Thursday-Sunday 4/20-4/23

Issued: Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 8AM

Expires: Sun, Apr 23, 2017

Plan ahead for your spring mountain travel where timing is everything. Start early, finish early. Look at the max/min temperatures, think about your aspects and consider when the snow will start loosening up and easily fall off the mountains. Travel intentionally……

Above 2,500ft Moderate

1,800 to 2,500ft Moderate

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

THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY & SUNDAY

DANGER SCALE

 

 

WET AVALANCHES:
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.
Distribution:
   Specific.
Likelihood (Human Triggered):
  Possible
Size:
  Small-Large
Danger Trend:
   Increasing quickly each day with warming temperatures, falling with freezing at night
Forecaster Confidence:
   Good

CORNICE FALL:
Elevation: 
all
Aspect:   
all
Terrain:
corniced ridgelines
Sensitivity:   
Responsive 
Distribution:   
Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered): 
Possible
Size:  
Small to Large
Danger Trend: 
Increasing
Forecaster Confidence: 
 Fair

WIND SLAB:
Elevation:   Above 3000′
Aspect:   Southerlies
Terrain: Near ridgelines, rollovers and gully walls.
Sensitivity:   Responsive to Touchy when sitting on sun crust.
Distribution:   Specific.
Likelihood (Human Triggered):  Possible
Size:   Small
Danger Trend:  Steady
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>

SNOWPACK DISCUSSION:

Maritime (Coastal) Specific: 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 that everyone benefits from at some point.

Recent Avalanche Activity

Maritime (Coastal) Specific:

  • April 17 The Wall/Tomahawk rockfall resulting in D3+ avalanche.
  • April 13-16 More wet loose activity in the afternoon on steep solar affected slopes

  • April 18th  “Things are coming unglued out there” Photo: Jeremy Martin

  • Large avalanche on, “The Wall/Tomahawk” caused by rockfall Photo: Jed Workman

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):  27 / 36
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph):  NE / 0-15
Snowfall (in/water equivalent):  0″ / 0″
WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction  2 / Var  12 / NE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  11 / W  24 / NE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  32 / 48  24 / 34

Weather Forecast: Expect scattered clouds to move in and temperatures to remain fairly cool until Friday, when clouds will likely build and temperatures rise through the weekend. Freezing levels could rise to close to 4800′ on Saturday. There may be a dribble of precipitation here or there, but real weather won’t arrive until early next week.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 4/22 AM Thompson Pass 4/20 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.  0”/0.0″ 0″ /0″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (3/26-4/9)  16.9″ /4.1″ 24″ /2.4″
Current Snow Depth 12″ 39″
April Snow / Water Equiv. trace″ /1.82″ rain 8″ / 0.8″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 239.8″ /24.47” 327″ / 31.4″
Snowload in Valdez 65.0 lbs/sq. ft.

 

SNOWFALL at OTHER STATIONS:
LAST 24 HRS (4/20 AM)/STORM TOTAL (3/27-4/6)/STORM WATER EQUIV.:
Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in): 0″ / ~16″ / ?”
Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in): 0″ / ?” / 1.2+”
Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in): 0″/ 20+rain” / 2.8″
SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (4/2/2017) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  41.9″  11.9″
Milepost 18 40″ 11.9″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 62.2″ 19.6″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 46.3″ 12.5″
This survey is done the first week of each month.

Weather Quicklinks:

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 Maritime Forecasts.

Forecaster: Kevin Salys