You are most likely to trigger a slide where new snow has drifted into deeper pockets. 6” of this fresh snow can drift into a 2′ slab with winds as little as 10mph.
- Shooting cracks/mini isolated avalanches under your skis/machine = Red Flag.
- Recent avalanches on slopes of similar angle/aspect/elevation to terrain you plan to play on = BIG RED FLAG.
Above 2,500ft Moderate
1,800 to 2,500ft Low
Below 1,800ft Low
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Elevation: Above 2000′
Aspect: Lee of ridges, gullies, ridgetops
Terrain: All terrain exposed to wind
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Size: Small – Large
Danger Trend: Steady
Forecaster Confidence: Good
Elevation: Above 2500′
Terrain: 35+ degrees steepness
Likelihood (Human Triggered): Possible
Size: Small – Large
Danger Trend: Steady (decreasing? Need more data)
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>
Soft windslabs to knee deep drifting the few inches of Feb 6 new snow are poorly bonded to the old snow.
Cold temperatures continue to promote the growth of surface hoar in wind protected areas and near surface faceting, sugar snow, across the Chugach range. When this bit of new snow is buried with subsequent snowfall it will likely become a future weak layer.
Prior to this new snow we had a 2+ week dry spell, with extreme winds (80+MPH). These winds affected almost all of the landscape on Thompson Pass. Some areas were loaded with very thick wind slabs. Wind slab avalanches have been sliding naturally (estimated) 2′-5′ deep, 500′ wide, and 1000′ vertical. Snowmachines have been cutting very small windslab slides 1”-1′ down, releasing directly under the sled. These small slides isolated under a snowmachine, in combination with the large naturally occurring avalanches, bring us to the conclusion that D2 (can kill a person) human triggered avalanches are possible.
Previous to the Jan.13-16 storm there were concerns of a persistent weak layer about 1-2’ under the snow surface. This persistent weak layer (surface hoar and/or near-surface facets) is now buried 1′-6’ down. Our snowpack tests indicate that this layer is persisting and remains a concern. We encourage you to dig for and test this layer, especially above 3000′. Jan.26 on a NW aspect across from Rice Mountain at 3200′, we found this layer 28″ (70cm) below the snow surface and it was stubborn to trigger but did propagate. This layer was confirmed by another party Sunday January 28 closer to Thompson Pass. It was found 32″ (80cm) down and propagated when tested.
Below 2000′ (the rainline from the Jan.13-16 storm) the snow is frozen in place with a beefy crust.
Recent Avalanche Activity
February 5: Two slab avalanches size D2 off Odyssey at Milepost 27 and one impressive slab size D2 with a crown hundreds of yards long off Little Girls above the Worthington Flats at Milepost 29.
January 28: several size 1-2 windslab avalanches observed lee to north outflow wind, mostly off ridgelines and gully walls above 3000′ through the Thompson Pass corridor.
|WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:|
|Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F):||6 / 18|
|Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph):||NE / 3-25|
|WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
|Ferry Terminal||Thompson Pass|
|Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction||14 / ENE||37 / NE|
|Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction||34 / E||51 / NE|
|Temperature Min / Max (*F)||26 / 34||3 / 11|
Weather Forecast: Sunny for the remainder of the week with persistent northeasterly outflow winds to 70 mph and temperatures around freezing, especially north of Thompson Pass. Next snow expected Sunday.
Additional Info & Media
|SNOW HISTORY:||Valdez 2/8 AM||Thompson Pass 2/8 AM|
|24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.||0”/ 0″||0″ / 0″|
|Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (2/6)||1.5” / 0.1″||3″ / 0.2″|
|Current Snow Depth||25″||73″|
|February Snow / Water Equiv.||1.5″ / 0.1″||3″ / 0.2″|
|Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv.||79″ / 22.15”||293″ / 30.5″|
|Snowload in Valdez||39.5 lbs/sq. ft.|
|SNOWFALL at OTHER STATIONS:
LAST 24 HRS / STORM TOTAL (Jan.13-16) / STORM WATER EQUIV.:
|Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in):||0″ / 22″ / ?”|
|Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in):||0″ / 19″ / 2″|
|Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in):||0″ /rain” / ?”|
|SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (2/5/2018)||Depth||Snow Water Equivalent|
|Milepost 2.5 Valdez||22″||7.6″|
|Milepost 29 Worthington Flats||62″||19.4″|
|Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge||52.6″||16.4″|
|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.