THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON January 28, 2019 @ 7:35 am
Snowpack Summary published on January 26, 2019 @ 7:35 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

Prolonged High Pressure has us enjoying the beautiful unseasonably warm weather. Although the snowpack could have surface Loose Wet instabilities the residing pack below is mostly stable with some anolomalies. Avalanche activity is fairly subdude & observations of Faceted grains having rounded can help increase stability. Use caution in the morning as icy slopes will be apparent. In contrast afternoon sunny slopes could be prone to Loose Wet snow grains that could avalanche small.

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.

Uninhibited sun & above average temperatures are degrading the surface snow conditions in the afternoon. For early risers of the BWRA expect supportably icy surface snow with moist grains below. The angle of the suns progression on aspects will melt easterly slopes first with west melting out later. Rock & vegetative outcrops will have wet snow surrounding them if sun exposed, & are places where Loose Wet avalanches could originate. Small in size these avalanches could push a traveler into places they did not intend. Avoid late-day steep South aspects.

Snowpack Discussion

Surface clues are going to help you stay safe today. Avoid icy slopes in the morning, & sunny slopes late in the day. Windpack & Melt-Freeze crusts make up most of the exposed surafce conditions. In generally protected areas, soft snow & surface hoar can be found up to 4mm in size. The warming of the snowpack has mid-layer Facets rounding & increasing in strength. Areas that see prolonged direct sun on Southerly slopes will be prime for afternoon avalanches.

recent observations

Observations from the BWRA & the surrounding mountains in the Humboldt-Toiyabe are seeing a similar snowpack structure. A concerning layer of rounding facets midway down the pack is the area of some concern, although test results are nil. As we gain ground throughout the mountains avalanches from last weekends mixed precipitation event are showing themselves. All the slides we've seen have involved the storm snow & its transport to lee aspects. Melt-Freeze Crusts cover the overall snow surface where direct sun has been exposed. Surface Hoar in shady & wind protected areas can be found to be 4mm in size.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 26 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 42 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: Northwest
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: 58 inches

Todays sunny skies will become broken by partial clouding in the afternoon. Above average temperatures will continue for the rest of January. Ridgetops will have light winds from the Northeast with a moderate gust possible. Dry air with valley fog this morning.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy Partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy Partly cloudy
Temperatures: 42 to 50 deg. F. 24 to 32 deg. F. 50 to 58 deg. F.
Wind direction: Light Winds Light Winds Light Winds
Wind speed: Light Winds Light Winds Light Winds
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy Partly cloudy becoming mostly cloudy Partly cloudy
Temperatures: 35 to 43 deg. F. 29 to 35 deg. F. 44 to 52 deg. F.
Wind direction: Northeast West Northwest
Wind speed: 15 to 30 mph; gusts to 45 mph 10 to 15 mph 15 to 20 mph; gusts to 30 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.