Avalanche Advisory: Friday - Jan 31, 2020

THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON February 1, 2020 @ 6:30 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 31, 2020 @ 6:30 am
Issued by Steve Mace - ESAC

Low avalanche danger persists at all elevations today. Surface warming deserves extra consideration today with unseasonably warm temperatures, clear skies and light winds expected to impact the area.

1. Low

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Above Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low

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Near Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.

1. Low

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Below Treeline
Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
    Generally safe avalanche conditions. Watch for unstable snow on isolated terrain features.
Avalanche Problem 1: Loose Wet
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  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Cool temperatures allowed for a hard freeze overnight, however, highs are expected to approach 60°F at lower elevations today. While the ambient air temperature may be enough to warm surface snow on all aspects at lower elevations, solar radiation will amplify the effect on E-SE-S-SW-W aspects. Be on the lookout for warming surface snow at mid and lower elevations. Wet, sticky snow surface, rollerballs, and pinwheels are all signs of surface warming and may foreshadow larger point release avalanches. A resulting loose wet avalanche today would likely be small, but it is important to remember that the consequences of an avalanche are elevated in complex terrain, on unsupported slopes, and in areas with terrain traps such as creek beds or gully features

advisory discussion

Low elevation clouds had a significant impact on surface conditions yesterday. Light misting rain and warm moist surface snow were observed as high as 12000’ in Virginia lakes before the clouds cleared, and similar conditions were noted on shaded northerly aspects as high as 10000’ in the mammoth area. Resulting melt-freeze crusts will limit the amount of loose snow on the surface today and may slow the warming process. However, the variable surface conditions will pose additional hazards.  Be wary of areas with hard slick and supportable crusts where a fall may result in a slide for life situation. An ice ax, and boot or ski crampons may be necessary tools today for some objectives. Waiting for the surface to warm may lead to a more enjoyable experience. In addition, our snowpack remains highly variable in terms of depth and distribution. Be on the lookout for shallowly buried obstacles and realize that coverage can change drastically over a very short distance.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

 Unseasonably warm temperatures, clear skies, and light winds will make for a pleasant day in the mountains today. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to upper 50’s today below 10,000’, and well above freezing in the alpine.  

Enjoy the spring-like weather over the next couple days, a strong cold front will impact the area on Sunday as we see a chance for light snow and a return to more typical winter conditions

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 46 to 56. deg. F. 29 to 35. deg. F. 48 to 58. deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Light winds. Light winds. Light winds becoming southwest around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph in the afternoon.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Friday Friday Night Saturday
Weather: Sunny. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 39 to 47. deg. F. 28 to 33. deg. F. 40 to 48. deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: North 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Northwest around 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. West 15 to 25 mph.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Disclaimer
This Avalanche Advisory is designed to generally describe avalanche conditions where local variations always occur. This product only applies to backcountry areas located outside established ski area boundaries. The information in this Avalanche Advisory is provided by the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center, who is solely responsible for its content.

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