Mammoth Area- Panorama Dome snow conditions

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Panorama Dome
Submission Info
Forecaster
Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 1:15pm
Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
37° 37' 10.7652" N, 118° 59' 58.7868" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Always great being out in the midst of the storm and feeling the force of mother nature. Avoided all avalanche terrain today on short ski up Old Mammoth Rd to Panorama Dome. We got one collapse of the snowpack within an area that had manzanita and shrubs present. On small test slopes, we did not observe shooting cracks or whumping, but did not venture on anything very big or exposed. New snow was windblown and pasty in nature due to its high water content. This morning at 9000ft on Mammoth Mountain there was 18" of new snow with nearly 3" of water in it. This is some pretty wet stuff with significant weight.

A steep(38deg) North facing convex roll off the Panorama dome had avalanched and was already nearly completed filled back in with wind transported snow at 100pm. See attached photo where circled in RED an old crown is barely visible in the upper left of the photo while there was small blocks resting agains trees in the bottom of the slope, lower right of photo. It was not safe to investigate the small slide in detail, but it was confirmation of HIGH avalanche danger today. I imagine it was a natural event, but it was impossible to confirm if there was any tracks/ human triggers that caused the avalanche. 

Probing the windloaded lee area of the dome (8774ft, 13N aspect, 37slope) in a safe location we found HS=335cm. Digging down, there was 120cm of newly windloaded snow from the Jan16/17 storm. It was an ideal location to see the significance wind can have on loading snow to leeward slopes in the lower elevations of our forecast zone. 2x Compression tests fractured at 25cm below the surface on a light graupel layer (CTH25 RP Q2 & CTH23 RP Q2). 

Dug a secondary snowprofile a bit lower in elevation (8560ft, 17N aspect, 28slope) in sheltered trees to look if there was a residing surface hoar layer beneath the storm snow.  HS=180cm. Compression tests fractured at 20cm below the surface in this location with Hard results on a Hardness change (CT22 RP Q2 & CT22 RP Q2) I did not observe any suface hoar in this location nor found any sensitive layers in the upper meter of the snowpack. 

Snowpack photos: 
Snowpit videos (tests, etc): 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
100% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Gale Force
Precipitation: 
Snow
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

SW winds were continually blowing at  25-30mph and gusting to 50-60 at 8700ft in the early afternoon. Snow was blowing and being rapidly transported to lee northerly aspects. It was -3C at 130pm. Skiers were 100% covered. 

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