Turnagain Pass Avalanche Forecast RSS

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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Wed, March 7th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Expires
Thu, March 8th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger remains  MODERATE  above 1000′ on all aspects. Triggering a large slab avalanche  breaking in weak layers 1-3′ deep in the snowpack is possible.  Watch for old wind slabs along ridgelines and in cross-loaded gullies. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully.  

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Wed, March 7th, 2018
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Low (1)
Avalanche risk
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Avalanche risk
Moderate (2)
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Avalanche risk
Low (1)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
  • Almost Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small
    Size
Persistent Slabs
Persistent Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer of snow (a slab) in the middle to upper snowpack, when the bond to an underlying persistent weak layer breaks. Persistent layers include: surface hoar, depth hoar, near-surface facets, or faceted snow. Persistent weak layers can continue to produce avalanches for days, weeks or even months, making them especially dangerous and tricky. As additional snow and wind events build a thicker slab on top of the persistent weak layer, this avalanche problem may develop into a Deep Persistent Slab.

Likelihood of Avalanches
This graphic depicts how likely you are to trigger avalanches or encounter natural avalanches while traveling on avalanche prone slopes. Unlikely means that few avalanches could be triggered in avalanche terrain and natural avalanches are not expected. The chance of triggering or observing avalanches increases as we move up the scale. Certain means that humans will be able to trigger avalanches on many slopes, and natural avalanches should be expected.

Size of Avalanches
This graphic depicts the potential size and destructive force of expected avalanches. Small avalanches are not large enough to bury humans and are relatively harmless unless they carry people over cliffs or through trees or rocks. Moving up the scale, avalanches become large enough to bury, injure, or kill people, large enough to bury or destroy vehicles and break a few trees, and large enough to destroy railway cars, buildings, or a substantial amount of forest. Historic avalanches are massive events capable of destroying villages and gouging or altering the landscape.
More info at Avalanche.org

As we anticipate a storm tomorrow it is good to remember the current state of the snowpack. Observers continue to find the buried persistent weak layers in the snowpack to be reactive and today the possibility of triggering a large avalanche remains. At the mid-elevations, buried 1-2′ deep are facets sitting on a crust and at the higher elevations, 1-3′ deep is a buried surface hoar/facet combo. The slab over the weak layers could be very hard if it is in terrain that was affected by the strong winds last week. This was the case in the skier triggered avalanche in Summit Lake a week ago, the mid-elevation faceted layer was under very hard wind-affected snow.  Although the heart of Turnagain Pass has the buried weak layers, they are more pronounced and developed on the Southern end of Turnagain Pass and in Summit Lake where the snowpack is shallower. On Monday an observer found the buried surface hoar in Lynx Creek, described the snowpack as “spooky” and changed their plan due to concerning snowpit test results. Areas to the North, such as Crow Pass, are also suspect along with those that have not seen much traffic this season. Using safe travel protocols and assessing the consequences if a slab does release is key in choosing terrain. Weak layers like these can become more reactive after even a small additional load. As the snow falls this week keep that in mind and as always be alert for signs of instability. If we do get heavy snow tomorrow expect the avalanche danger to rise quickly.

Wind slabs: Hard wind-affected snow on steep, unsupported slopes may still triggered if you find the wrong spot. Be suspect of very stiff snow over soft snow or hollow sounding snow near upper elevation ridgelines and cross-loaded gullies. In addition, yesterday afternoon the winds picked up blowing from the East and gusting into the 30s. Look for cracking and very shallow, fresh wind slabs near ridgelines. 

Solar warming/effects:  Sunshine this afternoon may allow for enough warming to initiate roller balls and small wet loose avalanches on steep Southerly aspects. Warming may also cause slabs to be more reactive; something to keep in mind as we choose our late afternoon terrain.  

State of the snowpack before the storm… 

 The Tenderfoot avalanche that occured last week due to very hard wind-affected snow over the buried facet/crust combination.

 

 

Weather
Wed, March 7th, 2018

Yesterday was mostly cloudy with light snow showers in the afternoon into the evening with little overall accumulation. Temperatures were in the teens to mid 20Fs. Winds were picked up in the afternoon blowing Easterly 10-20 mph with gusts into the 30s.  

Today will start cloudy and become partly sunny in the afternoon during a small window before the next system moves in. Temperatures will be in the 20Fs to low 30Fs. Winds will be light and Northerly. Clouds move in again in this evening with snow showers overnight. Winds will shift back to the East and temperatures will be in the upper teens to mid 20Fs.  

There is still some uncertainty in the storm track that is forecast to impact the area tomorrow.   The difference of the low moving into Cook Inlet versus Prince William Sound will affect how much precipitation the advisory area gets. There is a good possibility that we will see some periods of heavy snow and stronger winds. The timing and snow amounts are still to be determined. Stay tuned!  

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)  25 trace   0    67
Summit Lake (1400′)   18   trace    0       29  
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  22 1.4   0.11    59

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)  13 ENE    11 31  
Seattle Ridge (2400′)  19 ESE    15 32  
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Riding Areas
Updated Mon, December 02nd, 2019

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: mailroom_r10_chugach@fs.fed.us

Area Status Weather & Riding Conditions
Glacier District
Johnson Pass
Closed
Closed.
Placer River
Closed
Closed.
Skookum Drainage
Closed
Closed.
Turnagain Pass
Closed
Closed.
Twentymile
Closed
Closed.
Seward District
Carter Lake
Closed
Closed.
Lost Lake Trail
Closed
Closed.
Primrose Trail
Closed
Closed.
Resurrection Pass Trail
Closed
Closed. Will be open for the 2019/20 season pending adequate snow cover.
Snug Harbor
Closed
Closed.
South Fork Snow River Corridor
Closed
Closed.
Summit Lake
Closed
Closed.

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