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Tue, March 5th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Wed, March 6th, 2019 - 7:00AM
Aleph Johnston-Bloom
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

A generally  LOW  avalanche danger remains across the advisory area. Triggering a slab avalanche is unlikely. Watch for sluffing on steep shaded slopes, avoid travel under glide cracks and give cornices a wide berth. Pay attention to changing conditions.


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Tue, March 5th, 2019
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
1 - Low
2 - Moderate
3 - Considerable
4 - High
5 - Extreme
Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk Avalanche risk
Travel Advice Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern. Dangerous avalanche conditions. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding, and conservative decision-making essential. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Extraordinarily dangerous avalanche conditions. Avoid all avalanche terrain.
Likelihood of Avalanches Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Natural avalanches unlikely; human-triggered avalanches possible. Natural avalanches possible; human-triggered avalanches likely. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Natural and human-triggered avalanches certain.
Avalanche Size and Distribution Small avalanches in isolated areas or extreme terrain. Small avalanches in specific areas; or large avalanches in isolated areas. Small avalanches in many areas; or large avalanches in specific areas; or very large avalanches in isolated areas. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Very large avalanches in many areas.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

After a beautiful sunny day in the mountains clouds moved back into the area overnight. There is a chance of snow today and increased easterly winds but this should not have much impact on avalanche hazard. Watch for changing conditions if more snow falls than forecasted.

Today will be another day of Normal Caution (LOW danger). Things to keep in mind if you are headed into the backcountry:

  • Glide avalanches – These types of avalanches are highly unpredictable and not associated with human triggers. It’s always best to watch for and limit exposure under glide cracks.
  • Dry-loose sluffs – Watch your sluff on steep shaded slopes.
  • Cornice falls – As always, give cornices a wide berth. 
  • An outlier slab avalanche – Although it is unlikely a person could trigger a slab avalanche, the mountains can harbor surprises, especially in thin snowpack areas. South of Turnagain in the Summit Lake and Silvertip zones there is a shallow snowpack with a generally poor structure. A variety of old weak layers (facets and buried surface hoar) sit in the mid and base of the snowpack. The most suspect place to trigger an avalanche is steep terrain with old, hard wind slabs sitting on weak snow. 
  • Considering the consequences before entering into committing terrain and maintaining good travel protocol are good habits to keep on LOW danger days.

In anticipation of snow, we have been closely mapping the surface conditions as well as watching for new surface hoar growth. Surface hoar has been observed from valley bottoms to the Alpine and is resting on a variety of surfaces. There is a stout sun crust on southerly facing slopes. On shaded aspects 4-8″ or so of soft near surface facets sit over a firmer base and sastrugi, wind crust and/or rime crust can be found along ridgelines. The question is will it snow just enough today to bury the surface hoar and will we call it the “Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras” weak layer? Hopefully some surface hoar will be knocked over by the wind!

Surface hoar, Tincan, 3-4-19. Photo: Eeva Latosuo

Sun crust with surface hoar and stellars (from Sunday), Twin Peaks, 3-4-19. 

Tue, March 5th, 2019

Yesterday: Partly cloudy skies becoming mostly sunny. There was some valley fog in the morning. Winds were light and temperatures were in the teens to 20Fs at upper elevations and in the 30Fs at sea level. Overnight clouds moved in and winds picked up slightly. Temperatures were in the teens to 20Fs.  

Today: Mostly cloudy skies with a chance of snow showers. Winds will be southeasterly 5-15 mph with gusts into the 20s. Temperatures will be in the 20Fs. Overnight looks to be similar with winds becoming calm.    

Tomorrow: Continued cloudy skies with a chance of snow, calm winds and temperatures in the 20Fs. A more promising storm still looks to be on track for the weekend.  

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

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)  25  0 0   58  
Summit Lake (1400′)  19  0  0     27  
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  24   0    0     53  

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′)  17  E 4   18  
Seattle Ridge (2400′)   22     E    5     14  
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This is a general backcountry avalanche advisory issued for Turnagain Arm with Turnagain Pass as the core advisory area. This advisory does not apply to highways, railroads or operating ski areas.