It has been a week since we had any report of human triggered avalanche activity and observers are not reporting signs of instability. As a mostly calm and cold weather pattern dominates our area and continues until the weekend, we are in the “normal caution” phase of avalanche concerns. These include:
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting caught in a glide avalanche also remains a concern. Glide cracks are opening and releasing and have been observed throughout the advisory area in both the Alpine and Treeline elevation bands. It is important to minimize time spent underneath the glide cracks. Release is unpredictable and not human triggered. Be on the lookout for cracks and wrinkled looking snow (often a precursor to cracking).
Remember LOW hazard doesn’t mean NO hazard! It is still important to look for signs of instability and use good travel techniques.
Recent glide avalanches and glide cracks opening in Lynx Creek drainage, 1-7-19.
Lipps glide cracks, 1-7-19.
South of Turnagain – Lynx Creek/Johnson Pass/Summit Lake zone: A poor snowpack structure exists in these areas. The buried surface hoar that we have been talking about over the past week has been found as well as facet/crust combinations in the bottom of the snowpack. The New Year’s storm overloaded a variety of these weak layers as can be seen in photos from the avalanche activity throughout Summit Lake. If you’re headed this way, the snowpack becomes more complex – evaluate terrain exposure and the snowpack as you travel.
The facet/crust combination continues to be a layer of concern in Summit Lake. Observers over the weekend found this set-up to be stubborn to initiate but still consistently reactive in multiple stability tests.
Yesterday: Skies were clear, winds were light and temperatures were cold. Upper elevation highs were in the single digits to low teens and valley bottom lows were in the negative teens with the inversion. Valley fog conditions persisted. Clouds built in the late afternoon and temperatures increased a little overnight.
Today: Is forecast to be partly to mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers and light southeast winds. Temperatures will be in the teens and low 20Fs. Skies clear again overnight.
Tomorrow: Sunshine and cooling temperatures return Wednesday and will be the dominant weather through Friday. Stay tuned for a change over the weekend with a potential return, according to the National Weather Service to “warmer, wetter, and overall more unsettled weather as we head into next week”.
*Seattle Ridge weather station was heavily rimed and the anemometer (wind sensor) was destroyed. We are currently working to replace it.
|Temp Avg (F)||Snow (in)||Water (in)||Snow Depth (in)|
|Center Ridge (1880′)||8||0||0||55|
|Summit Lake (1400′)||-3||0||0||21|
|Alyeska Mid (1700′)||5||0||0||45|
|Temp Avg (F)||Wind Dir||Wind Avg (mph)||Wind Gust (mph)|
|Seattle Ridge (2400′)||11||*N/A||*N/A||*N/A|