Observation: Big Meadow

Observation Date
12/8/2016
Observer Name
Kobernik - Kendall

Region:

Location Name or Route
Lake Canyon, Big Meadow
Weather
Sky
Overcast
Precipitation
Moderate Snowfall
Wind Direction
Southwest
Wind Speed
Moderate
Weather Comments
Stormy period with moderate to strong wind from the southwest, a couple of inches of new snow. Short lived riming, no crust on the snow surface formed, just on our goggles.
Snow Characteristics
Snow Surface Conditions
Powder
Snow Characteristics Comments

We stayed in a sheltered area so the snow surface remained excellent.  Wind slabs and crusts were obviously present in the more exposed areas.

Red Flags
Red Flags
Wind Loading
Red Flags Comments
The wind drifting snow was the only significant red flag that we noticed today.
Avalanche Problem #1
Type
Wind Slab
Trend
Increasing Danger
Problem #1 Comments

Pockets of fresh wind blown snow on the steeper slopes along the exposed ridges was the main concern today.

Snow Profile
Aspect
Northeast
Elevation
9900
Slope Angle
25
Comments

Our main focus today was to look at the current snow structure of the existing snowpack.  We wanted to look at deeper layers as well as the condition of the snow surface.  After traveling and poking around, we concluded that the current snowpack looks pretty good.  There are no significantly weak layers deep in the pack and the surface is not ridiculously loose.  

The obvious reason for studying the current snowpack is to speculate on how it will react with the upcoming stormy period.  My current thinking is that avalanche activity with the upcoming storm will involve layering within the expected new snow.  Perhaps we might see shears at the new snow/old snow interface.  Warming temperatures may produce an upside down layering and the anticipated strong winds will add to this.  I don't think that we will see much in the line of avalanches breaking into the older snow which is already present.

Below:  Good surface conditions in the sheltered terrain.  This may not be the case into the weekend with continued strong wind expected and perhaps some dense upside down snow.

Today's Observed Danger Rating
Moderate
Tomorrows Estimated Danger Rating
Moderate
Snow Profile Coordinates