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ARCHIVED FORECAST - All forecasts expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
Issued
Sat, April 14th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, April 15th, 2018 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Heather Thamm
The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is  LOW  this morning and will rise to  MODERATE  today. Triggering a small to large wet avalanche will be possible at all elevations in the afternoon.  In the Alpine, triggering a slab avalanche 1-2′ thick remains possible where drier snow exists, and will become possible on Southerly slopes when the surface crust melts. Give cornices extra space.  

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Sat, April 14th, 2018
Alpine
Above 2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
Moderate (2)
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
Moderate (2)
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
Moderate (2)
Danger Scale:
No Rating (0)
Low (1)
Moderate (2)
Considerable (3)
High (4)
Extreme (5)
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
  • Almost Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
    Likelihood
  • Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small
    Size
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.

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

Wet Loose: Spring is here and with it comes daily fluctuations in the avalanche danger with sun and warming. Timing is everything. Clear skies overnight have created a surface crust adding strength to the snow. As the day heats up and the crust melts and loses strength, the danger rises – making it possible to trigger a wet avalanche on steep sun exposed terrain features. Today looks similar to yesterday with daily temperatures expected to reach the mid-40F’s by early afternoon and little to no wind. Remember solar noon is around 2pm  and this is when wet avalanches can begin to release, either naturally or by a person. Once the snow becomes wet and ‘mushy’ and your skis or snowmachine start trenching into wet snow, it’s time to find supportable surfaces. Even a small wet avalanche can turn into something larger in bigger terrain.

Wet Slab: There remains some uncertainty around the possibility of triggering a wet slab avalanche as warm temps today make the snow wet in the mid elevations. Earlier this week many natural wet loose and wet slab avalanches occurred below 2000′ where rain saturated the snowpack. As water drains out of the snow and we experience several days of re-freezing overnight this is becoming less likely, but not out of the question.

Cornices: Daily warming and sunnier weather can make cornices more unstable. As always, give cornices plenty of space and limit exposure underneath them.

Widespread natural wet avalanche cycle occurred below 3000′ throughout our region. Note the wet slab at 1500′ on South face of Tincan. 

 

Pay attention to how supportable the snow feels in the afternoon as surface crust melt and the snow becomes wet. Yesterday it was easy to post hole up to your waist on Southerly aspect below 2000′. 

 

Most of the large wet avalanche from 4/10-4/11 on Seattle Ridge were on the Southern end of Turnagain Pass where a generally thinner snowpack exists. Some of these avalanches released near the ground. 

  

Additional Concern
  • Persistent Slabs
    Persistent Slabs
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.
More info at Avalanche.org

Triggering a lingering storm slab or a persistent slab is becoming less likely with time. However afternoon warming adds an element of uncertainty as surface crusts break down and destabilize the snow on solar aspects. Yesterday a group of 3 skiers experienced a collapse (whumpf) at 3000’ on a SW aspect of Tincan, and the day before a skier triggered a storm slab on a West aspect of Johnson Pass near 4900’. We know of older weak snow (facets) buried within the top 2’ of the snowpack and we don’t have a lot of info about how this snow is adjusting in the upper elevations. Northerly aspects with dry snow (without a surface crust) may harbor this set up. Basically triggering slab avalanche 1-2’ deep should still be on your mind if venturing into steeper terrain in upper elevations.  

Weather
Sat, April 14th, 2018

Yesterday was clear and sunny and no precipitation was recorded. Temperatures reached 50F near sea level and mid 40F’s in the mid elevations. Ridgetops were in the mid 30F’s during the heat of the day. Temperatures crept into the upper 20Fs at ridge tops and mid 30F’s at lower elevations. Winds were light from the Northwest 5-15mph.  

For today expect sunny skies and another warm day. Temperatures should again reach the low 50F below 1000′ and 40F’s along ridgelines. Winds will be calm to light (0-10mph) from the NW. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 30F’s overnight.  

For Sunday and Monday sunny weather will remain with diurnal temperatures swings, cooling overnight and warming during the day . Ridgetop winds are supposed to remain light from the Northwest. There is a possibility for light rain starting Wednesday associated with a low-pressure developing near the Aleutians.  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 41   0   0   68  
Summit Lake (1400′) 37   0   0   24  
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 40   0   0   65  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 31   NW   5   15  
Seattle Ridge (2400′) *N/A   NW    5 21  
Observations
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Riding Areas
Updated Wed, December 11th, 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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