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Issued
Thu, February 24th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, February 25th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers this is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Thursday, February 24th at 7am. 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).

BOTTOM LINE

The avalanche hazard rating is MODERATE due to recent wind slabs and deeper weak layers. Wind activity diminished yesterday, bringing the hazard back down from Considerable. Residual wind slabs remain possible for human triggers. Deep persistent instabilities are less likely but possible to trigger in shallow areas.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

The snow and wind events over the last 5 days have finally quieted down. All recent reports from Turnagain Pass talk about highly wind affected snow at the surface. A quick look around shows areas with raised anti-tracks from the lighter density snow being eroded away from denser tracked snow. The last few days had areas of natural wind slab avalanche activity. That hazard still exists but will be declining over time as the slabs bond to the layers underneath.

See photo gallery for examples of recent wind slab avalanches.

The avalanches that are stepping down into older and deeper weak layers are becoming less frequent. This hazard still exists but is difficult to say how likely it is to trigger. It follows the same trend we’ve been talking about for the past couple months with likely trigger points in shallower zones.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

The last snowfall was last weekend. Since then wind has dominated the region with strong ridgetop wind from the Northwest. Yesterday the wind diminished and skies were clear. Temperatures have been cold with a warming trend since yesterday. Clear skies are expected today with light wind. A chance of snow tonight and tomorrow.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Forest Service is installing winter use bridges across Granite creek in Turnagain Pass. Be aware of an ice road from the Lyon creek bridge south towards Johnson Pass on the West side of the highway. Heavy equipment will also be used in the area.

I will issue the next advisory tomorrow morning at 7am. If you get out in the backcountry give us a call at 754-2369 or send us your observations using the button at the top of this page. Thanks and have a great day.

The NWS weather forecast for:

WESTERN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND-

INCLUDING…WHITTIER…SEWARD…GIRDWOOD…MOOSE PASS

500 AM AKST THU FEB 24 2011

.TODAY…PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS IN THE 30S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT NORTH

10 TO 15 MPH NEAR SEWARD.

.TONIGHT…INCREASING CLOUDS WITH A CHANCE OF SNOW AFTER MIDNIGHT.

LOWS 10 TO 25 ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. VARIABLE WIND TO 10 MPH.

.FRIDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS EXCEPT NUMEROUS

SNOW SHOWERS INLAND. SNOW ACCUMULATION UP TO 3 INCHES. HIGHS IN THE

LOWER TO MID 30S. WEST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH. NEAR SEWARD AND

WHITTIER…NORTH AND WEST WIND 10 TO 20 MPH INCREASING TO 20 TO 35

MPH IN THE AFTERNOON.

.FRIDAY NIGHT…PARTLY CLOUDY. ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE

EVENING. LOWS 10 TO 20 ABOVE. NORTHWEST WIND 10 TO 15 MPH EXCEPT

NORTH 20 TO 35 MPH NEAR SEWARD. NEAR WHITTIER…WEST WIND 30 TO 45

MPH WITH GUSTS TO 55 MPH.

.SATURDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER TO MID 20S. NORTHWEST

WIND 10 TO 20 MPH EXCEPT NORTH 30 TO 40 MPH NEAR SEWARD. NEAR

WHITTIER…WEST WIND 30 TO 45 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 60 MPH.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 34 24 36 / 0 30 30

GIRDWOOD 33 23 34 / 0 40 60

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

Temperature 21. Light wind from the West.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

Temperature 24. Light wind from the North.

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

Temperature 22 degrees. No new snow.

Thu, February 24th, 2011
Alpine
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Treeline
1,000'-2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
2 - Moderate
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.
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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.