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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Issued
Thu, April 17th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Expires
Fri, April 18th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Forecaster
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW this morning.   In the lower elevations warming temperatures will elevate the danger to MODERATE on all aspects, where wet loose avalanches will be the main concern.   Above treeline the danger will remain LOW except for on steep sunlit slopes during the heat of the day where the danger will rise to MODERATE.

Special Announcements

Advisories will be issued 5 days per week – Wednesday to Sunday – through April 27th.

Thu, April 17th, 2014
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.
Avalanche Problem 1
  • Wet Loose
    Wet Loose
Wet Loose
Wet Loose avalanches are the release of wet unconsolidated snow or slush. These avalanches typically occur within layers of wet snow near the surface of the snowpack, but they may quickly gouge into lower snowpack layers. Like Loose Dry Avalanches, they start at a point and entrain snow as they move downhill, forming a fan-shaped avalanche. Other names for loose-wet avalanches include point-release avalanches or sluffs. Loose Wet avalanches can trigger slab avalanches that break into deeper snow layers.
More info at Avalanche.org

Thinning cloud cover combined with a drop in temps overnight have allowed the surface to refreeze at all elevations.  That firm surface will lose strength as the day progresses, with temperatures at 1,000’ expected to reach into the high 40s F.  Travel will become difficult as rising temperatures and sunshine will allow snowmachines and skis/boards to sink well below the surface.  It will be important to get off of steep sunlit terrain (over 40 degrees) in the higher elevations and all terrain in the lower elevations as the melting occurs.  Wet loose sluffs will be easy to initiate as things heat up.  These avalanches will have the potential to knock you over and cause injury.  It will be equally important to plan your route back to your vehicle with this heating in mind; anticipate the terrain you will need to move through and plan accordingly.

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Cornice
    Cornice
Cornice
Cornice Fall is the release of an overhanging mass of snow that forms as the wind moves snow over a sharp terrain feature, such as a ridge, and deposits snow on the downwind (leeward) side. Cornices range in size from small wind drifts of soft snow to large overhangs of hard snow that are 30 feet (10 meters) or taller. They can break off the terrain suddenly and pull back onto the ridge top and catch people by surprise even on the flat ground above the slope. Even small cornices can have enough mass to be destructive and deadly. Cornice Fall can entrain loose surface snow or trigger slab avalanches.
More info at Avalanche.org

Temperatures will rise considerably today.  This will aid in destabilzing cornices that have grown over the course of the entire winter.  Steer clear of cornices.  When travelling at or above their level,  know where they connect to the underlying terrain.  When travelling below make sure that you are out of the potential fall line of these massive blocks of snow.

Weather
Thu, April 17th, 2014

In the past 24 hours no measurable precipitation has fallen on Turnagain Pass.   Clouds were consistent during the day yesterday and have gradually dissipated overnight.   Ridgetop temperatures have averaged in the high 20s F (27 F at Sunburst station).   Winds there have been light averaging 9mph (max gust 25 mph) out of the East.

Today expect clearing skies and continued mild temps.   Temperatures at 1,000′ will reach into the high 40s F and ridgetops should see temps into the low 30s F.   Winds will remain light out of the East at 5mph.   Only an occasional rain/snow shower can be expected for today.

The extended outlook is showing another day of mild and partly cloudy weather, with light rain showers possible on Friday.   A quick break on Saturday will bring sunny skies before another weak low pressure brings back clouds and light rain on Sunday.

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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.