Heavy snow, high winds for Kenai Peninsula and Chugach Mountains
Avalanche Warning for western Chugach and Kenai Mountains
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center on Friday issued an Avalanche Warning for the western Chugach and Kenai Mountains through 7 a.m. Sunday.
The warning includes the areas of Girdwood, Portage, Turnagain and Moose Passes, Summit and Lost Lakes, and the higher elevations around Seward. According to the center’s website, “Large to very large natural and human triggered avalanches 2-4′+ deep are almost certain. We recommend avoiding avalanche terrain today and being aware of any overhead slopes that could release naturally and run out down to lower elevations.”
The National Weather Service also issued a winter storm warning for the same region that went into effect at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues until midnight. A second low pressure system moving westward over the northern Gulf of Alaska will continue to spread heavy snow across the Chugach Range in the warning area through Sunday morning.
Snowfall totals will range from 10 to 18 inches, with locally higher amounts near two feet. This will nearly double the amount of snow that fell on Friday leading to an unstable snowpack, especially when combined with strong easterly and eventually southerly winds as high as 35 mph.
Damage to trees is also possible, which may lead to a few power outages. Travel will be difficult through the passes, so plan plenty of travel time and following distance between you and the person ahead, if you must travel.
A winter weather advisory was also issued for the western Kenai Peninsula from 2 p.m. Saturday through midnight for snow totaling 2 to 5 inches along with wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph. This will likely cause blowing snow and reduced visibility along with slick and slippery road conditions.
Similar to Friday, only minor accumulations, if any at all, are forecast for the Anchorage Bowl, and Mat-Su through Sunday. The weather will calm down Sunday afternoon into Monday across Southcentral Alaska, however, avalanche danger is expected to remain “elevated” for the next few days as it will take time for the new snowpack to settle.
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