THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON February 9, 2019 @ 7:26 am
Snowpack Summary published on February 7, 2019 @ 7:26 am
Issued by Ryan Lewthwaite -

bottom line:

A welcomed reprieve from the snow-globe we've been experiencing will last through tomorrow afternoon. Cold temperatures & partly cloudy skies will transition back to snow showers & more accumulations for the weekend. Wind Slabs on Lee aspects are the primary concerm today, with the most pronounced having formed on slopes facing NW-N-E-SE. Large avalanches, up to D3, are still able to be triggered by travelers in avalanche terrain.

Avalanche Character 1: Wind Slab
Wind Slab avalanches release naturally during wind events and can be triggered for up to a week after a wind event. They form in lee and cross-loaded terrain features. Avoid them by sticking to wind sheltered or wind scoured areas.

With the Gale force Southwest winds during the recent storm, Lee aspects NW-N-E-SE will be loaded with tender slabs. Up to 4' deep in some isolated areas, these slabs can elongate downslope & be easy to remotely trigger. The density & thickness of slabs will be highly variable, with many alpine zones exhibiting surface wind scabs. 

Snowpack Discussion

Large Wind Slabs have formed on aspects NW-N-E-SE & scouring above treeline with the ravaging Southwest winds. Many mid-storm avalanches have occurred on all aspects & elevation bands. The cold temperatures will keep surface snow in areas soft as well as keep Loose Dry activity possible. The cold will prolong snowpack settlement of the storm & wind slabs, but overall bonding of new snow to old is promising. Storm totals differ as you travel around the mountains. Expect Cornices to be huge & very tender. Wind Slabs will vary in thickness & density with large wind features in sheltered places.

recent observations

Snow accumulation & Snow Water Equivalent totals were quite impressive with the most recent storm.

Leavitt Lake Snotel= 66" & 11" Snow Water Equivalent

Sonora Pass Snotel= 50" & 7" SWE

Virginia Lakes Ridge= 54" & 6" SWE

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 7 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 22 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: West
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: Moderate mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: Strong mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 91 inches

Another break in the deluge today has us in sunny skies & brisk temperatures. Light winds from the West will prevail as clouds build during the afternoon. Tomorrow a weak cold front moves into the area with a chance for trace amounts of snow. Snow could continue through Sunday with moderate accumulations.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Weather: Sunny then becoming mostly cloudy. Mostly cloudy then becoming partly cloudy. Mostly sunny with a slight chance of snow later. Snow Level Below 7000'
Temperatures: 25 to 31 deg. F. 5 to 11 deg. F. 22 to 30 deg. F.
Wind direction: Light winds Southwest Southwest
Wind speed: Light winds 15 mph; gusts to 30 mph late 15 mph; gusts to 45 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. trace in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Weather: Sunny then becoming mostly cloudy. Mostly cloudy then becoming clear. Mostly sunny with a slight chance for snow later. Snow Level Below 7000'
Temperatures: 18 to 23 deg. F. 0 to 5 deg. F. 15 to 21 deg. F.
Wind direction: West Southwest South
Wind speed: 15 mph; gusts to 25 mph later 15 to 25 mph; gusts to 40 mph late 20 to 35 mph; gusts to 50 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. trace 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.