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ARCHIVED - Forecasts expire after 24 hours.
Tue, November 24th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Wed, November 25th, 2015 - 7:00AM
Wendy Wagner
Avalanche risk The Bottom Line

Avalache conditions in the Turnagain Pass area are expected to increase tomorrow and throughout Thanksgiving Day. This is in response to rain, snow and wind in the forecast.  With this in mind, tomorrow (Wednesday), may be a good day to write your ‘black friday’ list and avoid the rain at Turnagain. Check back in at 7am on Thanksgiving morning for our first avalanche bulletin!

Special Announcements

We will begin issuing daily avalanche advisories for Turnagain Pass on Thanksgiving Day.

Avalanche conditions OUTSIDE our forecast zone:
Hatcher Pass continues to have very dangerous avalanche conditions. The Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center is recommending that people do NOT travel in avalanche terrain. More at  hatcherpassavalanchecenter.org.

*The Hatcher Pass road remains closed at this time at the Gold Mint parking lot and a skier is reported missing in the area. See ADN article for developing information.

BE AWARE, if you are headed North of Anchorage (such as Petersville or Cantwell) recent snowfall has likely created DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS IN MANY AREAS. This is the week to be extra conservative, play in the flats and avoid all slopes over 30 degrees and their runouts. Additional snow and rain through Thanksgiving Day will further destabilize the snowpack.

Tue, November 24th, 2015
Above 2,500'
0 - No Rating
Avalanche risk
0 - No Rating
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
  • 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

I know…the dreaded ‘wet avalanche’ infographic… The snow/rain line, as of Tuesday evening, sits around 1800′ and looks to climb as high as 2,600′ by tomorrow. However, the rain has yet to begin, only the warm temperatures have set in. Rain is forecast to start falling late tonight with the heaviest period being tomorrow night. This rain-on-snow setup should begin to initiate a wet avalanche cycle at the mid-elevations (Below 3,000′) sometime tomorrow or tomorrow night. 

Avalanche Problem 2
  • Storm Slabs
    Storm Slabs
Storm Slabs
Storm Slab avalanches are the release of a cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within new snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slabs typically last between a few hours and few days (following snowfall). Storm-slabs that form over a persistent weak layer (surface hoar, depth hoar, or near-surface facets) may be termed Persistent Slabs or may develop into Persistent Slabs.
More info at Avalanche.org

At the upper elvations, above 2,500′, moist storm snow should begin to fall tomorrow and Thursday. We should see roughly 8-12″ by Thanksgiving with strong Easterly winds. As the snow piles up, we could see steep slopes avalanche naturally. In this case, human triggered avalanches will be likely. 

Once again, check back in for Thursday morning’s bulletin.

Additional Concern
  • Glide Avalanches
    Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches
Glide Avalanches are the release of the entire snow cover as a result of gliding over the ground. Glide avalanches can be composed of wet, moist, or almost entirely dry snow. They typically occur in very specific paths, where the slope is steep enough and the ground surface is relatively smooth. They are often proceeded by full depth cracks (glide cracks), though the time between the appearance of a crack and an avalanche can vary between seconds and months. Glide avalanches are unlikely to be triggered by a person, are nearly impossible to forecast, and thus pose a hazard that is extremely difficult to manage.
More info at Avalanche.org

Glide cracks are likely to widen with the warm weather and some of these may release and avalanche. Watch for, and avoid being under, cracks if you are thinking of heading to the Tincan Trees.

Below is a classic glide crack in the Tincan area:

Recent Observations for Turnagain Pass
Date Region Location
11/16/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst/Magnum
11/14/23 Turnagain Observation: Seattle Ridge
11/13/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Tincan Trees
11/12/23 Turnagain Observation: Sunburst
11/12/23 Turnagain Avalanche: Goldpan – avalanche
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Common
11/11/23 Turnagain Observation: Taylor Pass – Sunburst
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan
11/10/23 Turnagain Observation: Tincan Trees
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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.