THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON January 21, 2021 @ 1:09 pm
Snowpack Summary published on January 19, 2021 @ 1:09 pm
Issued by Jason Mozol - Bridgeport Avalanche Center

bottom line:

Avalanches remain unlikely today. Winds are currently blowing in the strong to extreme category out of the northeast, so look out for small new wind slabs in isolated, unforgiving terrain. Travel conditions in the mountains are difficult right now. Widespread thin and firm snow conditions are likely the greatest hazards. Use normal caution and good backcountry practices to reduce your risks when traveling in the backcountry. 

The BWRA remains closed to motorized recreation due to low snow depths in Sardine Meadows and the Leavitt Lake/108 junction. The BWRA is open to non-motorized use. If you are going to recreate, please be responsible and avoid off-road motorized riding.  Virginia Lakes road remains clear and open. Please park respectfully.

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.

Currently navigating the low tide snowpack and patchwork of different surface textures is the biggest hazard in the mountains. Last week’s warm weather and previous wind events created thin and firm snow conditions on all aspects and elevations. Continuous snow cover is generally confined to wind loaded and well protected areas. Many southerlies have completely melted out. 

Unstable snow may still exist in isolated pockets of the terrain. Today’s strong to extreme northeast winds may create small new wind slabs in isolated terrain. The atypical wind direction out of the northeast may put these wind slabs in unusual locations. There is currently very little snow available for transport so these slabs should be small if they exist at all. 

Normal caution doesn't mean no caution; beacon, shovel, probe and safe travel practices are essential when entering avalanche terrain. Now is a great time to brush up on beacon skills and practice using the daily flow to help manage risk in the backcountry.

Snowpack Discussion

The difficult travel conditions and isolated wind slabs are the most pertinent hazards in the mountains right now but weaker layers of snow still exist at the bottom of our snowpack. These layers appear to be well adjusted to the load above and are slowly healing, but they are far from gone on the northern half of the compass. Triggering an avalanche on these layers is unlikely at the moment but that could change with the potential for significant snowfall next week.

recent observations

Our thin, firm, and obstacle ridden snowpack has made travel conditions difficult. 

Many southerly slopes are completely melted out or have melt-freeze grains down to the ground. . 

Snowpits have revealed that the facets in our snowpack have begun to round.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 9 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 35 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: NE
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 20-30 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 45+ mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 38 inches
weather

A stable weather pattern has persisted in the Eastern Sierra over the last few weeks. As the blocking ridge of high pressure exits, a more active weather pattern is developing. Today’s strong to extreme northeast winds will diminish through the day and calmer, warmer weather is forecasted for Wednesday and Thursday. A weak first storm in a potential series of storms is forecasted to impact the area Friday into Saturday. Hoping for more snow next week.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Mostly cloudy then becoming partly cloudy. Slight chance of snow in the morning. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 21 to 29 deg. F. 13 to 19 deg. F. 34 to 42 deg. F.
Wind direction: NE E S
Wind speed: 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 85 mph. 15 to 20 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph decreasing to 40 mph after midnight. Light winds. Gusts up to 25 mph in the morning.
Expected snowfall: 100% probability up to 1 inch. in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Tuesday Tuesday Night Wednesday
Weather: Mostly cloudy. Slight chance of snow in the morning. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 13 to 21 deg. F. 9 to 14 deg. F. 28 to 34 deg. F.
Wind direction: NE NE S
Wind speed: 55 to 70 mph becoming east and decreasing to 40 to 55 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 100 mph. 30 to 40 mph becoming southeast 20 to 30 mph after midnight. Gusts up to 65 mph. Around 15 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph in the morning.
Expected snowfall: 100% probability up to 1 inch. in. 0 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.