NW winds are forecasted to pick up today, blowing 15-25 mph with gusts into the 30s. There is light, soft snow available for transport. Watch for wind slabs building on leeward slopes. Avoid steep slopes that looked pillowed and pay attention to changing conditions. Wind flow from this direction can be stronger over Seattle Ridge. It also can be channeled through Turnagain Pass from the South and winds near Taylor Pass can be much stronger. Look for flagging (snow blowing off of ridges), surface snow getting stiffer, cracking and drifting. An observer yesterday triggered a small pocket of wind slab in steep, rocky terrain. There is more snow in Girdwood so expect slabs to be larger. Keep in mind; if winds are stronger than forecasted, natural avalanches may occur.
Cornices grew during the storms last week. As always, give these features a wide berth and remember they can break further back than expected. A cornice fall at the high elevations could trigger a large avalanche on the slope below.
Snow available for transport today.
We know the snowpack structure above 3000′ is poor, there is a dense hard slab (3-8+ feet thick) sitting on a variety of weak layers in the mid pack (including buried surface hoar) and old November facets near the ground. Deep persistent slab avalanches remain a concern in the advisory area. Triggering a deep slab is becoming more and more difficult, but is still possible. The most likely trigger spots are thin areas in the snow cover, often near rocks, or where the slope rolls over. High peaks, that see wind, can also be thinner and it is more likely to find the trigger point for a deep slab where some of the slab has been stripped away.
Key points that keep in mind about our current snowpack:
Snowpack structure above 3000′ on Sunburst.
On slopes that are protected from the wind expect loose snow avalanches (sluffs) in steep terrain. The additional snow we picked up over the past couple days, 6-10″ in Girdwood and 3-5″ at Turnagain landed on already loose surface snow. The surface snow has been quick to sluff on steep slopes and the new snow just added to the volume of the sluffs. As the sluffs grow larger they could definitely catch a person by surprise, especially on steep, committing terrain. Observers are reporting that the sluffs are running long distances and are large enough to have a powder cloud. Winds blowing today could initiate these off of the top of ridgelines.
Yesterday was mostly to partly cloudy with a thick fog layer and very light snow showers. Winds were light and shifted from east to west. Temperatures were in the teens. Overnight temperatures dropped into the single digits. Winds remained light.
Today skies will be partly cloudy to mostly clear and sunny. Temperatures are forecasted to remain in the single digits and may drop below 0F at upper elevations. Winds will be from the NW 15-25 mph gusting into the 30s. Tonight temperatures drop into the negative with the lows ranging from -6F to -19F. Winds continue from the NW 15-25 mph.
The cold temperatures continue tomorrow with a chance of snow and NW winds. Temperatures look to warm up into the teens on Friday as a low moves into the Gulf and brings snow showers. However, the overall pattern looks to be mostly cold and dry for the weekend into next week.
*Seattle Ridge anemometer is rimed over and not able to collect wind data.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||14||trace||0||56|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||13||0||0||15|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||13||1.3||0.07||49|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||10||*n/a||*n/a||*n/a|
|12/10/19||Turnagain||Avalanche: Tincan and Sunburst from the air||CNFAIC Staff|
|12/10/19||Turnagain||Observation: Tincan||Nancy Pfeiffer|
|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|
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: email@example.com
|Area||Status||Weather & Riding Conditions|
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