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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
Sun, December 25th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Expires
Mon, December 26th, 2016 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
The Bottom Line

A BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE WARNING has been issued through the National Weather Service for the Turnagain Pass area and surrounding mountains.  

Heavy snowfall and strong winds have created a HIGH avalanche danger in the mountains surrounding Turnagain Pass, Girdwood Valley, Portage Valley and areas on the Kenai seeing heavy snowfall. Dangerous avalanche conditions are expected on all slopes 30 degrees and steeper – including runout zones. Avalanches are expected to release naturally, be easily triggered by people and could run to elevations below 1,000′.  

Travel in avalanche terrain is NOT recommended. Today is a day to hunker down, unwrap presents, hit the slopes at Alyeska or your local ski hill/trails or get your snowmachine ready for a possible motorized opening soon!    

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Sun, December 25th, 2016
Alpine
Above 2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
High (4)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Considerable (3)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
High (4)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Considerable (3)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Storm Slabs
    Storm Slabs
Storm Slabs
Storm Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within new snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slabs typically last between a few hours and few days (following snowfall). Storm-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

All I want for Christmas is a big snow storm
A big snow storm
Just, a big snow storm…

Merry Christmas riders and skiers!!! It seems as though Santa has answered our wishes and brought us a long awaited ‘Chugach Storm’! Yes, it’s raining at sea level, but above 500′ there is sticky new snow blanketing the mountains. Unfortunately, this is too much to play with today as by this afternoon we could be up to 20+” of new snow in 24 hours. 

STORM TOTALS in the upper elevations so far:

Turnagain Pass:     12″ and counting
Girdwood Valley:    12″ and counting
Summit Lake:          2-4″  

EXPECTED AVALANCHE ACTIVITY:  This is a text-book “rapid loading event”. Not only is 2′ of snow in 24 hours an avalanche maker in itself, this snow is falling on a VERY weak surface. The loose faceted snow combined with surface hoar (that we’ve been skiing/riding on the past several days) will act like ball bearings and inhibit the new snow from sticking to the mountainsides. Hence, widespread natural slab avalanches up to 2′ thick are likely and human triggered avalanches very likely. Winds should stay strong along with the snowfall through tonight and wind loaded slopes could harbor slabs as thick as 4′. 

Treed areas such as the Tincan Trees:  Storm snow slab avalanches 1-2′ thick are likely to be triggered in the trees. The new snow is denser than the underlying old snow – creating an upside down and unstable snowpack. Avoiding slopes over 30 degrees in treed areas is also recommended.
 

Check out the Turnagain Pass Snowstake loop at the RWIS DOT station. Thanks to the DOT for getting this station up and running for the winter!

 

Weather
Sun, December 25th, 2016

During the past 24-hours we have seen the start to our ‘Christmas Storm’. Snow began falling at noon yesterday and totals up to 6am this morning are above and in the table below. Winds ramped up dramatically yesterday morning from the East and have remained in the 30’s mph with gusts over 60mph on the ridgetops. We have limited wind data with the Sunburst weather station down, but it’s no question the winds are very strong with this system. Temperatures have warmed from the teens to the mid-20’sF above the trees and into the low 30’sF at 1,000′. The rain/snow line looks to be hovering near 500′.  

We are expecting another 10-12″ of snowfall today with around 1″ of water equivalent. Winds are expected to remain strong from the East in the 30’s mph with gusts to 75mph on the ridgetops. Temperatures look to stay warm with a rain/snow line remaining around 500′.

Tonight and tomorrow the system slowly moves out and we should see instability showers adding another few inches along with cooler temperatures.  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 27   12   0.8   36  
Summit Lake (1400′) 30   2   0.2   9  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 28   8   0.7   24  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) Under repair     Under repair     Under repair     Under repair    
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 22   SE   29 60  
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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.