Forecasts are now wrapped up for the 2017-18 season. We’ll see you again when the snow flies!
Above 2,500ft None
1,800 to 2,500ft None
Below 1,800ft None
Degrees of Avalanche Danger ?
Thompson Pass received 33” of wet heavy snow May 4-5. When the storm cleared, widespread slab and loose avalanches were observed in mid and upper elevations, all aspects.
As spring turns into summer, avalanche danger generally decreases, but where upper start zones and tracks still harbor decent amounts of snow, the concern still exists.
Traveling early in the day is recommended, as conditions can change rapidly in short periods of time due to daytime warming. Pay careful attention to the integrity of the surface crusts formed overnight and rising air temperatures during the day.
Check out our public observations for info hearty, dedicated snow travelers may still be sharing.
Avalanche Canada has broken down the spring/summer conditions you’re most likely to encounter into the following four scenarios.
1. Cold and Snowy: when winter storms roll through
2. Daily Melt-Freeze Cycles: Warm during the day, cold overnight
3. All Melt, No Freeze: Intense warming with no overnight re-freeze
4. All Freeze, No Melt: Cool weather with little or no melting
Each scenario has specific weather, snowpack, and avalanche characteristics. Each has trip planning advice. And each requires a different approach in terms of risk management. It’s up to you to decide which scenario applies to your specific location and situation. You may find basic guidance as to which scenario is the most applicable in the headline of the avalanche forecast for your region. You should also check the weather forecast, consider past weather patterns, and look for area specific information from knowledgeable people.
Recent Avalanche Activity
The layers of the snowpack onion are peeling. Last big slab cycle was mid-May that produced size 2 slab avalanches, some down to ground, between 3,000-4,500′.
Some cornice drops noticed in the last week.
See reports in our public observations.
Temps have remained cool enough that snow has still been accumulating about 4,500′.
Additional Info & Media
|SNOW HISTORY:||Valdez 4/29 AM||Thompson Pass 5/3 AM|
|24 Hour Snow / Water Equiv.||0”/ 0.37″||1″ / 0.05″|
|Storm Snow /Water Equiv. (4/21-5/2)||0” / 3.98″||44″ / 3.8″|
|Current Snow Depth||0″||75″|
|May Snow / Water Equiv.||0″ / ~″||11″ / 1.5″|
|Total Winter Snowfall / Water Equiv.||132.59″ / 31.18”||424″ / 41.2″|
|Snowload in Valdez||0 lbs/sq. ft.|
|SNOW DEPTH & WATER SURVEY (5/1/2018)||Depth||Snow Water Equivalent|
|Milepost 2.5 Valdez||″||″|
|Milepost 29 Worthington Flats||64.6″||25.8″|
|Milepost 37 Tsaina River bridge||40.2″||16″|
|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.