Merry Christmas to you and yours from our Valdez Avalanche Center staff and volunteers!
To avoid triggering a windslab avalanche and to increase powder pleasure this Christmas, choose to avoid steep slopes loaded by the north wind – especially rocky gullies just off upper ridgelines.
Above 2,500ft Moderate
1,800 to 2,500ft Moderate
Below 1,800ft Low
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
The last snowfall, Dec.19, delivered 10″(25cm) to Thompson Pass and 13″(33cm) in Valdez. The new snow is settling and bonding to surfaces below. Since the snowfall ended, light to moderate north wind above treeline has pressed and drifted it into pockets of soft windslab.
Yesterday, a tour above 35 Mile found no signs of instability. An air temperature inversion of -20F in creek bottom to +20F above 3000′ was measured.
Above treeline, surfaces are variable due to wind stripping down to the old Dec.18 crust in places. Depths of new snow and overall snowpack, increase with elevation. In one test pit dug (12/22) at 4600′ on a south aspect, the interface of the new and old snow was found 30″ (76cm) from the surface and was unreactive.
Recent Avalanche Activity
No recent avalanche activity reported or observed. Last activity was from Dec.19; a few pockets of windslab to size 2 released out of steep, rocky features, mostly southerly aspects above 4500′, triggered by north windloading.
|WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:|
|Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):||9/22|
|Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph):||E/1-10|
|Snowfall (in/water equivalent):||0″ /0.03″|
|WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
|Ferry Terminal||Thompson Pass|
|Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction||light/variable||13 /NE|
|Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction||8 /NNE||20/NE|
|Temperature Min / Max (*F)||18 /26||8/25|
Increasing cloud in the afternoon. Flurries beginning toward evening. Light to moderate north wind until it shifts to south with the onshore flow. Temps warming slightly with a couple inches snow for Christmas. Clearing by Boxing Day.
Additional Info & Media
|SNOW HISTORY:||Valdez 12/24 AM||Thompson Pass 12/24 AM|
|24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.||0”/ 0″||0″ /0″|
|Storm Snow /Water Equiv. [12/19]||13″/0.88″||10″ /1″|
|Current Snow Depth||16″||60″|
|December Snow / Water Equiv.||38″ /13.17″||132″ / 17.6″|
|Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv.||51″ /15.42”||197″ / 23.1″|
|Snowload in Valdez||42 lbs/sq. ft.|
|SNOWFALL at OTHER STATIONS:
LAST 24 HRS (12/24 AM)/STORM TOTAL (12/19)/STORM WATER EQUIV.:
|Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in):||0″ / 10″ /?”|
|Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in):||0″ / 8″ /?”|
|Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in):||0″/ 12″ /1″|
|SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (12/2017)||Depth||Snow Water Equivalent|
|Milepost 2.5 Valdez||″||″|
|Milepost 29 Worthington Flats||″||″|
|Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge||″||″|
|This survey is done the first week of each month.|
- 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.