Today will be the 6th day of stormy weather along Turnagain Pass and the surrounding region. We have seen the rain/snow line fluctuating between 500′ and 2,000′ and a total precipitation (water) for this six day period of 10″ at the Center Ridge SNOTEL station!! That equates to over 10′ of snow in less than six days at the upper elevations. That said, our snowpack is well above average at 2,000′ – it’s just a bit damp. For today, we are expecting a slight break in precipitation before another wave moves in tonight. Around 3-5″ of snow is forecast above 1,800′ today with rain below and 5-10″ of snow tonight above 1,400′, again with rain below.
As the stormy weather continues, so do our avalanche problems. Although most of the avalanche activity we have seen occurred the first day of the storm cycle (Sunday 2/21), we are still seeing a few large slides pull out here and there. The most notable was a glide avalanche on Seattle Ridge yesterday morning. Things to keep in mind if you are headed out today:
Cornices: Natural cornice fall activity is possible and could trigger an avalanche on the slope below. This is something you want to avoid traveling on or underneath. Cornices will be tender and could break farther back than expected. As Aleph said yesterday, falling down the slope with a refrigerator to school bus sized chunk of snow on your snowmachine or skis would be terrible, if not deadly.
Storm Slabs: Fluctuating temperatures and snowfall may combine to create storm slabs as new layers of snow are deposited. Pay attention to how well the new snow bonds to the snow below.
Wind Slabs: Winds today will continue to add stress to very large wind slabs in leeward terrain. Triggering one of these could be very dangerous due to the depth of slab. Avoid steep wind-loaded slopes.
Glide and Wet Avalanches: See below.
Glide avalanches still remain a real concern in the area. The many cracks that littler the mid-elevations are hard to see now with the snow filling them in, but there is no mistaking this brown streak on Seattle Ridge. This slide released early yesterday morning and was caught on the RWIS Turnagain Pass camera. Another reason to give avalanche terrain a break for this storm cycle.
Photo: Glide avalanche on Seattle Ridge – uncomfortably close to the motorized up-track…
Photos below are of the RWIS camera before and after the glide release
Rain on the snowpack up to 1,800′ today will keep wet avalanche concerns in the forecast. Natural wet loose and wet slab avalanches will be possible in the mid elevation bands and human triggered avalanches are likely in steep terrain. Watch for areas with wet, saturated and unsupportable snow, that is an indication that the snow is losing strength and avoid terrain traps. Wet snow can be very hazardous especially if it gets moving and stuffs you into a bad spot.
Skies were patchy yesterday with showery precipitation along Turnagain Arm. Snow fell above 1,500′ with rain below. We picked up roughly 1-1.5″ of water through the region with a foot or so of heavy wet snow above treeline. Winds have remained strong out of a generally East direction, in the 20-40mph range along the ridgetops. Temperatures were warm, up to 40F at 1,000’…
For today, we have .3-.5″ of rain on tap below 1,500′ and 3-5″ of snow above 1,800′ (snow/rain mix between these elevations). Skies should be mostly cloudy and temperatures warming up through the day after dropping to 32F at 1,000′ overnight. Ridgetop winds are slated to remain strong, 30-40mph averages with higher gusts from the East. Tonight precipitation should increase with 1-1.5″ of water forecast and a rain/snow line dropping slightly to 1,400′.
This wet and stormy pattern looks to remain through tomorrow with a ‘possible’ break on Monday.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||33||4||1.4||136|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||34||0||0.1||42|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||33||4||1.1||105|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||27||–||–||–|
|12/06/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Billy Finley|
|12/04/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||A.Johnston-Bloom/ W.Wagner/ R.Van Luit Forecaster|
|12/03/19||Turnagain||Observation: Hippy Bowl||Nick Langowski|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan, All elevations||Eric Roberts|
|12/01/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Andy Moderow|
|11/30/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Treeline Plateau/ Common Bowl/ Ridge||Eric Roberts|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #2||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/29/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst Ob #1||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/27/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Aleph Johnston-Bloom Forecaster|
|11/25/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunnyside||Graham Predeger 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: email@example.com
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