Wind loading from yesterday and today is adding additional stress to an already tenuous snowpack. Several persistent weak layers are sitting under the New Year’s storm that ended on Wednesday and left 1-3 feet of snow across our region (Turnagain Pass and Girdwood.) This storm covered up a widespread layer of surface hoar that has been reactive in stability tests over the last few days. It is unknown how this layer will respond to a bigger trigger like a snowmachine. Only one steep slope has been tested by numerous skiers/boarders, Common Bowl on Tincan. No incidents were reported. Otherwise very limited information exists as to how well the snowpack is adjusting to it’s new load. We also don’t know how intact the surface hoar remains across any given slope.
Be aware of newly forming wind slabs on leeward features. These slabs are like to be small and isolated, but could have high consequences should someone initiate a wind slab that steps down to a deeper layer of the snowpack. Wind loading is an additional reason we urge folks to use caution and chose low consequence terrain in the alpine, slopes less than 30 degrees in steepness.
Today keep in mind:
*In addition to the buried surface hoar problem, weak faceted snow sits near the ground in avalanche paths that released in early December. Places like the SW face of Sunburst and Seattle Creek Headwall are suspect of this structure.
Propagation potential has been found in stability tests during and after the storm on a widespread layer of surface hoar.
In the Alpine, above 3,000’, a human triggered, large and dangerous deep slab avalanches is still possible. A hard slab, 3-5+ feet thick sits on weak sugary snow (basal facets) near the ground. This is a high consequence avalanche problem that is impossible to outsmart, and will take a long time to heal. A big trigger like a snowmachine or a slab avalanche in the upper layers of the snowpack may be enough force to initiate a deep slab avalanche. Likely trigger spots will be in thinner areas of the snowpack that are connected to large, loaded slopes. Cautious route-finding is essential. This includes thinking about the remote trigger potential from below.
Yesterday skies were clear and Easterly ridge top winds increased in the afternoon to Moderate. Sunburst weather station averaged 14mph with a few gusts in the low 40s mph early this morning. An inch of snow was recorded overnight at Center Ridge Snotel in Turnagain Pass and temperatures have increased from the low 20F’s to 30’s F at 1000′ this morning.
Today 1-4 € of snow is possible (.2 € SWE) and Moderate Easterly winds are expected to decrease by late afternoon. Skies should remain overcast with limited visibility. Temperatures should remain in the low 30F’s at 1000′, and rain/snow could reach 600′.
Snow flurries are possible tomorrow, but minimal accumulation is expected. Temperatures will be in the mid 20F’s and winds should be light and variable. Clearing skies and cooler temperatures are expected Monday into Tuesday.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||27||1||.1||44|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||13||0||0||16|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||25||trace||.04||36|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||21||*n/a||*n/a||*n/a|
|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
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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