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Archives
ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Mon, March 13th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Expires
Tue, March 14th, 2023 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Andrew Schauer
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW at all elevations. It is unlikely a person will trigger an avalanche today, but not impossible. Be sure to stick with safe travel protocols, including only exposing one person at a time to steep terrain, watching your partners from safe spots, and always traveling with a beacon, shovel, and probe.

PETE’S / JOHNSON PASS / SILVERTIP: This southern edge of our advisory area may be the exception to an otherwise stable snowpack. There is a weak layer of snow buried 1-2′ deep that may still be capable of producing large avalanches. Keep this in mind if you plan on getting out in this southern zone, and be sure to evaluate the snowpack and terrain carefully.

SUMMIT LAKE: The mountains around Summit Lake have a generally thinner and weaker snowpack than our core advisory area, and it remains possible a person could trigger a large avalanche in this zone.

Special Announcements

Turnagain Pass Avalanche Awareness Day – this Saturday!

On March 18th swing by the Turnagain Pass moto lot on your way to or from your backcountry ride or ski!! Test your beacon skills, chow down on hot dogs, and bring your questions for CNFAIC forecasters. The Alaska Avalanche School will be there along with a chance to demo snowmachines from Alaska Mining and Diving Supply and Anchorage Yamaha and Polaris. More details HERE!

Mon, March 13th, 2023
Alpine
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
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. Dangerous avalanche conditions. 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.
Recent Avalanches

There was widespread loose avalanche activity on solar aspects during the warm spell last week. We have not seen any avalanche activity since temperatures cooled down starting Thursday.

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

It has been 13 days since any of the weather stations within our advisory area recorded any precipitation. Following last week’s warm spell, temperatures have dropped and the snow surface has locked up on solar aspects. Without a major weak layer of concern in the snowpack, conditions are generally stable and it is unlikely a person will be able to trigger an avalanche today. It’s important to remember that although the odds are low of triggering anything, that probability is never 0.

There may be isolated pockets of unstable snow, especially in steep, unsupported, rocky slopes in shaded aspects. If you plan on stepping out into steeper terrain today, don’t let your guard down. Be sure to only expose one person at a time to steep slopes and keep an eye on your partners as they navigate steeper terrain. As always, we still need to travel with all of our standard rescue gear (beacon, shovel, probe) in case we manage to find one of the isolated pockets where a person could still trigger an avalanche.

It is looking like a pattern change is on the horizon, with chances for precipitation picking up later in the day tomorrow. It isn’t looking like much, but hopefully we will get enough to refresh the variable surfaces we’ve been dealing with for the past few days. Be sure to stay tuned for more!

Conditions may be challenging for skiing and riding right now, but the stability is good and the views are on point! 

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

We’ve been tracking a concerning layer of faceted snow buried about 1-2′ deep, which seems to only be a concern between Pete’s North and Johnson Pass. It has been a week since the last avalanche that failed on this layer, but it is still on our radar. Be aware of the possibility of triggering a large avalanche on this layer if you plan to get out in the southern edge of our advisory area, and adjust your terrain use accordingly.

Weather
Mon, March 13th, 2023

Yesterday: Skies started mostly clear with increasing high level clouds through the day. Winds were light and variable at around 5 mph with gusts around 15 mph. The coldest temperatures for the past 24 hours were yesterday morning, with lows in the single digits to low teens F. High temperatures got up to the upper 20’s F and there was no recorded precipitation.

Today: Skies should start of mostly cloudy this morning, clearing during the day. We may see a lingering low-level cloud through the day. Northwest winds should increase slightly, with sustained speeds around 5-10 mph and gusts of 10-15 mph. High temperatures will be in the mid teens to low 20’s F with lows in the single digits above and below 0 F. No measurable precipitation is expected today.

Tomorrow: After nearly two weeks without any recorded precipitation, it is looking like we may get a little refresh starting tomorrow afternoon. We will likely only see a trace of new snow during the day, with 2-4” overnight near Girdwood and Turnagain pass and roughly double those totals near Portage and Placer. Temperatures should get up into the upper teens to low 20’s F during the day, dropping back to the single digits to low teens F overnight. Skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with increasing cloud cover through the day. Winds are expected to switch back to the east but should stay light at around 5 mph. It is looking like snow may continue to trickle in for the second half of the week, but storm totals are looking pretty modest for now. Stay tuned for more!

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

Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′) 22 0 0 64
Summit Lake (1400′) 15 0 0 37
Alyeska Mid (1700′) 22 0 0 65
Bear Valley – Portage (132′) 26 0 0

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 14 W 5 16
Seattle Ridge (2400′) 17 N 3 13
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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.