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Fri, January 6th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Sat, January 7th, 2012 - 7:00AM
Kevin Wright
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Good morning. This is Kevin Wright with the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday, January 6th 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).


The avalanche danger is MODERATE today. We got a healthy refresh of new snow yesterday with up to 1 foot of snow in some areas. The danger rating will stay elevated today because of some uncertainty in how the dry snow with some wind is behaving. I expect generally low hazard below treeline and in sheltered areas. Above treeline, tender windslab and loose snow avalanches are possible.


The thousand-dollar question today is, “How much snow and how much wind did we get yesterday?” Most of our region received a modest 6-8 inches of light dry powder. We measured up to 12 inches around the Portage highway, and over in Valdez and Cordova the snowfall is being measured in feet.

The avalanche problem should continue to be mild and predictable today. Watch for stiffer pockets where the wind has blown the new surface snow. Higher elevations, rollovers, and ridge transitions are the most likely areas to find surface instability. Avalanche size potential will be small and limited to the new snow only.

I’m expecting that most of our forecast area simply got improved riding conditions. With that being said, we have limited information on how the new snow is reacting, so approach the fresh snow with some stability questions in mind until you know what sort of danger exists.


Snowfall yesterday was 6-8 inches in most areas and 1/2 inch of water equivalent covered our region. Wind was reaching into the 30s and 40s during the beginning of the storm, but it gradually decreased during the day. Temperatures rose into the 20s mid day yesterday and dropped back into single digits overnight.

Expect mostly sunny skies this afternoon. Temperatures may rise into the teens, and wind will remain light with local gusts to the high 20s at upper elevations. Significant snow is back in the forecast for the weekend, stay tuned for more information on the approaching storm.

CNFAIC Weather Page and the NWS forecast

I will issue the next advisory Saturday morning. If you get out in the backcountry we want to know what you are seeing. Please send us your observations using the button at the top of this page or give us a call at 754-2369. Thanks and have a great day.

Fri, January 6th, 2012
Above 2,500'
2 - Moderate
Avalanche risk
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.