Today we recommend avoiding the backcountry due to HIGH avalanche danger. Heavy snow has been falling over the last 24 hours and is expected to continue through early afternoon. The estimated snowfall for Turnagain Pass is 4-5’ and more snow is expected through early afternoon. Snowfall rates have been in the 6”/hour (0.2 – 0.3” SWE/hr) overnight at the Turnagain Pass SNOTEL and 1-2”/hour in Portage and Girdwood. This is an unprecedented amount of snow in a very short period of time and natural avalanches could run far distances and very fast. Avoid all avalanche terrain including slopes steeper than 30 degrees and stay far away from any runout zones. In Portage Valley where channeled terrain runs to sea level avoid any trails with steep slopes above, like Byron Glacier trail. As an alternative to the backcountry, consider going to Alyeska!!! Santa’s ski for free today.
The snow stake at Turnagain Pass DOT lot shows ~ 3-4 feet of new snow in the last 24 hours.
Crowns from natural storm snow avalanches were seen yesterday in the Girdwood Valley at around 2500′. In this zone there was 13″ new snow mid-afternoon.
In thinner snowpack zones such as Summit Lake we are tracking buried layers of facets, crusts and buried surface hoar that sit 2-3′ under the snow surface. 10” of snow has fallen over night in Summit Lake and 6-12” is possible today. This new snow and moderate ridgetop winds may be adding more stress to an already weak snowpack. Triggering a slab near the ground is likely in avalanche terrain. The Lynx Creek and Johnson Pass zone have little to no snowpack data and often have a similar snowpack to Summit Lake. These zones are now open to snowmachining and this area likely received 2-3’ of snow in the last 24 hours. Today is not the day to push into Johnson and Lynx. HIGH avalanche danger is expected in this zone similar to Turnagain Pass.
Yesterday: Heavy snowfall started around 8am and has continued through this morning. An estimated 4-5′ has fallen at Turnagain Pass (3.4 € SWE.) The Portage Rail Road Weather station is reporting 22 € at sea level (1.03 € SWE) and Alyeska midway is similar. Temperatures have remained in the mid to low 20F’s in the lower elevations and in the teens F at ridgetops. Ridgetop winds have been from the East 15- 30mph with some higher gust.
Today: A band of moisture and low pressure continue to pump snow through the Eastern Turnagain Arm region (North of Moose Pass to Girdwood.) The weather service has issued a winter storm warning with an additional 6-16″ is possible through early afternoon. Temperatures are expected to remain in the low 20F’s to low teens (F). Ridgetop winds will be light to moderate.
Tomorrow: An active weather pattern will continue tomorrow into the weekend with more snow showers in the forecast. Temperatures are expected to be in the 20F’s with light to moderate winds.
*Seattle Ridge weather station is rimed over and not recording any data.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||20||46″||3.4||85|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||16||10″||0.4||23|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||20||20″||1.04||40|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||*N/A||*N/A||*N/A||*N/A|