The New Years storm delivered 1-2 feet of new snow from Thompson Pass to 46 mile. South of Thompson Pass low lying areas received heavy rain up to ~2000′. Prior to this storm our area had been receiving a prolonged period of light snowfall and benign weather which allowed our snowpack to slowly build without adding much stress. This period of gradual loading also allowed for the new snow to bond with older wind damaged surfaces. The new load of snow that we just received has shown signs of increasing stability on 1/2 and 1/3. There is not a suspected faceted layer at the new/old interface, which will allow this storm slab to settle in what would be a reasonable amount of time (24-48) hours. One of the concerns at this point is triggering a storm slab in steep convex or unsupported terrain. The other concern, and the one that may be more likely to encounter will be areas where northeast winds have redistributed the new snow into wind slabs 1-2 feet in depth.
Winds have not been strong or widespread, but even a moderate amount of wind will be enough to move the new dry snow at the surface. Expect to find windslabs on lee side of high elevation ridges in some locations as well as cross loaded gullies in wind channeled terrain. Watch for visual signs of wind slab such as pillowed snow surfaces and freshly formed cornices. Pay attention to signs of instability such as shooting cracks or collapsing that would indicate a slope has the energy to produce an avalanche.
Light snow is expected today. This will add to the depth of storm slabs and the overall snow available for transport.
Below is a summary of observed Avalanche activity from the last 7 days. Avalanches that were noted earlier in the season can be viewed by clicking the link below.
If you trigger or observe a natural avalanche consider leaving a public observation.
Valdez Avalanche Activity
No recent avalanche activity has been recorded in the last 7 days.
Check out our updated weather tab! A collection of local weather stations are available for viewing with graphs and tabular data included.
NWS Watches and warnings
NWS Point forecast for Thompson Pass
Date Wednesday 01/04/23 Thursday 01/05/23
Time (LT) 06 12 18 00 06 12 18 00 06
Cloud Cover OV OV OV OV OV FW SC BK SC
Cloud Cover (%) 90 90 90 90 75 20 40 70 40
Temperature 19 21 22 20 22 21 16 12 11
Max/Min Temp 22 18 25 9
Wind Dir E E SE SE E NE NE NE NE
Wind (mph) 14 6 6 9 6 5 12 12 5
Wind Gust (mph) 29
Precip Prob (%) 80 80 80 80 50 10 0 0 0
Precip Type S S S S S
12 Hour QPF 0.21 0.17 0.03 0.00
12 Hour Snow 3.1 2.5 0.0 0.0
Snow Level (kft) 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Click on link below for Thompson Pass weather history graph:
*HN24W- 24 hour Snow water equivalent in inches
*SWE– Snow water equivalent
**46 mile seasonal snowfall total begins December 1st.
Click on the link below for a running summary of the seasons weather history.
Valdez Weather History
The avalanche hazard is Moderate above 1500′. Human triggered avalanches 1-2 feet deep will be possible today in area where recent north wind has formed fresh wind slabs. Watch for signs of windslab such as hard snow over soft and shooting cracks. Natural avalanches are unlikely. The hazard is low below 1500′ as a rain saturated snowpack has refrozen making human triggered avalanches unlikely.
Posted by Gareth Brown 01/04 8:00 am.
For a description of current avalanche problems, weather information, season history and more click the (+ full forecast) button. Avalanche forecasts will be issued Wednesday-Sunday.
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