Springtime conditions exist: avalanche danger increases with daytime warming and direct solar radiation.
Expose yourself to avalanche prone terrain only when necessary. Even if you are standing on flat ground, the upper slopes above you are harboring large amounts of weakening snow that could travel great distances if it happens to release.
Above 2,500ft Considerable
1,800 to 2,500ft Considerable
Below 1,800ft Considerable
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Elevation: Below 6000′
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): Likely when warmed.
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>
Inter-Mountain (Transitional) Specific:
Warm temperatures yesterday led to poor overnight freezing of the snowpack. When you add the weight and weakening properties of rain on snow, natural avalanche activity from above is possible. Wet avalanche can travel greater than expected distances and are incredibly dense and powerful. Limit any exposure to overhanging snow and evaluate the snow underneath you as you travel through the mountains. It may be difficult to see signs of red flag activity when the visibility is poor. If the snow is shifting easily under skis or machine and you can easily sink deep into underlying layers of snow, consider calling it a day. Large, crushing, wet slabs can be triggered quite deep this time of year. There is a chance for some snowflake accumulation up high, but it just depends on the air mixing patterns and wind.
Sharing your observations creates an informed community.
Recent Avalanche Activity
Inter-Mountain (Transitional) Specific:
- April 23 Natural wet slab D2.5 above the Deserted Glacier at 5800′ on a west aspect
- April 12-16 With more direct sun, more wet loose releasing out of steep, south aspects entraining snow to D2.5, sometimes to ground
- April 18th “Things are coming unglued out there” Photo: Jeremy Martin
- April 17th Large avalanche on, “The Wall/Tomahawk” caused by rockfall Photo: Jed Workman
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.