It feels like a return to “what winter should be like” along the Eastern Turnagain Arm this weekend. Snow has been consistently falling after a two week dry spell, and to sea level for the first time in practically 4 years. Friday’s snowfall numbers were confirmed yesterday to be 8-12″ at Turnagain Pass, 7″ at Johnson Pass, 7″ at Ingram Creek at sea level and the winner, 15-18″ in Girdwood Valley. Another round of snow is on the way currently and is expected to bring 2-3″ today and another 4-6″ tonight, at all elevations. These may not be the heavy Chugach Storms, but they are drastically improving riding and skiing conditions.
Avalanche activity yesterday, that we know of, was minimal. Human triggered sluffs and very small slabs were noted. Poor visibility limited a good look around for assessing natural avalanches that may have occurred during the storm. We had a number of folks mention ‘possible crowns’ seen on N facing Sunburst, NE facing Tincan (Todd’s Bowl) and N facing Magnum.
Andy Moderow captured this picture of Tincan Proper and Hippy Bowl yesterday in a moment of good light. Note the surface ‘texturing’ and drifting by the winds – a good way to determine likely wind loaded slopes vs. wind scoured.
A look at the West face of Magnum from the road in partically obscured light.
Today’s main concern are wind slab avalanches. Winds during the past 24-hours have been bumping into the moderate range along the ridgetops from a generally Easterly direction – this is just enough to form wind slabs in favored areas. The pattern will be the same again today. Although travel above treeline may be challenging with low visibility, if you do get to these areas, pay close attention to what the wind has done, or is doing to the snow. With plenty of loose snow to load slopes, it won’t take much to form slabs 1-2′ thick that could be quite touchy if they are fresh. These slabs are likely to be soft and could be lower on slopes where cross loading may have occurred.
Red Flags to look for:
Expect sluffs to be fast moving today on steep and sustained slopes that have a slick wind-hardened surface underneath. Sluffs will be composed of Friday’s storm snow (8-12″). Cold temperatures yesterday and overnight have likely enhanced the potential for these loose snow avalanches in terrain approaching 40 degrees and more.
Yes, we are still concerned about glide cracks releasing. Most of the cracks we know about are in areas rarely traveled. The exception is in -1 Bowl (Main Bowl) in the Seattle Creek drainage where glide cracks threaten terrain commonly traveled. Keep an eye out for cracks, which can be difficult with new snow, and limit time underneath them.
Yesterday was a break in between storms. Skies were mostly cloudy and snowfall stopped in the early morning – no accumulation in the past 24 hours. Ridgetop winds were light to moderate from a mostly Easterly direction. Temperatures dropped through the day as cold air was pushed in behind the storm system creating some valley fog.
Today, the second (in a series of two) storm systems is moving in. This event looks to be much like last Friday’s; take a look at the satellite image. Light snowfall has just begun and will continue into tomorrow morning. We should see anywhere from 2-3″ today and 4-6″ tonight (snow to sea level). Will Girdwood get more with this system as with the last? Possible, check back tomorrow morning! Ridgetop winds today are expected to increase to 10-20mph from the East and temperatures warm into the 20’sF at 1,000′ and the mid-teens at the upper elevations.
Martin Luther King day and into the work week, a return to clearing skies, cold temperatures and a breezy Northwest flow is forecast.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||22||0||0||42|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||10||0||0||15|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||18||2||0.2||35|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||18||SE||5||15|
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|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.