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Sat, November 29th, 2014 - 7:00AM
Sun, November 30th, 2014 - 7:00AM
John Fitzgerald
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

The avalanche danger is LOW today in the alpine and treeline elevations.   New snow falling througout the day will build very small and isolated pockets of slab up to 6″ deep in upper elevation leeward starting zones.   Below treeline there is minimal snow cover and travel on skis or a board is not recommended.

Early season hazards-rocks, stumps, and a slick crust require careful travel in the mountains today.

Sat, November 29th, 2014
Above 2,500'
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
1 - Low
Avalanche risk
Below Treeline
Below 1,000'
0 - No Rating
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
  • Normal Caution
    Normal Caution
Normal Caution
Normal Caution means triggering an avalanche is unlikely but not impossible.
More info at Avalanche.org

With forecasted snow amounts in the 2-4” range, expect your main issue to continue to be early season hazards.  This new snow will come to rest on a layer of weak snow, but is not quite enough to warrant heightened concern.  Keep in mind that LOW danger does not mean ‘no’ danger. 

Be on the lookout for isolated pockets of slab in the higher elevations to build to a max depth of 6” today.  These slabs will be scattered in favored locations and not continuous enough to be a significant issue.

Loose snow sluffing is also possible in very steep terrain.  4-8″ of older low density snow on the surface has shown to be well bonded to the crust below.  There is still the chance of finding areas on slopes over 40 degrees where sluffing of the new & old snow could be a concern.  As with the isolated pockets mentioned above, any sluffs that might be triggered will be very low in volume.

Sat, November 29th, 2014

It has now been a full week since the last measurable snowfall in the mountains.   Winds have remained generally calm during this period as well.   Temperatures have been more winter like allowing for preservation of the snow that sits on the ground.

Today a weakening Low pressure system is bringing moisture from the Southwest.   The orientation of this band of precip will favor Hatcher Pass and Anchorage.   Turnagain will receive the leftovers; enough to drop 2-4 € of snow in the mountains.   Winds will be light out of the Southeast at 5-10 mph.   Temperatures at 1,000′ will be in the low 30s F while ridgetops will be in the mid 20s F.

Snow should taper off by tonight as a short lived ridge of high pressure will build into the area.   The extended outlook points to more precip in the form of snow as we head into the early part of next week.

PRECIPITATION 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Snow (in) Water (in) Snow Depth (in)
Center Ridge (1880′)  27  trace  .1 17
Summit Lake (1400′)  25  0  0  1
Alyeska Mid (1700′)  28  0  0  9

RIDGETOP 24-hour data (6am – 6am)

  Temp Avg (F) Wind Dir Wind Avg (mph) Wind Gust (mph)
Sunburst (3812′) 24  var  3  15
Seattle Ridge (2400′)  24  S  10  20
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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.