Today, all wind loaded slopes are suspect and should be approached with caution. Watch for obvious signs of loading such as cornices, rounded drifts and rippled texture of the snow surface. Avoiding slopes where these signs are present will be a simple way to stay out of trouble.
The winter that wouldn’t start now won’t end.
There are two avalanche concerns today. The first question is how well this new snow is bonding to the old surface. 7 inches of snow has fallen on Mammoth Pass and at the ski patrol study plot it’s likely there will be at least 12” of new snow by this evening. Westerly winds are strong enough to create areas of wind drifted snow and wind slabs on all wind loaded slopes and on any slope steeper than 35 degrees.
Temperatures are in the low to mid 20’s and are expected to remain cold through the storm. This will help the new snow stick in place. There are a few warning signs to look out for today and tomorrow; cracks shooting out from your skis and recent avalanches are both signs of instability. Dig a quick extended column test in the new snow to see if the column propagates a fracture; if it does, descend another slope.
The next snowpack summary will be issued Sunday morning.
Cloudy skies and mild spring temperatures the last few days added a lot of energy to the snowpack and several large wet loose snow avalanches were seen in the Hammil Bowl area. These old snow surfaces are getting buried under dry winter snow today. Winds at Horseshoe Lake are gusting to 35 mph from the southwest so areas of wind drifted snow and wind slab formation is likely today on exposed high elevation leeward slopes.
|0600 temperature:||23 deg. F.|
|Max. temperature in the last 24 hours:||32 deg. F.|
|Average wind direction during the last 24 hours:||WSW|
|Average wind speed during the last 24 hours:||40 mph|
|Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours:||50 mph|
|New snowfall in the last 24 hours:||7 inches|
|Total snow depth:||7 inches|
A late season storm is bringing snow to the eastern Sierra today. Over 5 inches of snow has fallen and snowfall rates of up to 2 inches an hour are expected to continue until the afternoon. Accumulations of up to 12” are possible in the higher terrain of the Mammoth Lakes Basin and Tioga Pass.
This morning, temperatures are in the mid 20’s and westerly winds are blowing steadily at 30 mph at the top of Mammoth Mountain. After the storm passes, winds will shift to the north. Sunday will be clear and cold with moderate north winds blowing 20 to 35 mph along ridgetops.
This snowpack summary applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This snowpack summary only describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This snowpack summary expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this snowpack summary is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.