fresh snow, thin coverage in Virginia lakes

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Blue lake area
Submission Info
Forecaster
Friday, January 22, 2021 - 1:15pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
38° 2' 52.2888" N, 119° 16' 46.2324" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

I went for a quick tour up the Virginia creek drainage to survey snow coverage and to gauge today's snowfall.  There has been a substantial melt over the last couple of weeks of warm temperatures and sunny skies and I found navigating the dry patches to be much more of a challenge than it was on my last visit to the area in early January.  Surface conditions were also quite variable today ranging from a thin zipper crust above a largely faceted and unconsolidated snowpack on shaded, sheltered northerly terrain to fully supportable and slick Melt freeze crusts, the thickest I found was around 10 cm and very hard.

The first flurries started at around 10 am this morning in Mammoth and by 1 pm I measured ~ 1 cm of new snow at 10,000’. Even this small amount of new snow was already camouflaging small obstacles and large bare patches. I certainly hope this week brings ample amounts of new snow and helps to build up a base but the next couple of days will be quite frightening with just enough snow to cover up obstacles that were visible yesterday. I for one will be using extreme caution for the next few days and trying hard to stick to areas that have had more substantial coverage before today’s snow began.

Moderate to strong winds out of the SW were moving snow around a bit but by midafternoon there just wasn’t enough new snow on the ground to deposit into concerning wind slabs. I could see some small and thin slabs forming on leeward slopes near and above treeline this afternoon, but I would not suspect anything bigger than a size one. However, if the snow continues tonight and we see some actual accumulation, I would suspect a more substantial wind slab problem to develop.

Snowpit or crown profile photo or graph: 
Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Moderate
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Temperatures were in the mid-teens today with overcast skies and snow fluctuating between light showers (S-1) to brief periods of more intense accumulation (S1). Winds were moderate out of the WSW with occasional Strong Gusts

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