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Issued
Sat, April 9th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Expires
Sun, April 10th, 2011 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning backcountry travelers. This is Wendy Wagner with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Saturday, April 9th 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).

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Congratulations to Christopher Dunaway for winning the March observer drawing. Thank you Chris, and everyone else, for sending in observations to us!

BOTTOM LINE

Today the avalanche danger is MODERATE with pockets of CONSIDERABLE for persistent slab and wind slab avalanches on slopes steeper than 35 degrees. These can be found where lingering persistent weak layers lie 1-5′ deep and on any wind loaded slope. Solid snow assessment skills are necessary for travel in steep terrain today. Also, there is a MODERATE danger for wet loose snow avalanches during the afternoon on southerly slopes as the snow warms up throughout the day.

AVALANCHE DISCUSSION

Several soft slab avalanches were human triggered in the backcountry yesterday. All reports, except one possibly breaking in a persistent weak layer, were wind slabs and soft slabs formed in the most recent storm snow from Thursday, April 7th. These were 30 – 200′ wide and 6” to over 2′ deep depending on the amount of wind loading. Several older natural avalanches that occurred during the natural cycle on April 7th were just visible under windblown snow. It seems that many slopes have avalanched in the past week, helping to wipe out deeper weak layers, but the recent snow and winds have made this difficult to determine.

There are two primary concerns for today:

Persistent slab avalanches. These are in scattered locations at the mid to upper elevations, on all aspects and could break above you. They are most likely and dangerous on steeper slopes that have not avalanched during the past week where they can still be hanging in the balance. Solid snow assessment skills are necessary for ramping up the slope angle today. This means looking for and testing potential buried weak layers under the most recent storm snow.

Wind slabs. These are most prone on any wind loaded slope over 35 degrees. Rollovers, cross loaded gullies and ridgelines are the most suspect. These lingering wind slabs should begin to gain strength but I would expect people could still pop these out again today. Watch out for smooth snow surfaces, ‘hollow’ feeling snow or shooting cracks from your sled or board(s).

If the sun stays out today and wind remain calm, keep an eye out for the snow to become saturated and being to sluff on southerly slopes. It will likely be easy to initiate human triggered wet sluffing which could entrain quite a bit of snow and run far on the underlying crusts.

Outside of our advisory area:

There was a dog triggered avalanche in the Eagle River area on a wind loaded slope. Details HERE.

Encyclopedia of avalanche terms.

WEATHER ROUNDUP

Yesterday we had partly cloudy skies, warm temperatures in the upper 20’s on the ridges to low 40’s near 1000′ with moderate ridge top winds. Overnight skies have mostly cleared and temperatures have dropped into the lower 20’s. Today we should see partly cloudy skies again with a chance for scattered flurries and a rain drop or two at lower elevations. No accumulations are expected. Temperatures will be in the 20’s around 3500′ and close to 40F at 1000′. Expect winds to remain light from the northeast with gusts into the teens on the ridge tops.

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 AKDT SAT APR 9 2011

.TODAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING…

THEN SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON.

HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO UPPER 40S. LIGHT WINDS.

.TONIGHT…MOSTLY CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS

IN THE EVENING…THEN SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS

IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. LIGHT WINDS.

.SUNDAY…PARTLY CLOUDY WITH ISOLATED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE

MORNING…THEN MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS IN

THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S TO MID 40S. LIGHT WINDS.

.SUNDAY NIGHT…CLOUDY. SCATTERED SNOW AND RAIN SHOWERS

IN THE EVENING…THEN SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS AFTER MIDNIGHT. LOWS

IN THE LOWER 20S TO LOWER 30S. LIGHT WINDS.

.MONDAY…SCATTERED SNOW SHOWERS IN THE MORNING…THEN NUMEROUS

RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS IN THE AFTERNOON. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S TO LOWER

40S. LIGHT WINDS.

.MONDAY NIGHT…NUMEROUS SNOW SHOWERS. LOWS IN THE 20S.

.TUESDAY…MOSTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF RAIN AND SNOW SHOWERS.

HIGHS 35 TO 45.

TEMPERATURE / PRECIPITATION

SEWARD 40 31 41 / 40 30 40

GIRDWOOD 46 26 43 / 30 30 50

WEATHER STATION SUMMARY for Turnagain Pass:

-3800′ Sunburst Wx Station-

Currently 20 degrees. Wind light variable.

-2600′ Seattle Ridge Wx Station-

Currently 21 degrees. Wind light variable.

-1800′ Center Ridge Wx Station-

Currently 23 degrees. No new snow.

Sat, April 9th, 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.