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Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Thu, April 28th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, April 29th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Heather Thamm
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains  CONSIDERABLE  below 2500′ due to glide avalanches that continue to release daily throughout our region.  Avoid being under the runout of glide cracks.  In addition, human triggered and natural wet loose avalanches are possible in steep terrain due to saturated snow, rain and warm temperatures.  

In the Alpine the avalanche danger is MODERATE,  where human triggered wind slabs are possible.

*ATTENTION HIKERS:  Summer use areas crossing under avalanche terrain should be avoided due to the possibility of natural avalanche activity. Byron trail in Portage Valley and Crow Pass are two examples of trails with dangerous avalanche terrain above.

AVALANCHE OUTLOOK for Friday, April 29th:  

A Similar avalanche danger is anticipated for Friday with a continued weather pattern in store. However if more precipitation falls than expected OR if the sun appears for an extended period of time the danger could increase to HIGH.

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Thu, April 28th, 2016
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
No Rating (0)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
No Rating (0)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

The glide avalanche cycle continues with new activity occurring on a daily basis. Springtime weather, warm temperatures and rain, continues to add stress to the mid-elevation snowpack where the majority of glide cracks exist. If venturing into the mountains choose your route wisely. It is very important to identify terrain with existing cracks and avoid any travel under the runout of glides.

 

 

A view yesterday of Repeat Offender on Seattle Ridge. Even though this area has closed to motorized use, travel on the Seattle Ridge side of the road is still not recomended.

 

Close up of existing glide cracks that still threaten the normal “skin route” to Seattle Ridge.

 

 

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
More info at Avalanche.org

Over the last 48 hours 0.8” (Snow Water Equivalent) has fallen in Turnagain Pass. This is equal to about 3-5” of wet/moist snow in the mid elevations (1800’-2500’) and rain below this. Today’s showery weather will likely add another 3-5” of wet snow to the mid elevation band. Below 2500’ human triggered wet loose avalanches are likely, if initiated on steeper slopes. In general avoid steep terrain if the surface snow is wet or older snow (where it has been raining) is unsupportable. These are obvious clues the snow is loosing its strength.

*In the alpine where drier snow has fallen over the week, solar exposure will be important to monitor should the sun appear.  With warm springtime temperatures, any period of direct sun could rapidly melt surface snow, and natural wet loose activity will be possible. 

Visibility has been very poor in Turnagain over the last few day, however the DOT webcam captured a photo of wet loose activity on Tincan’s CFR ridge during a brief clearing Tuesday(4/26) evening. 

Additional Concern
  • Wind Slabs
    Wind Slabs
Wind Slabs
Wind Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) formed by the wind. Wind typically transports snow from the upwind sides of terrain features and deposits snow on the downwind side. Wind slabs are often smooth and rounded and sometimes sound hollow, and can range from soft to hard. Wind slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

Over the last four days an estimated 1-2’ of new snow has fallen in the alpine with periods of strong winds earlier in the week. Today Moderate Easterly ridgetop winds are expected with an additional 5” of new snow. Be on the look out for wind slabs on leeward features. Careful snowpack evaluation is essential in the alpine, and don’t forget blowing snow and cracking underfoot are obvious signs the snowpack is stressed out. The wind and snow may also have added stress to very large cornices. Avoid being under cornices and give them extra space along ridgelines.

Weather
Thu, April 28th, 2016

Yesterday scattered rain showers and obscured skies were observed throughout Turnagain Pass. A total of 0.4 € of rain fell at Center Ridge Weather station (1880′) and daytime temperatures averaged in the high 30Fs with overnight temperatures hovering around 33F. Easterly Ridgetop winds were Light becoming Moderate (20’s mph) by late afternoon.

Rain showers are expected throughout the day and rain/snow line will be around 2200′. 3-5 € of snow (0.5 € of snow water equivalent) is expected today. Easterly ridgetop winds, averaging 15-30mph, will continue today. Daytime high temperatures for 1000′ are expected to reach 47F and overnight lows in the mid 30F’s.

Expect a similar weather pattern for Friday, with slightly less precipitation expected. Rain/snow line may push to 2500′.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 35   2   0.4   104  
Summit Lake (1400′) 40   rain   0.1   12  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 38   rain   0.13   85  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 27   ENE   16   42  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 29   SE   12    33
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Riding Areas
Updated Fri, May 01st, 2020

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Placer River
Closed
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed as of May 1. Thanks for a fun, safe season!
Twentymile
Closed
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Primrose Trail
Closed
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Snug Harbor
Closed
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Summit Lake
Closed

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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.