Wednesday-Saturday 2/1-4

Issued: Wed, Feb 01, 2017 at 8AM

Expires: Sat, Feb 04, 2017

Get the TRAINING! This Saturday Feb.4 hands-on Avalanche Rescue Workshop 9am-5pm. Valdez Civic Center. FREE for youth 10-18 years old. Do your riding partners have the skills to save your life? Make it a family affair.

This Friday, Feb.3 Luc Mehl, Alaskan adventurer, is sharing EMBRACING THE APPROACH – TAKING THE LONG WAY TO ALASKA’S MOUNTAINS. 6-9pm. Valdez Civic Center.

Above 2,500ft Moderate

1,800 to 2,500ft Low

Below 1,800ft Low

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

1. Low
2. Moderate
3. Considerable
4. High
5. Extreme

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY & SATURDAY

DANGER SCALE

WIND SLAB:
Elevation:
 Above 1800 feet elevation
Aspect: 
north and west 
Terrain: 
Steeper than 30 degrees
Sensitivity:
 Stubborn
Distribution: 
Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered): 
Possible
Size: 
Small – Large
Danger Trend:
 Increasing Friday
Forecaster Confidence:
 Poor

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

LIST OF AVALANCHE PROBLEMS <here>

SNOWPACK DISCUSSION: A moderate to strong southeast wind has picked up overnight, moving the 1-2′ of snow available for transport. Human triggered windslab avalanches are possible near rollovers, ridgelines, and upper start zones.

coastal-zone-iconMaritime (Coastal):  Jan.31 5-7″ over two feet of settling storm snow that fell Jan.24-28.

intermountain-zone-iconInter-Mountain (Transitional):  

  • Jan. 31 snowfall built drifts to knee deep. Near Thompson Pass the Jan.24-28 storm snow settled to about two feet with dry powder on top, available for wind transport in exposed areas. Testing Sunday showed a rough break down about 2′ at the new snow/old snow interface.

interior-zone-iconContinental (Interior):  

  • The Jan.24-28 storm delivered about a foot of new snow, which settled to 6 inches of light dry powder over a breakable, more dense layer. This lays over old layers of weaker faceted snow. While there appears to not be concentrated force, basal facets were collapsing Sunday with testing above MP 40. This uncertainty with the interior snowpack, leaves the slim possibility of human triggered avalanches in upper elevation rocky terrain.

Find more photos and observations at the bottom of the page. Sharing your observations creates an informed community that everyone benefits from at some point.

Recent Avalanche Activity

coastal-zone-iconMaritime (Coastal):

  • No new observations.

intermountain-zone-iconInter-Mountain (Transitional):  

  • No new observations.

interior-zone-iconContinental (Interior):  

  • No new observations.

 

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):  15 / 25
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph): N / 10-30
Snowfall (in):  0
WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction   1 / variable  18 / SE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  6 / NE  35 / SE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  28 / 31  17 / 25

Weather Forecast:    Beautiful with moderate temperatures above the temperature inversion. Northerly outflows increasing to 50mph by Friday. Temperatures dropping over the weekend.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 2/1 AM Thompson Pass /1 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv. 2.73”/0.17″ 3″ /0.2″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (1/31) 5.85” /0.36″ 7″ /0.5″
Current Snow Depth 41″ 40″
February Snow / Water Equiv. 2.73″ /0.17″ 3″ / 0.2″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 175″ / 16.01” 242″ / 22.8″
Snowload in Valdez 52 lbs/sq. ft.

 

SNOWFALL for LAST 24 HRS at OTHER STATIONS:
Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in): 1″
Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in): 1″
Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in): 2″
SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (2/1/2017) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  41.5″  9.8″
Milepost 18 43.9″ 9.5″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 61.5″ 16″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 42.1″ 9.3″
This survey is done the first week of each month.

Weather Quicklinks:

  • NWS forecast for Northeast Prince William Sound <here>
  • NOAA NWS spot forecast for Thompson Pass <here>
  • Thompson Pass RWIS weather station <here>
  • MP 30 Nicks (Happy) Valley weather station at 4200 feet <here> (scroll to Nicks Valley)
  • Valdez Glacier UAF weather station at 6600 feet <data here> <map here>
  • Further weather resources <here>

SNOW CLIMATE ZONES:

  • coastal-zone-iconMaritime (Coastal) – from the Port of Valdez to Thompson Pass, all waters flowing into Valdez Arm and everything south of Marshall Pass.
  • intermountain-zone-iconInter-mountain (Transitional) – between Thompson Pass and Rendezvous Lodge.
  • interior-zone-iconContinental (Interior) – the dry north side of the Chugach (north of 46 Mile, including the Tonsina River).

Photo of Thompson Pass

 thompson-pass-ski-runs

Interactive Map of Valdez Forecast Areas w/ Many Resource Layers (Trevor Grams)

climate-zones-topoclimate-zones-satellitegoogle-earth1

Run Map of Thompson Pass Area (Sean Wisner) (2MB download)
VAC Run Map Thompson Pass

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.avalancheforecasts.com/

Posted in VAC Forecasts.
Pete Carter

Forecaster: Pete Carter