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!
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.
|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|
|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|
|12/08/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan||Ryan Van Luit Forecaster|
|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|
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
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