Friday-Monday 3/3-3/6

Issued: Fri, Mar 03, 2017 at 8AM

Expires: Mon, Mar 06, 2017

Use terrain to your advantage to avoid wind loaded gullies, rollovers and ridges.

Both natural and human triggered avalanches were seen yesterday with thicknesses up to 2+ feet.

These are red flag signs of instability: it is loading faster than it can bond to old surfaces.


Above 2,500ft Considerable

1,800 to 2,500ft Considerable

Below 1,800ft Moderate

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

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

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details




Elevation:   Above 2500″
Aspect:  Lee to northerly winds
Terrain:   Near ridges, gullies, rollovers
Sensitivity:   Responsive
Distribution:   Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered):   Possible
Size:   Small – Large
Danger Trend:   Increasing
Forecaster Confidence:   Fair

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



Maritime (Coastal) Specific: 

Just when you thought all loose snow had already moved, strong to extreme winds continue to scour deeper and drift snow into low lying gullies, trees, crevasses and rollovers, expect firm and variable conditions with exposed old crusts, wind board and sastrugi dominating the environment. Extra effort will be necessary to seek out the wind protected nooks that harbor soft snow. Be wary along corniced and loaded ridgelines, convex rollovers and steep gully walls. Wind slab needs time to bond to underlying snow and can trigger very large and unpredictable avalanches.

Outflow gap winds hitting 68mph


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

Maritime (Coastal) Specific: 

  • Mar. 2: More natural wind slabs to size 2 pulling off steep ridgelines and rollovers in terrain exposed to strong northerly outflow wind.

Wind slab releases above the airport

Windslab crown below Moonlight Basin

  • Feb. 28: Commonly seen during strong outflow winds, natural avalanches to D2 have pulled off the rollovers on the south side of Odyssey just above the hairpin.

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):  -5 / 10
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph):  NE / 40-60
Snowfall (in/water equivalent):  0.0″ / 0.0″
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction  18 / NE  56 / NE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  56 / NNE  79 / NE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  19 / 25  0 / 7

Weather Forecast:     As gale force winds continue to barrage the mountains and town…..button everything up until later tonight when things seem they will calm down. The cold and clear will remain, with another cold and windy push possible on Sunday and into Monday. No precipitation expected through next week.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 3/3 AM Thompson Pass 3/3 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.  0”/0″ 0″ /0″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (2/23)  1” /0.05″ 2″ /0.1″
Current Snow Depth 45″ 42″
March Snow / Water Equiv. 0″ /0″ 0″ / 0″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 222.8″ /20.9” 283″ / 27.7″
Snowload in Valdez ~ lbs/sq. ft.


Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in): 0″ / 0″ / 0″
Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in): 0″ / 0″ / 0″
Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in): 0″/ 0″ / 0″
SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (2/28/2017) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  41.8″  12″
Milepost 18 42.7″ 11.5″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 63.6″ 18.6″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 49.3″ 12.5″
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>


  • 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


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


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:

Posted in Maritime Forecasts.

Forecaster: Kevin Salys