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Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory
Tuesday, December 8th 2009 6:57 am by CNFAIC Staff
ARCHIVED ADVISORY - All advisories expire after 24 hours from the posting date/time.
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BROUGHT TO YOU BY
The Bottom Line
Good morning backcountry travelers this is Matt Murphy with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Tuesday December 8th at 7 am. This will serve as 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS
All areas designated for snowmachines (except Placer and 20 Mile) on the Chugach National Forest are open. Please remember that Center and Divide Creek near the Johnson Pass Trailhead are always closed due to the current Forest Plan. These areas are periodically patrolled by law enforcement. We are monitoring the snow at Placer and 20 Mile and will open those areas as soon as there is enough snow, these colder temps down low are really helping these areas.

An I-phone was found on Sunburst on Sunday. Call 754-2349 for more info if it is yours.

WEATHER ROUNDUP
Will recent weather effect avalanche conditions today?
Well, lets take a closer look at the precip, winds, and temps.

Hindcast (Last 24 hours)

3800 -Sunburst Wx Station-
Temperature Range: 41-47 VERY WARM!
Wind: averaged calm 2-13 mph out of the West with a light max gust of 19 mph

2600-Seattle Ridge Wx Station-
Wind: averaged calm 1-4 mph out of the NE with a calm max gust of 7 mph

1800-Center Ridge Wx Station-
Precip: 0 inches of water and 0 inches of new snow
minus 2 of total snowpack due to settlement for total depth of 60 inches
Temperature Range: 31-35

Nowcast (OTW)

Most weather stations below 1800 are recording colder temps than yesterday, but the temps are much warmer a mid elevations and ridgetops. Temps are currently 18 degrees at sea level (8 degrees colder than yesterday), and as high as 47 degrees at 3800 on Sunburst (6 degrees warmer than yesterday). Thats almost a difference of 30 degrees between those elevations! Strange weather.
Skies are clear in Girdwood as of 5am, and the Middleton and Kenai Radars are clear as a bell. Winds are currently calm at all ridgetop wx stations.

Forecast

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-
INCLUDING...WHITTIER...SEWARD...GIRDWOOD...MOOSE PASS
500 AM AKST TUE DEC 8 2009

.TODAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE MID 20S TO LOWER 40S...
COLDEST INLAND. NEAR SEWARD...NORTH WIND 15 MPH. NEAR
WHITTIER...LIGHT WEST WIND INCREASING TO 20 MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.
VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH ELSEWHERE.
.TONIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS 10 TO 25 ABOVE. LIGHT WINDS.
.WEDNESDAY...MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE 20S TO 30S. LIGHT WINDS.
.WEDNESDAY NIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS IN THE MID TEENS TO LOWER 30S.
LIGHT WINDS.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 35 22 33 / 0 0 0
GIRDWOOD 24 13 24 / 0 0 0


Short Term Weather Models for higher elevations around the Kenai Mountains near Turnagain Pass
Sea-level: 0 inches of water forecasted today
3000: temps forecasted above freezing today around 40 degrees with winds 5-10mph
6000: temps forecasted above freezing today around 40 degrees with winds 5-10mph


AVALANCHE DISCUSSION
Today's weather shouldnt contribute to the avalanche danger. The unusually warm temps at the upper elevations are a little concerning, but based on yesterdays observations, these temps do not appear to be putting a strain on the surface snow. The NWS and the short term weather models make it look like today will be the height of the warm temps, and they are forecasted to start cooling slightly tomorrow. Since it is December, the sunlight is not as intense as it is in the spring, when we really get worried about warm temps and direct sun. We did find a strong temperature gradient in the top 6 inches of surface snow; so, this might become a factor for some near surface facets in the future. This warmer surface snow did not appear to be creeping rapidly or adding to todays avalanche danger.

The most concerning weak layer right now are those sugary facets on the ground. In the past two days, we have done 8 compression tests at elevations ranging from 2300-3500 on E, NW, and SW aspects on the motorized and non-motorized sides at Turnagain Pass. These tests found hard(CTH28Q2) to no failures on those facets. Looking at the natural avalanches that occurred during last weeks storm, the largest avalanches failed in areas like Sunburst and Summit Lake where the snowpack was thinner ranging from 2-5 feet deep. We are not aware of any significant human are natural avalanches on this facet layer since last Tuesday 12/1/2009. We are still advising caution in areas that have a shallower snowpack because that is going to be the most likely area to find a surprising avalanche. Rocky areas near ridge tops are common areas of shallow snow.

Todays avalanche danger level is rated as LOW. LOW is defined as: Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Natural and human-triggered avalanches unlikely. Very small avalanches in widespread areas: or small avalanches in isolated areas. Normal caution is advised including the standard backcountry rituals of: traveling one at a time, stay spaced out, watch your partners, don't travel above your partners, wear your beacon and know how to use it, carry your shovel, probe and rescue gear on you and know how to use these as well.

The secondary concern today are glide cracks. Tincan in particular has lots of these crevasse like features. People and dogs have fallen into these before in the past, and they can be very difficult to crawl out of. Make sure your partner knows where you are around these glide cracks.

Always remember that safe backcountry travel requires training and experience. You control your own risk by choosing where, when, and how you travel.

Thanks for checking todays avalanche advisory. The next one will be posted tomorrow 12/9/2009.



 Show the Complete North American Avalanche Danger Scale
0 NO RATING Alpine / Above 2,500'
0 NO RATING Treeline / 1,000'-2,500'
0 NO RATING Below Treeline / Below 1,000'

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).

Winter snowmachine use open/closed status and riding conditions updates

Riding status is not associated with avalanche danger. An area will be open to motorized use in accordance to the Forest Management Plan when snow coverage is adequate to protect underlying vegetation. Backcountry hazards including avalanche hazard are always present regardless of the open status of motorized use areas.

(Updated: Jan 13, 2019 )

AREA STATUS WEATHER AND RIDING CONDITIONS
Glacier District
Johnson Pass: Open
Placer River: Open
Skookum Drainage: Open
Turnagain Pass: Open
Twentymile: ClosedClosed. Forest Service is monitoring conditions.
Seward District
Carter Lake: Open
Lost Lake Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Primrose Trail: OpenPlease stay on trail to avoid resource damage through forested areas.
Resurrection Pass Trail: ClosedClosed for the 2018/19 season. Next season will be open to motorized use.
Snug Harbor: Open
South Fork Snow River Corridor: Open
Summit Lake: Open

Subscribe to the Turnagain Area Avalanche Advisory:

The information in this advisory is from the U.S. Forest Service, which is solely responsible for its content. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory provided by the Chugach National Forest, in partnership with Friends of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.


USFS SNOW AND AVALANCHE HOTLINE (907) 754-2369
If you have comments or questions regarding CNFAIC operations or winter recreation management, please email staff@chugachavalanche.org
© 2019 Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center. All rights reserved.
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