After strong Northerly winds damaged much of the higher elevation slopes during the last two days, there is another round of wind on tap today. However, these winds are from the Southeast and are bringing cloud cover, warmer temperatures and a chance for 2-3+” of snow tonight. Only small wind slabs were noted in the Turnagain Pass zone yesterday from the past two days, however larger natural wind slabs occurred in the Summit Lake area. No human triggered slab avalanches have been reported – only small loose snow sluffs.
Photo: Wind slab avalanche occurring naturally on Wednesday or Thursday in the Summit Lake area (East facing slope on Fresno Ridge).
Due to the shift in wind direction today, fresh wind slabs may form on areas previously scoured; despite the look of the photos below, there is likely enough soft snow available for transport. The terrain forces winds to blow in very different directions on specific ridgelines, so keep in mind differect aspects may have very different wind effect. New slabs today are likely to be under a foot thick and softer compared to the hard older slabs formed Wednesday and Thursday.
If you headed to the backcounty – watch for:
Photo: Wind effect on Magnum’s West face. You can see scouring out of older tracks along with smooth rounded areas where snow had drifted/loaded.
Photo: Another wind affected Southwesterly slope in the Placer Valley, just to the North of the Skookum drainage.
Watch your sluff. Sluffs (loose snow avalanches) triggered by snowmachiners/skiers yesterday were relatively small to medium. With another night of cold temperatures loosening the surface snow, they could be large and fast enough to catch you off your guard today.
Photo: Repeat Offender slide path on the East face of Seattle Ridge yesterday. You can see where the Wed/Thur winds have washed the old tracks away on the upper left of photo under the new tracks. You can also see small sluffs initiated on the steepest part of the slope in the lower right portion.
A variety of weak layers exist within the snowpack and vary across our region. Following the most recent snowstorm (1/13-1/16) most of the avalanche activity has been observed in the Girdwood Valley. This makes sense since this storm favored this area and left 2-3’ of snow. A handful of small, but deep (to the ground) avalanches were spotted in the alpine this week on Southern aspects of Penguin Ridge, Raggedtop, and Magpie. Triggering even a smaller persistent slab could bury a person or take you for a very unfavorable ride over rocks. If you see recent avalanche activity, experience shooting cracks, or “whumpfing” these are obvious clues that you should avoid steep slopes.
Cold temperatures and clear skies were over the area again yesterday. Valley bottoms stuck in the -15 to -5 range while ridgetops were slightly warmer, in the 0 to +10F. Ridgetop winds were strong from the NW (~30mph, gusting 50mph) yesterday morning but have died down significantly since noon yesterday.
Today we should see clouds filter in and a chance for snowfall as a frontal band moves through from the West ahead of a cold low-pressure. Ridgetop winds are expected to kick up from the Southeast into the 10-20mph range and bring some ‘relatively’ warmer air. Temperatures that have climbed overnight at the upper elevations will continue to do so today and reach the upper teens. Valley bottoms should climb into the ‘+’ single digits today as well. Light snowfall is expected to start late today with 2-4″ possible tonight.
Tomorrow, the frontal band looks like it will still be over our region bringing a chance for additional light snow showers and cloud cover. Temperatures should remain warmer in the teens F with a light Southerly flow along the ridgetops. Stay tuned!
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||5||0||0||41|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||-4||0||0||14|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||4||0||0||39|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||7||NW||12||45|
|05/18/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Ridge||Joe Kurtak|
|04/30/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/27/21||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan Ridge||Joe Kurtak|
|04/26/21||Turnagain||Observation: Magnum||Creighton/ Hoople|
|04/25/21||Turnagain||Observation: Sunburst||Nick D'Alessio|
|04/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Airplane obs||Johnston-Bloom / DiJulia /Hilliard Forecaster|
|04/24/21||Turnagain||Observation: Corn biscuit||Heather Johnson|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Lynx Ck Drainage||W Wagner Forecaster|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Avalanche: Sunburst||Eeva Latosuo|
|04/23/21||Turnagain||Observation: Center Ridge Turnagain pass||Joe Kurtak|
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.