With clear, cold and calm conditions dominating the weather, the snowpack continues to age, dry out and become looser and less consolidated by the day. The avalanche danger is low now, but what is happening is we are forming a weak foundation for the next onslaught of snow. “The next big storm….”? That’s the question most of us are interested in! Maybe this weekend, or early next week. Check out the ‘long term’ forecast in the NWS weather discussion for the most up-to-date information.
Back to avalanches: If you venture to the exposed steeps, you set yourself up for finding a small wind slab, breaking off a cornice, or actually teasing out a larger avalanche that fails mid-pack due to the Nov 16 buried surface hoar. There are slopes out there as well that harbor enough loose ‘sugar snow’ to warrant keeping an eye on your sluff.
Snowpack: As mentioned above, the pack is becoming looser and faceting under the clear skies. Faceted snow has very few bonds with its neighboring snow grains and that’s why it feels sugary and making a snowball is impossible. It is a problem because it inhibits new snow from adhering to the slopes. Additionally, there is a new batch of surface hoar on the surface. Surface hoar does the same thing; makes it difficult for new snow to stick. Hence, mapping the surface conditions in anticipation of the next storm is important.
Photo: Surface hoar on Seattle Ridge by Aleph Johnston-Bloom.
Yesterday was another clear day with a strong inversion. Temps in the valley bottoms were in the frosty single digits while at 3,800′ on Sunburst it was a balmy mid 20’s F. Winds were light and variable and completely dead at times.
Today, we have another clear, cold and calm day ahead, the only change from yesterday will be a chance for high clouds to move in this afternoon. Winds should be around 5mph from a Westerly direction. Temps -10 to +5F in parking lots and 20-25F on ridgelines.
The big news is “A shift in the Pattern will be well underway Wednesday night and Thursday….” This means the blocking high pressure over us will push East allowing storm systems to impact Southcentral once again. It’s too early to tell how much and how warm these systems will be, or if snow will fall to sea level along Turnagain Arm or not – stay tuned!!
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||14||0||0||20|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||1||0||0||4|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||26||0||0||10|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||20||NE||2||7|
|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: 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.