SW winds continue to load leeward slopes leading to the formation of wind slabs on exposed upper-elevation slopes. Though winds have subsisded since earlier this week, making these features stubborn and more difficult to trigger, it will still be possible to trigger a wind slab under the weight of a snowmobile in the right place. We are expected to get some more snow this weekend into Monday with SW winds gusting up to 30-40 mph. This will produce fragile wind slabs near ridgelines on NW-N-NE-E-SE facing slopes. Look for blowing snow, cornices, pillows on the upper parts of leeward slopes to help identify possible wind slabs and avoid these areas.
Our most recent storm system brought us between 3-4' of new snow with about 6-9" of water. This brings out storm total since last Friday to 4-5' of snow and 7-10" of water. Since going through an intense storm slab avalanche cycle, the new snow has become much more cohesive and has bonded to the underlying snowpack, greatly decrasing the overall avalanche danger in the BWRA. The main concern over the next 3 days will be wind slabs and cornices in upper elevation slopes.
During the storm on Monday and Tuesday, multiple natural storm and wind slab avalanches were observed, including a historic avalanche above lower Leavitt Lake Road that ran across the road, down into the ravine, and 50' up the other side. This slide took out mature trees and left a huge debris pile across the road. The avalanche likely occured during the storm on Monday or Tuesday due to heavy wet snow on top of lighted drier snow combined with heavy wind loading. On Wednesday, observations above the Sardine Meadows area showed a rapid increase in new snow settlement and bonding with no signs of instability or avalanche activity within the previous 24 hours.
Cold air has settled over the BWRA today, with temps in the single digits. We will warm up into the teens and then 20's over the weekend. Clouds will increase this afternoon and Saturday before clearing some Sunday morning. Clouds will again increase Sunday afternoon into Monday. Light snow showers are expected Sat afternoon, Sun afternoon and Monday, with 6-12" of light dry snow expected through the end of the day Monday. High pressure and warming temps will build into our area beginning Tuesday and should persist well into the following week.
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.
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