As usual for the Sierras, the next series of storms will be accompanied by strong SW winds. These strong winds, combined with up to 20" of new snow through Thursday, will load NW-N-NE-E facing slopes in the BWRA, including slopes above Leavitt Lake. The best travel advice will be to stay off and away from these slopes. Avoid areas of wind slab by avoiding slopes that accumulate blowing snow, new wind pillows, and new cornice formations.
Storm slabs will begin to form Wednesday evening and will grow through the night into Thursday with up to 20" of new snow expected in the BWRA. This snow will fall on weak faceted surface snow and surface hoar in sheltered locations and will be very reactive. Higher up, these weak surface layers are not as prevalent but it will take some time for the new snow to bond to the old snow surface. Your best bet is to stay off slopes steeper than 32 degrees during and after the storm, giving time for the new snow to stabilize.
I was up in the BWRA on Tuesday and found a variety of snow surfaces, including large surface hoar in the meadows near the Leavitt Lake Road junction. Higher up in the BWRA these weak snow surfaces were not present. I saw no visible signs of instability with the exception of some wet snow rollers on sun exposed slopes. There was a layer of softer snow that was propagating in my stability tests and this layer may be reactive with an additional load of snow.
High pressure breaks down and an active pattern will dominate our weather through the weekend. A series of 3 separate storms are forecasted to impact us, with the first one lasting from Wednesday through Thursday bringing up to 20" of snow to favored locations in the BWRA. Another storm in forecasted to move through on Friday bringing an additional 20" by Saturday afternoon. A colder and more potent storm will move in on Sunday through Monday bringing the potential for up to 30-40" of additional snow. Total snowfall through Monday in the BWRA is looking to be between 70-80 inches!
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.
ESIA is a 501(c)3 organization. ESIA partners with the Inyo National Forest, Humboldt-Toiyable National Forest and Tahoe National Forest to help educate and inspire people about our public lands through high quality interpretive products and programs.