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Warm storm expected over south central this weekend

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Backcountry enthusiasts were rewarded for their patience this week, with a long-awaited heavy snowfall covering much of south central Alaska. But more patience will likely be needed before the best opportunities for snow sports are ready. 

Wendy Wagner is the director of the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center in Girdwood. She says now is the time to get some turns in before temperatures start to climb going into the weekend.

“What we’re not real excited about is it looks like it’s going to be pretty warm. We could see this fun skiing that’s being had right around treeline at 2,000 feet, we could see some rain at that elevation this weekend and that will not help the ski and snowboarding conditions. We’re crossing our fingers that the storm stays cool enough, but that’s not what it looks like right now.”

Popular access points in Turnagain Pass and around Summit Lake have been good bets so far this week, as long as the going doesn’t get too steep. More of the most recent round of snowfall found its way west of the mountains.

“Manitoba and that side of the ridge definitely didn’t get as much as it did on the Cook Inlet side. When this next storm comes in, I think it will favor the eastern side again, but it will be warmer. And avalanche danger, of course, once that storm rolls in, it will rise along with the storm. That’s how the mountains work. The storms come in, avalanche danger goes up and then slowly decreases as the storm leaves and the snowpack adjusts to whatever load it receives.”

Plenty of precipitation is on the way, beginning Friday night with some more snow, but changing to rain as temperatures climb back into the mid-40’s into early next week.

 

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