Snowpack Summary published on March 3, 2021 @ 8:28 am
This snowpack summary expires in 7 hours, 18 minutes
This snowpack summary is valid for 48 hours
Issued by Jason Mozol - Bridgeport Avalanche Center

bottom line:

Today’s strong sun and mid level clouds will make the snow surface wet but it may take a little longer than yesterday since ice crusts on the snow surface from last night’s freeze will have to melt first. Be on the lookout for isolated small loose wet instabilities on steep southerly slopes before a small storm passes by this afternoon. The storm is forecasted to deliver an inch or two of snow this afternoon through evening. If the storm overproduces, look out for fresh wind slabs on N-E aspects in the alpine. With sunny skies, warm temperatures, and light winds forecasted for tomorrow, small loose wet avalanches will be possible in the new snow on E-S-W aspects. Watch for signs of instability like rollerballs. Also be aware of variable hard and slick snow conditions with long sliding falls possible in steep terrain.

Avalanche Character 1: Loose Wet
Loose Wet avalanches occur when water is running through the snowpack, and release at or below the trigger point. Avoid very steep slopes and terrain traps such as cliffs, gullies, or tree wells. Exit avalanche terrain when you see pinwheels, roller balls, a slushy surface, or during rain-on-snow events.

Another solid refreeze overnight and increased clouds today may reduce widespread loose wet instabilities today. You could still trigger small loose wet avalanches on isolated steep southerly slopes. Pay attention to the snow becoming wet, then look for balls of snow rolling downhill and growing in size and occurring more frequently. They tend to happen more near exposed rocks that absorb heat from the sun and help warm the snow faster. Remember to use safe travel practices and carefully evaluate snow and terrain to identify isolated instabilities. 

A small storm this evening will bring us a dusting to a couple inches of snow. Sunny skies, warm temperatures, and light winds will cause the fresh snow to heat up quickly tomorrow. If we get more than a dusting, expect small loose wet avalanches in the new snow on E-S-W aspects. These could be more hazardous if the storm overproduces. Look out for signs of instability like rollerballs and remember that even a small avalanche can be consequential in extreme terrain.

Snowpack Discussion

This evening’s storm produces some uncertainty in the 48 hour forecast. If we get just a dusting of snow, avalanche conditions won’t change significantly. If we get an inch or two, you could find small loose wet avalanches in tomorrow’s sunshine and potentially isolated small wind slabs on N-E aspects in the alpine. If the storm overproduces and drops several inches, expect increased hazard. Loose wet avalanches will be larger and more hazardous, and wind slabs will be larger and more likely as well. Wind slabs could even form by late this afternoon. Be sure to evaluate the amount of new snow and identify potential instabilities. Signs will include rollerballs for loose wet avalanches and cracking in the new snow for wind slabs. 

With less solar heating forecasted today, continue to be aware of widespread variable hard/slick conditions in the backcountry. Long sliding falls remain possible in steep terrain on both southerly sun crusts and northerly wind boards. Choose terrain wisely to fit with the conditions.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 25 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 41 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: SE
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 5-15 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 29 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 88 inches
weather

A small storm will pass by to our south this evening. Expect a mostly cloudy day today with light snow showers starting this afternoon accumulating up to a couple of inches through the evening. The sun will come out again tomorrow and well above average temperatures are forecasted for tomorrow and Friday. Another small storm is forecasted for Friday night and there is growing potential for snowier weather next week.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Mostly cloudy. Isolated snow showers in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy then becoming clear. Isolated snow showers in the evening. Sunny
Temperatures: 35 to 41 deg. F. 12 to 18 deg. F. 37 to 45 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southeast West
Wind speed: Light winds becoming southeast around 15 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 30 mph. Around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Light winds.
Expected snowfall: Up to 1 in. Up to 1 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Mostly cloudy. Scattered snow showers in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy then becoming clear. Scattered snow showers in the evening. Sunny.
Temperatures: 28 to 34 deg. F. 7 to 12 deg. F. 31 to 37 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southeast West Southwest
Wind speed: Around 15 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Around 15 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph.
Expected snowfall: Up to 2 in. Up to 2 in. 0 in.
Disclaimer

This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas in the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area. Click here for a map of the area. This snowpack summary describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires in 48 hours unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.