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Issued
Fri, March 11th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sat, March 12th, 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 Friday, March 11th 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

Today’s avalanche danger rating is LOW with pockets of MODERATE. Warm weather in the afternoon is affecting south aspects and causing a new wet snow concern. Deeper instabilities continue to be present, although this hazard is diminishing and probably only a concern in very shallow snow and steep terrain.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

It’s only March, but sometimes it feels like April in the afternoon. Day after day we get the same stable weather, which is keeping avalanche concerns low. The latest developing issue is afternoon warming on sunny south aspects. The sun is still not very intense but is strong enough to begin melting and changing the surface snow. Afternoon point releases and skier-triggered sluffs are beginning to happen. Check out the graph below that illustrates the wild temperature swings in the mountains right now.

Keep this in mind in the afternoon on south facing slopes. The seemingly insignificant point releases can step down to create a slab avalanche under the right conditions. There have been a couple of heat induced slab releases in the Girdwood valley and Summit over the last few days.

The deeper weaknesses have mostly stopped bCNFAIC Staffing us, but still deserve some respect. It may still be possible to trigger a deeper slab release in areas of thin snow cover on steep terrain. The most recent avalanches that happened were on facets above the Thanksgiving Rain Crust. When we do get new snow this may become a problem again.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

Sunny skies over the last 2 weeks continue today and for the foreseeable future. Nighttime low temperatures are close to zero, and daytime highs can reach the 30s. Wind is light to moderate. Watch for the Aurora Borealis, which has been visible the last 2 nights.

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 FRI MAR 11 2011

.TODAY…SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. LIGHT WINDS.

.TONIGHT…CLEAR. LOWS ZERO TO 15 ABOVE…COOLEST INLAND. LIGHT

WINDS.

.SATURDAY…SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. VARIABLE WIND

TO 10 MPH.

.SATURDAY NIGHT…CLEAR. LOWS 5 BELOW TO 20 ABOVE…COOLEST

INLAND. LIGHT WINDS.

.SUNDAY…MOSTLY SUNNY. HIGHS IN THE 20S. LIGHT WINDS EXCEPT

NORTH 10 MPH NEAR SEWARD.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS IN THE TEENS.

.MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY. HIGHS 25 TO 35. LOWS

5 TO 15.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 30 15 27 / 0 0 0

GIRDWOOD 28 12 29 / 0 0 0

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

Temperature 13 at 0600. Light to moderate wind from the east.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

Temperature 13 at 0600. Winding gusting to 15 from the ESE.

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

Temperature 12 degrees at 0600. No new snow.

Fri, March 11th, 2011
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.
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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.