Small Wind Slabs Over Facets

Location Name: 
Williams Lake Area
Williams Lake Area
Date and time of observation: 
Sun, 02/26/2017 - 11:29
Location Map: 
United States
36° 32' 39.2352" N, 105° 25' 37.3296" W

Red Flags: 
Recent loading by new snow, wind, or rain

Observation made by: Forecaster
Snowpit Observations
More detailed information about the snowpack: 

Went for a nice walk as we wait for the next storm.  Early in the morning you almost needed ski crampons getting up the Williams Lake Trail.  Snow flurries were falling this morning but not much to speak of for accumulation.  I found 2" in one spot that was wind loaded above Williams Lake.  Near treeline and above we are finding wind slabs that aren't very big or much of a concern right now.  Underneath these wind slabs we are finding small to medium grained facets.  Stability tests in several pits today showed these buried facets could be concern when we add weight to it on Monday/Tuesday.  Extended Column Tests ranged from ECTP 2 to 10. We found a wicked melt freeze crust up to about 11,500' that locked up with these cold temps.  Above treeline looks like the moon right now with the strong winds these last several days wrecking havoc on the snowpack.  In areas that weren't scoured the wind slab above treeline was more consistent and in the pits I was in was Pencil hard.  Near treeline the winds these past days seemed to be a little more sporadic creating less uniformity and burying multiple layers of facets.  The skiing wasn't much to write home about but hopefully that will change soon. 

Photo 1: Wind Slab from above treeline.  The Wind Slab here was 10cm thick and Pencil hard.  I had an ECTP 6 and 10 at this pit.

Photo 2: A little bit of soft snow found above Williams Lake from the snow flurries this morning

Photo 3: Wind Slab near treeline.  This was cleanest I could make it.  Multiple wind slab layers and not very uniform with facets inbetween.  ECTP 2 and 4 at this pit below the wind slab.


Snowpack photos: 
Weather Observations
Blowing Snow: 
Cloud Cover: 
75% of the sky covered by clouds
Air temperature: 
Below Freezing
Wind Speed: 
Air temperature trend: 
Wind Direction: 
Accumulation rate: 
Less than 1 in. per hour
More detailed information about the weather: 

Another cold morning especially with the high relative humidity.  Snow flurries on and off this morning with swirling surface winds.  The clouds were moving out of the west.  Temps at 11,800' only reached 14 F today.