those low likelihood/high consequence problems that is unlikely to occur naturally and is not manageable. This is one more reason to avoid large steep slopes until the snowpack can adjust to its new load.
Yesterday a total of 13 € of new snow was recorded at the Turnagain Pass Center Ridge weather station. Sustained moderate winds from the Northeast became light yesterday, but not until most of the snow had already fallen. Temperatures warmed to above freezing, and rain/snow line reached 1200′ by mid afternoon.
Overnight no new precipitation was recorded, winds remained light, and temperatures cooled just below freezing (32F) at sea level.
Today Easterly winds are expected to start building this morning with the arrival of more snow. Snow showers will intensify by this evening and could bring another 1′ of new snow by tomorrow. Temperatures will be hovering around 32F making it possible for rain at sea level.
*Weather station data is taken from 6am yesterday to 6am today. Yesterday’s storm totals were calculated with the addition of yesterday wx station snow totals.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||30F||4||0.4||49|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||28F||1||0.1||17|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||31.5F||0||0.03||34|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||27F||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|01/17/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Allen Dahl|
|01/16/20||Turnagain||Observation: Lynx Creek||Wagner / Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/13/20||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|01/12/20||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum West face||Levi Oyster|
|01/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Cornbiscuit||Allen Dahl|
|01/09/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge, Minus 3 Bowl||J Davis|
|01/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Goldpan||Billy Finley|
|01/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Treeline on Magnum and Sunburst||Alaska Avalanche School Pro 1|
|01/08/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||Matti Silta|
|01/07/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies||Allen Dahl|
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.