Debris from a large natural avalanche that occurred Monday, Dec. 6, can be seen along the Seward Highway. (Photo courtesy Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center)

Debris from a large natural avalanche that occurred Monday, Dec. 6, can be seen along the Seward Highway. (Photo courtesy Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center)

Winter weather brings hazardous conditions to peninsula

On Tuesday, the Chugach Avalanche Center announced “very dangerous avalanche conditions.”

Precipitation and heavy winds in many parts of Southcentral Alaska prompted avalanche and travel advisories in the region Tuesday.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School district gave Anchor Point and Homer kids a snow day after a storm passed through the south peninsula on Monday, and Seward-area schools began two hours later than normal. Classes ran as regularly scheduled on the central peninsula.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Whittier, Seward, Girdwood and Moose Pass Sunday evening, projecting between 12 to 25 inches of heavy snow and winds up to 35 miles per hour.

On Tuesday, the Chugach Avalanche Center announced “very dangerous avalanche conditions” and advised folks not to take their chances in the backcountry until conditions improve.

“After one to three inches of snowfall during the past two days and many natural avalanches, we can expect more natural avalanches today in areas with strong northwest winds,” the center stated in its forecast.

There were multiple large, natural avalanches in Turnagain Pass on Sunday and Monday, the center reported.

The Portage area got between 2 and 3 inches of new snow and was experiencing strong winds Tuesday morning. The Snug Harbor/Lost Lake/Seward region experienced “very dangerous snowpack,” according to the center.

The Chugach Avalanche Center announced that there would be intermittent traffic delays for avalanche hazard reduction Tuesday on the Seward Highway.

On Wednesday, a break in the weather is forecasted in the Chugach National Forest with mostly clear skies, according to the center. Another storm is forecast for the area Thursday and Friday.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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