Warming temperatures and light wind will increase the afternoon hazard on solar aspects….don’t be out when the mountains start shedding their layers.
Above 2,500ft Considerable
1,800 to 2,500ft Considerable
Below 1,800ft Considerable
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
|FRIDAY||SATURDAY||SUNDAY & MONDAY|
Elevation: Below 5500′
Aspect: East in AM, South all day, then West in PM
Terrain: Steep terrain near rocks and vegetation.
Sensitivity: Touchy when warmed.
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Danger Trend: Increasing quickly each day with warming temperatures, falling with freezing at night
Forecaster Confidence: Good
Terrain: corniced ridgelines
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Size: Small to Large
Danger Trend: Increasing
Forecaster Confidence: Fair
AVALANCHE PROBLEM SCALE DESCRIPTORS:
Sensitivity: Non-reactive, Stubborn, Responsive, Touchy
Distribution: Isolated, Specific, Widespread
Likelihood: Unlikely, Possible, Likely, Nearly Certain
Size: Small, Large, Very Large (size scale <here>)
Danger Trend: Increasing, Steady, Decreasing
Forecaster Confidence: Good, Fair, Poor
AVALANCHE PROBLEM TOOLBOX <here>
Continental (Interior) Specific: The snow down low is melting fast, while up in the alpine from 54 Mile, there were reports hard windblown snow at elevation.
Cooler temps will linger through Thursday, but as clouds move in, expect temperatures to rise into the weekend….leading to greenhouse warming of the atmosphere. Continuously monitor the freezing level and weakening of the snowpack around you. Think about how the wind, if any, is affecting the terrain surrounding you. Ask yourself, “Are the winds keeping the snow around and above me cold?” “How long has that face been baking and is it losing its bonds?” It is all about finding that right balance when the snow has just softened up and hasn’t turned into complete mashed potatoes (isothermal).
Cornices have also been falling recently, which could trigger secondary, deep avalanches below. And don’t forget about the high elevation (4000’+) northerly aspects, which are still holding good powder….seek those out, but think about the terrain you cross to get there.
Sharing your observations creates an informed community.
Recent Avalanche Activity
Continental (Interior) Specific:
- April 14: reports of cornice failure triggering slab avalanches on steep upper elevation slopes in the Continental zone (see photo)
- March 31: skier triggered size D2 avalanche at 3500′ North aspect. 40-60cm storm slab failed on buried near surface facets with a old windslab as the bed surface. A possible sympathetic released lower on the same slope, with a crown depth 60-100cm, harder slab.
See Maritime Zone for updated weather.
Additional Info & Media
- Northeast Prince William Sound NWS Weather Forecast
- Middleton Island Radar for Valdez area
- GOES Alaska water vapor satellite loop
- NOAA NWS Recreational spot forecast for Thompson Pass
- Thompson Pass MP 25.7 RWIS weather station 2740′ (Mesowest)
- Valdez Marine Ferry Terminal weather station sea level
- Nicks Happy Valley above MP 30 weather station 4200′ (scroll to Nicks Valley)
- Upper Tsaina River Snotel near MP 32 1750′
- Sugarloaf Snotel 551′
- Above Valdez Glacier Cryosphere program weather station 6600′ <map here>
- Valdez Blueberry Weather Plot observations (scroll to bottom: Valdez City)
- More Mountain Weather resources for Alaska
- GFS 16 Day Model for Valdez
- Model Average Meteogram for Valdez
SNOW CLIMATE ZONES:
- Maritime (Coastal) – from the Port of Valdez to Thompson Pass, all waters flowing into Valdez Arm and everything south of Marshall Pass.
- Inter-mountain (Transitional) – between Thompson Pass and Rendezvous Lodge.
- Continental (Interior) – the dry north side of the Chugach (north of 46 Mile, including the Tonsina River).
Photo of Thompson Pass
Interactive Map of Valdez Forecast Areas w/ Many Resource Layers (Trevor Grams)
NEWS: Our region is “one of the snowiest places on earth” – Serendipity / Rendezvous snowfall record set in 1963 <here>.
Free smart phone avalanche forecasts at: http://www.