After a brief break in the stormy weather yesterday, that gave backcountry travelers an opportunity to get out in the sunshine, we are back in it today with a warm, wet and windy storm rolling through. Overnight there has been .5 of water, roughly 5-8″ of snow. Today we are expecting another .5″-1″ of precipitation; this equates to rain below approximately 1,500′ and 5-10″ of snow above. The winds have been blowing 30-40 mph from the ENE with gusts up into the 70s actively loading leeward terrain.
In the Alpine, above 2,500′, where dry snow is falling avalanche issues are expected to be confined to what we call ‘storm snow instabilities’. This means avalanches will be composed of the new storm snow and are not expected to break into layers deeper in the pack. The question will be how well the new snow bonds to the old snow. The most likely avalanches will be on wind loaded slopes where fresh wind slabs 5-20″ thick have formed. These are always the most ‘touchy’ during formation or just after. Avoid travel on or under steep leeward terrain. Smooth rounded surfaces, hollow feeling snow, stiff snow over soft snow and shooting cracks intiated traveling on foot or machine, are all signs of wind loading and something to steer clear of on steep slopes today.
In the 1000′-2500′ elevation band pay attention rain on snow and to how well the new snow is bonding to the old rain crust/snow surface, expect wind slabs especially in cross loaded areas like Seattle Ridge. The rain/wet snow combination may create the conditions for wet loose avalanches in this elevation band.
*Cornice falls will again be a concern today with the warm temperatures, new snow and wind loading. These can break naturally at anytime as well as under the weight of a person. They can trigger an avalanche below and be very dangerous.
Note: The Girdwood Valley recieved about twice as much water (.9″) as Turnagain pass Sunday and additional load last night. If venturing into the upper elevations around Girdwood, fresh wind slabs and storm slabs are likely to be thicker.
Several recent glide avalanches were observed yesterday. Glide cracks are continuing to open and grow. These are dangerous and unpredictable. As with cornices, these are best dealt with through avoidance and limiting any exposure underneath them. Poor visibility today will make it harder to locate the exisiting glide cracks in the terrain.
Glide avalanche on Seattle Ridge. We believe this released in the early morning yesterday.
Yesterday, cloudy skies in the morning gave way to mostly clear and sunny weather in the afternoon. Temperatures were in the mid-20Fs above 3000′ and low 30Fs around 1000′. Winds from the ENE were in the teens throughout most of the day and then picked up to 30-40 mph range overnight. Gusts reached into the 70s this morning. .5″ of precipitation (5” of snow above 1500′) fell overnight.
Today skies will be cloudy with a mixture of snow and rain as the storm continues. Precipitation is forecasted to be heavy at times. Up to an 1″ of water (5-10″ of snow) is possible. Temperatures will be in the high 20Fs to mid 30Fs. North to East winds, 25 to 30 mph decreasing in the afternoon. Additional rain/snow showers are expected overnight.
This stormy pattern continues through the week as a low in the Gulf and associated strong frontal system effect the region.
PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||30||3||.5||92|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||29||0||0||29|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||33||2.5||.25||73|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||26||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|05/06/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Pastoral Peak, north face||Andy Duenow|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Wolverine||Mike Records|
|04/10/20||Turnagain||Observation: Eddies lookers right shoulder||Matt Yoder|
|04/09/20||Turnagain||Observation: Bench Peak||Mike Records|
|04/04/20||Turnagain||Observation: Pete’s North||Anonymous|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan – Proper (SW facing)||CNFAIC Staff|
|03/26/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Seattle Ridge||W Wagner Forecaster|
|03/25/20||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst Uptrack @ 2000′||J. Boisvert|
|03/24/20||Turnagain||Observation: Turnagain – Road Observations||W Wagner Forecaster|
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.