Thursday-Sunday 3/15-3/18

Issued: Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 8AM

Expires: Sun, Mar 18, 2018

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

Thursday Friday Saturday
& Sunday

DANGER SCALE

 

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

STORM SNOW:
Elevation:
   All
Aspect:
   All  
Terrain: 
  30+ degrees steepness
Sensitivity:
   Responsive
Distribution:   
Widespread
Likelihood (Human Triggered): 
 Likely
Size:   
Small – Large
Danger Trend:
   Steady
Forecaster Confidence:
    Good

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: 

As much as 2.5′ (80cm) of new snowfall has accumulated since March 9. Strong northerly winds Sunday March 11 built windslabs that released naturally in a few places. The foot of new snow that has fallen Monday through Wednesday, March 12-14, has also been wind drifted in areas exposed to both residual northerly outflow winds. Another 16″ (40cm) of accumulated snowfall possible by the weekend.

The Feb. 27 – March 1 wind event created pencil hard surface conditions in many areas, especially in the alpine.  Since then, the storms have come in “right side up” and seemed to have bonded fairly well with one another.  Due to this significant hardness difference and the fact that in many areas it’s still within the top 3′ (1 meter) of the snowpack, we’re continuing to be suspicious of this interface.

Recent Avalanche Activity

March 12: Size 3 to valley floor off Mt Tiekel at Milepost 50.
March 10: Human triggered avalanche on the Road Run with lucky outcome; see Observations <here> thank you Jen Milton.
March 9: Two natural D1 windslab avalanches observed near miles 23 and 25 of the road corridor.

Recent Weather

WEATHER FORECAST for NEXT 24 HRS at 3,000 ft:
Temperature Forecast (Min/Max *F): 22 / 29
Ridgetop Wind Forecast (direction/mph): VAR /0-7
Snowfall (in):  1-3″
WIND & TEMPERATURE
PAST 24 hours
Ferry Terminal Thompson Pass
Average Wind Speed (mph) / Direction  2 / VAR   12 / SE
Max Wind Gust (mph) / Direction  8 / WSW  27 / SE
Temperature Min / Max (*F)  32 / 38  24 / 31

Weather Forecast:    Snowfall to continue through the week with another 16 inches possibly accumulating by the weekend.  Calm to moderate winds, direction variable.  Temperatures hovering around freezing.

Additional Info & Media

SNOW HISTORY: Valdez 3/15 AM Thompson Pass 3/14 AM
24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv. 0”/ 0.39″ 0.5″ / 0.01″
Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (3/9-14) 19” / 0.41″ 40″ / 1.5″
Current Snow Depth 36″ 79″
March Snow / Water Equiv. 19.8″ / 2.23″ 33″ / 1.61″
Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv. 132.34″ / 26.6” 356″ / 34.6″
Snowload in Valdez 55 lbs/sq. ft.

 

SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (3/4/2018) Depth Snow Water Equivalent
Milepost 2.5 Valdez  32.2″  9″
Milepost 18 42″ 11″
Milepost 29 Worthington Flats 62.4″ 21.2″
Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge 58.4″ 14.2″
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