Snow condition In Virginia Lakes

SNOWPACK OBSERVATION
Red Lake Bowl
Submission Info
Forecaster
Friday, January 8, 2021 - 12:45pm
Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain
38° 2' 33.5616" N, 119° 16' 7.14" W
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

It was a blustery day today on the eastside with moderate to strong winds at all elevations. driving north to Virginia lakes today I observed significant flags on a few of the high peaks in the June lake area and on along my ascent of red lake bowl I noted transporting snow and subsequent deposition on many terrain features in the near treeline zone. Gusts were well into the Extreme category even below ridge tops.

 I did not observe any concerning loading on a slope scale, more prevalent today were small terrain features collecting snow. ridgetop winds seemed to be doing more stripping than depositing. The strong winds were pretty sporadic at lower elevations and were resulting in both deposition and scoring on the same slope.  I observed several areas of recent deposition with shallow reactive wind slabs. 4-6” slabs of 4f-1f snow on top of less cohesive layers below (largely near-surface facets or faceted DF grains) . I also noted cracking in some older more stubborn slabs (P hard 4-10” thick). I also dug in on one obvious pillow and found a series of wind slabs one on top of another. The recent deposition was P hard, about 20 cm thick, and showed propagation in an ECT test (ECT-P 16).

Other Observations today were largely focused on the surface conditions. Recent strong winds have littered the landscape with a variety of wind board and sastrugi and left many exposed areas with a distinct rippled effect. Some gully features and more protected areas still have soft surface snow I also noted quite a bit of near-surface faceting in protected areas that are helping the riding conditions for now. One benefit to the variable and hard wind textured surface conditions is that even very thin areas are more supportable than they were even a week ago and many of the sharks are now exposed making them easier to avoid.

Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Yes
Cloud Cover: 
25% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Above Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Strong
Precipitation: 
None
Air temperature trend: 
Cooling
Wind Direction: 
Southwest
Accumulation rate: 
None
More detailed information about the weather: 

Strong winds were competing with relatively warm ambient temperatures today keeping things feeling pretty chilly. Mostly cloudy skies this morning made way for mostly clear skies by midday.

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