A backcountry avalanche warning was issued by the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center beginning midnight Sunday.
The warning came after information from the National Weather Service suggested that weekend storms would bring unseasonable warmth and rain.
Although winter warmth and rain contribute to any avalanche season's risk level, weather patterns this season combined with a lack of heavy snowfall early this winter have created a tenuous snow-pack on the mountains in the Turnagain Arm area.The Avalanche Information Center's website has been listing the backcountry avalanche risk as "high" or "considerable" since December 24.
Avalanche Forecaster Wendy Wagner said Saturday, "We had two days in the past two weeks where the skies cleared up enough for recreationalists to travel out of the safe areas. Both days had a large and dangerous avalanche triggered by people."
Due to the unstable nature of the snow-pack, a significant avalanche could, "tip the balance and take the rest of the snow on the whole slope," Wagner said.