THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON February 27, 2021 @ 8:37 am
Snowpack Summary published on February 25, 2021 @ 8:37 am
Issued by Jason Mozol - Bridgeport Avalanche Center

bottom line:

Sunny skies and warm temperatures today and tomorrow will make small loose wet avalanches possible on steep southerly facing slopes near and below tree line. Find colder snow if you see signs of instability like unsupportable wet snow and rollerballs.

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.

The days are getting longer and the sun angle is increasing; slopes are receiving more and more direct sun exposure this time of year leading to wet avalanche problems. With sunny skies and increased temperatures forecasted for today and tomorrow, small loose wet avalanches will be possible on SW-S-SE aspects near and below tree line. These will be most pronounced in steep rocky terrain protected from the winds. With solid refreezes overnight and previous melt-freeze transitions, they may not be large enough to bury you but could be enough to knock you off your feet in extreme terrain. Look out for signs of instability like unsupportable wet snow and rollerballs. If you find these conditions, move to a different location with colder snow. 

Throughout the day the sun moves across the sky and heats up different aspects. It heats E and SE aspects first and SW and W aspects later in the day. This means you can change your slope aspect to find colder snow. Today and tomorrow, strong winds will keep upper elevation slopes cooler and prevent the snow from warming up enough to avalanche. This means you can also move to higher elevations to find colder snow.

Snowpack Discussion

Wet loose avalanches remain our primary concern but there may be some isolated wind slab instabilities in the alpine. Moderate to strong northeasterly winds this morning will shift west this afternoon through tomorrow. There is very little snow available for transport so it is unlikely that the shifting winds will form significant new wind slabs. However, look out for smooth, rounded snow and any signs of instability, especially if you find yourself in steep, consequential terrain. These red flags could also be from old wind slabs from last week’s strong winds that may still be lurking. 

Also be aware of hard and slick snow conditions on all aspects and elevations in the backcountry. Long sliding falls will be possible in steep terrain. 

Our snowpack still has a weak layer of facets at the ground. These facets produced some significant avalanches during the atmospheric river event in late January, but have been unreactive in the last couple of weeks. We have not observed any new avalanches on the facets and snowpit tests have also been unreactive. The facets are currently well adjusted to the load above and it is very unlikely for you to trigger an avalanche on them. It is possible that these layers will reactivate in the future if we receive a significant storm, or in the spring as wet slab avalanches, but until then they will receive less focus in our snowpack summaries. We will continue to track the basal facets and keep you updated as necessary.

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather observations from Sonora Pass
0600 temperature: 23 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 39 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: W -> E
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 5-15 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 32 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 91 inches
weather

Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are forecasted for today and tomorrow. Moderate to strong northeasterly winds this morning will shift west this afternoon through tomorrow. These winds will be felt most at upper elevations. Colder and windier conditions are forecasted for Saturday.

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: 36 to 42 deg. F. 14 to 19 deg. F. 34 to 42 deg. F.
Wind direction: Northwest Northwest West
Wind speed: Light winds becoming northwest around 15 mph with gusts to 35 mph in the afternoon. around 15 mph with gusts to 35 mph in the evening becoming light. Light winds becoming west around 15 mph with gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Thursday Thursday Night Friday
Weather: Sunny. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 28 to 36 deg. F. 10 to 15 deg. F. 27 to 35 deg. F.
Wind direction: Northeast -> West Northwest West
Wind speed: 20 to 35 mph with gusts up to 55 mph becoming west 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 45 mph in the afternoon. 25 to 40 mph with gusts to 60 mph decreasing to 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph after midnight. 15 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 45 mph.
Expected snowfall: 0 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.