THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON January 26, 2019 @ 7:51 am
Snowpack Summary published on January 24, 2019 @ 7:51 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

Take solace in the fact that we have taken the Avalanche Hazard to a Normal Caution, but consider this an opportunity to educate yourself about the enemy for when it returns. Next Fri-Sat we will be hosting an avalanche awareness class tailored to snowmobilers. Located in Bridgeport on Feb. 1 with the field-day in the BWRA on the 2nd, the curiculum includes avalanche dynamics, identifying suspect terrain, travel management, & snow profiles. We will be integrating how snowmobiles differ in their approach to riding the mountains & how we can organize a group for many safe days in the element. Tell your buddies that it is important for them to gain these skills so they can help save your life!

Avalanche Character 1: Normal Caution
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features. Use normal caution when travelling in the backcountry.

Even though it may be comforting to be amidst Normal Avalanche Caution, please consider riding simple terrain. A strengthening in the Persistently Weak Layers we have been tracking is a bit of a relief, but the potential still lingers that in the right location avalanches triggered could bury you. Enjoy the sun & good conditions but bare in mind that safety is relative to the choices you make, & that the backcountry is no place to test your false-positive confidence.

Snowpack Discussion

The strength of the snowpack is increasing with each day of average temperatures & a lack of precipitation. Although, the Persistent issues still reside well over a meter deep, they are quite dormant & unlikely to trigger. Normal caution incorporates the high uncertainty of these Persistent layers. Complex terrain may hold the key to unlock this hazard where thin slabs could be connected to larger & deeper ones. Surface sun crusts & shallowly buried rain crusts are being observed & are a sharp contrast to the soft & dry snow on protected slopes which haven't been compromised by wind & solar radiation.

recent observations

~BWRA has soft snow conditions in shaded & protected areas. No new avalanches

~Lundy Canyon gained 6" of snow in the most recent storm which was transported to N-E aspects forming mostly soft slabs. Surface wind skin was breakable with softer snow below. No new avalanches to report

~Twin Lakes accumulated 7" from Sunday but many areas were wind blasted & lacking snow. Mid-storm avalanches occured within the new snow & small wind deposits were detected. Sun effected aspects have a melt-freeze crust that dissipates with afternoon sun, whereas a firm & supportable rain crust can be found above 8000'


CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 23 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 43 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: West
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: Light mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: Moderate mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 60 inches

Blocking High Pressure will remain for the rest of the month. Sun & Light winds can be expected for the upcoming future. Winds will be revolving & it will depend on the elevation band that you are concerned with for directional flow. Diurnal refreezing will create icy morning conditions.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 30 to 40 deg. F. 22 to 30 deg. F. 35 to 45 deg. F.
Wind direction: East East West becoming Northeast
Wind speed: 10 to 15 mph; gusts to 25 mph 10 mph; gusts to 20 mph 10 to 15 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 28 to 33 deg. F. 18 to 25 deg. F. 31 to 37 deg. F.
Wind direction: North Northeast Northwest
Wind speed: 10 to 15 mph; gusts to 25 mph 10 to 15 mph; gusts to 25 mph 15 to 30 mph; gusts to 45 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.

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.