Tuesday-Friday 2/27-3/2

Issued: Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 8AM

Expires: Fri, Mar 02, 2018

Snow conditions vary from rock hard wind blown snow to deep powder. As always make sure your whole party is riding with a beacon, shovel & probe and is familiar with their equipment.

Above 2,500ft Considerable

1,800 to 2,500ft Moderate

Below 1,800ft Low

Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?

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

Avalanche Danger Rose ?

Avalanche Problems ?

Problem Details

Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
& Friday

DANGER SCALE

 

WIND SLAB:
Elevation:   Above 2000′
Aspect:   Lee of ridges, gullies, ridgetops
Terrain:   Upper elevation terrain exposed to wind
Sensitivity:   Touchy-Responsive
Distribution:   Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered):   Likely
Size:   Small – Large
Danger Trend:   Increasing
Forecaster Confidence:   Fair

PERSISTENT SLAB:
Elevation:
   Above 2500′
Aspect:
   All  ?
Terrain: 
  35+ degrees steepness
Sensitivity:
   Stubborn
Distribution:   
Specific
Likelihood (Human Triggered):   
Possible
Size:   
Small – Large
Danger Trend:
   Decreasing
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>

SNOWPACK DISCUSSION:    12″ (30cm) of low density snow has fallen in the alpine in the last two days, and unexpected winds picked up this morning capable of transport.  Windslabs continue to build, and new ones are building in areas they haven’t been observed in previous days.

The Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 storms totaled 12″ (30cm) on the pass.  The Feb. 22 storm brought 4″ to Valdez and 6″ to the pass and interior.  Primarily north winds transported this new snow, creating new and adding to existing windslabs lee of ridges and gullies.  The snowpack depth in any given area can vary widely now, with deep windslab formation over the last several weeks.

The combined effect of steady winds and sparse snow events is producing notable density and depth differences in the upper snowpack.  The cold, clear weather of the past month between the 1/15 and 2/13 storms created a weak layer over the old snow and a poor bond for storm snow to adhere to.  Moderate winds continue to transport snow in the upper elevations.

Persistent slabs are tricky to predict and generally carry higher consequences.  Our persistent slab concern still exists and our test pits indicate the primary layer of concern is buried 2-6′ (60-180cm) beneath the surface.  These layers are stubborn to trigger, but due to depth, will carry higher consequences.  We’re still tracking the distribution above 2500′ and our recent snowpit tests are indicating this concern may no longer be widespread.  Persistent layers will be easier to trigger near rocky outcrops and where snowpack is thinner.

Loose snow avalanches are possible at all elevations.  This becomes an increased concern when you’re traveling in terrain where the consequences of being swept off your feet are higher.

Recent Avalanche Activity

A few D1 avalanches observed recently – ranging in location from near the port on a north aspect, to the interior.  See observations page for details.  No additional signs of avalanches observed or reported near the pass.

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F): -4 / 8
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph): NE/8-29
Snowfall (in):  0″
WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction   4 / ENE   20 / SE-NE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  13 / E  45 / NE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  20 / 27  10 / 20

Weather Forecast:

Tuesday partly sunny with mostly sunny skies returning Wednesday through Friday. North outflow winds will return with moderate force.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 2/27 AM Thompson Pass 2/27 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv. 6”/ 0.25″ 4″ / 0.2″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (2/27) 6” / 0.25″ 4″ / 0.2″
Current Snow Depth 44″ 84″
February Snow / Water Equiv. 24.9″ / 2.25″ 31″ / 2.7″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 112.95″ / 24.38” 317″ / 33″
Snowload in Valdez 49 lbs/sq. ft.

 

SNOWFALL at OTHER STATIONS:
LAST 24 HRS / STORM TOTAL (Feb. 12) / STORM WATER EQUIV.:
Nicks Valley at 4200 ft (in): ” / ” / “
Upper Tsaina at 1750 ft (in): ” / ” / “
Sugarloaf at 550 ft (in): ” / ” / “
SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (2/5/2018) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  22″  7.6″
Milepost 18 32.5″ 9.6″
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.

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 Continental Forecasts, Intermountain Forecasts, Maritime Forecasts.

Forecaster: Ryan Van Luit