THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON March 18, 2017 @ 9:26 am
Snowpack Summary published on March 15, 2017 @ 9:26 am
Issued by Kyle Van Peursem - Bridgeport Avalanche Center

bottom line:

Generally safe avalanche conditions will exist in the BWRA through the rest of the week, though there is still the potential to trigger a loose wet avalanche on steep southerly slopes in the afternoon.

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.

Temperatures will remian well above freezing through the week and periods of strong solar input will act to weaken snow on steep southerly slopes.  Though strong winds and some cloud cover will limit the amount of warming at the surface, it still may be possible to trigger a loose wet avalanche on steep southerly slopes in the afternoon.  Signs to look for include roller balls and pinwheels coming downhill and sinking in wet snow past your boots.  It is best to remain off of these steep southerly slopes in the afternoon.

Snowpack Discussion

Springtime weather conditions have dominated our area for the past 10 days with sunny skies and temps consistently above freezing.  In fact, due a temperature inversion, most areas in the BWRA haven't been below freezing for the past 3-5 days.  Southerly slopes have undergone the transition to a springtime snowpack and are mostly isothermal while northerly slopes still contain dry snow throughout most of the snowpack.  Surprisingly, there has been very limited avalanche activity and it seems the snowpack is quite strong right now.  The Sonora Pass and Leavitt Lake SNOTEL stations have not recorded much in the way of snow depth loss and SWE loss, meaning, outside of lower elevation and southerly slopes, the snowpack has held up quite well during the past week of warm weather.

recent observations

On Tuesday, I found very warm temps in the BWRA and strong sunshine impacting nearly all slopes but did not see much in the way of avalanche activity.  Southerly slopes seemed to have undergone the transition to a springtime snowpack while northerly slopes still contained dry snow throughout the snowpack.  

weather

High pressure will continue to dominate through the rest of the week even as a couple of weak systems approach our area to the north, bringing strong winds and periods of cloud cover.  Upper level ridging looks to break down over the weekend and into next week as the storm pattern shifts back down towards the south bringing increased chances of precipitation.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8000 ft. to 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy Mostly cloudy then becoming partly cloudy Partly cloudy
Temperatures: 48 to 56 deg. F. 28 to 34 deg. F. 49 to 57 deg. F.
Wind direction: Light winds becoming southwest Southwest Southwest
Wind speed: 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon 5 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph decreasing to 40 mph after midnight 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 55 mph decreasing to 40 mph in the afternoon
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For above 10000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy Partly cloudy then becoming clear Sunny then becoming partly cloudy
Temperatures: 41 to 49 deg. F. 24 to 30 deg. F. 43 to 51 deg. F.
Wind direction: Southwest Southwest Southwest
Wind speed: 15 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 40 mph increasing to 50 mph in the afternoon 20 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 55 mph decreasing to 45 mph after midnight 20 to 35 mph with gusts to 60 mph decreasing to 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 45 mph in the afternoon
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.