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Current Conditions

Last Updated: Friday, March 14th, 2014 by Erik Stevens (Disclaimer | About This Page)
Expires 11pm on March 16th, 2014
Click Here for an encyclopedia of common snow science terms from the FSNAC

H.L. Maritime
Transitional
Pass
Biggest Threats
- Solar heating on south aspects
- Cornices
- Wind slab in other areas

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This Season:
November
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8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30
December
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31
January
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31
February
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
March
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

Recent Weather Summary (Chart):

An unusually warm airmass moved in from Jan. 25th - 28th, with alpine temperatures hovering around 45 F, even at mountaintop levels. It was not raining during this time, but a massive wet slide cycle ensued. Very cold and dry weather returned through Feb. 14th, creating a solid ice crust.

Feb. 13th-15th brought 18-30" of new snow to the mountains in three distinct storm layers (some upside-down). Winds blew from the south at times, and north at other times.

Cold and clear weather with north winds returned for the rest of February and into March.

March 8th-9th brought 3 feet of new low-density snow, turning warm and heavy at the end. Winds started out northerly, and then turned southerly.

South winds on March 9th-13th raised snow levels to around 1500ft. Around a foot of wet snow likely fell above that level, with rain below.

One more weak weather front on Friday will bring a few more inches snow above 1000ft, with steady temperatures.

This weekend is looking to be rather nice, as the next storm just misses us to the south. Clouds will begin to clear Saturday, and Sunday should be mostly sunny. North winds will pick up some, but temperatures will remain near freezing. Another weather front will move in Sunday night-Monday.

High-Latitude Maritime Zones: Slopes near Haines

Danger: Considerable See Scale
There are two main concerns Friday-Sunday.

The first will be the potential for strong sunshine if/when the clouds clear up. Temperatures are expected to be a little below freezing, but the sun is getting intense on south aspects. Be on the lookout for strong solar warming, which quickly weakens wind slabs and cornices. If the sun comes out, the danger will rise to CONSIDERABLE with pockets of HIGH on south aspects: natural and human-triggered avalanches likely. Elsewhere the danger will be MODERATE: heightened avalanche conditions, especially on steep and windloaded terrain features.

Also, stay far back from cornices. This is a prime time of year for them to fall.

Besides the sunshine, the second main concern will be lingering storm snow weaknesses beneath the wind slabs that built up this week. The big storm last weekend dropped around a meter of low-density snow with a very weak storm interface in the middle, then it warmed up and we had four days of light precipitation with snow levels around 1000ft. This created a wet and heavy storm layer over the light and weak previous storm layer. South winds blew the new snow around above treeline, creating fresh wind slabs on north aspects below ridgelines, and on crossloaded east and west aspects. On steep slopes these lingering slabs may still respond to human triggering.

There is concern that avalanches may step down to a lingering weakness a meter or more deep -- a buried surface hoar layer from 1-2 weeks ago. Keep this in mind, as the consequences of a slide this deep are extreme.

Be cautious out there this weekend. The new snow is not fully bonded yet, and the potential for deep slides exists. It will be very important to minimize your risk exposure this weekend. Cross/ski slopes one at a time from/to islands of safety. Remember that some treed areas that feel safe may not in fact be safe if a large avalanche occurs. Think about the potential for slabs to propagate wider than expected, and have a plan for what to do if you enter avalanche terrain. Always wear a beacon, shovel, and probe, and know how to use them.

Transitional Zones: Mountain areas seaward of interior passes

Danger: Considerable See Scale
See above for more information.

Chilkat Pass Zone:

Danger: No Rating See Scale
See above for more information.

Disclaimer: Please note that this snowpack/hazard information is not funded or endorsed by any governmental organization. Use the data on this website at your own discretion as part of a thorough evaluation of the avalanche hazard in the field. Remember that conditions vary greatly from place to place and hour to hour, so evaluate the snow you find locally, and compare it to what you read on this website. We are not responsible for how you use the information contained on this site, and assume no liability for its use. Remember, information is no substitute for experience. Get educated in avalanche safety. The information on this website is not sufficient for completely safe backcountry decision making. Use at your own risk.

All content copyright © Alaska Avalanche Information Center, 2014









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