Weak layers deeper in the snowpack appear to have been the culprit in multiple natural and human-triggered avalanches since Monday. Yesterday a skier-triggered avalanche caught and carried 3 skiers in small terrain on Silvertip (southern Turnagain Pass) on a NE aspect around 1500’. On Tuesday we saw a natural avalanche cycle fire off in the Placer/ Skookum zone with several small and one very large avalanche (perhaps 1-mile wide), triggered by warming temperatures and high clouds producing a greenhouse effect in the afternoon hours. And Monday saw two remote-triggered avalanches on the periphery of Turnagain Pass (Grandview and Summit Lake) in addition to two skier-triggered avalanches on Sunburst. With the 2-5’ of fresh snow over the weekend, persistent weak layers have inched ever closer to the tipping point. Skiers, snowmachiners and changing (warming) weather have all proved sufficient triggers this week.
Things to keep in mind if heading into the backcountry today:
Multiple natural avalanches initiated by warming on Tuesday afternoon in the Skookum/ Lubner Lake area, Placer Valley.
Skier-triggered avalanche on lower Silvertip yesterday. More info on Observations page.
CNFAIC intern Jessie Haffener having no trouble finding the common weak layer in many of this week’s avalanches. In this case it’s about 25-30″ deep on Pete’s North at ~2,100′.
Wet loose avalanches or roller balls today are indicative of solar radiation and/ or warming temperatures affecting change on the snowpack. These have potential to trigger larger, more dangerous slabs, particularly on southerly and easterly slopes greater than 30 degrees.
Cornices have grown significantly since the March 9th storm began and deposited several feet of new snow accompanied by strong winds. Give corniced ridges an extra wide berth and minimize time spent below as a cornice fall can trigger and propagate an avalanche on a slope below.
This is a serious concern, particularly around Girdwood this time of year. Be mindful of where children and pets are playing, vehicles parked and entrances to buildings in relation to loaded roofs. Often times warming temperatures after a large storm is enough to begin seeing roofs shed snow. When a roof avalanches, it’s likely to shed the entire snowpack all at once.
Yesterday’s weather turned out to be a bit more unsettled than previously forecasted. Temperatures hovered in the mid to low 30’s from sea level to 1,000′ and was just cold enough to keep precipitation as snow to sea level. 1-3″ of wet snow accumulated throughout the day and winds were light from the West.
Today temperatures look to be a bit warmer reaching into the mid-30’s at sea level and we may see a rain/ snow mix. Forecasted precipitation is minimal today (trace to 1″ snow above 1,000′) ahead of our next weather producer that arrives in southcentral this evening. More on that below. Winds will start off light from the SE today and increase into the 20’s and 30’s mph this evening.
Tonight and into tomorrow a fast moving storm from the Southwest will impact our area. This looks to be a bit warmer than our last storm and will be accompanied by stronger winds thru Turnagain Arm from the SE. By Friday night/ Saturday models show an upper level ridge building over southcentral Alaska and a partly to mostly sunny weekend on tap.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||31||1||.1||88|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||30||0||0||33|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||28||2||.3||81|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||25||WNW||4||10|
|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|
|11/25/19||Turnagain||Observation: Sunnyside||Graham Predeger 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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