Avalanche Advisory: Saturday - Feb 22, 2020

THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON February 23, 2020 @ 6:55 am
Avalanche Advisory published on February 22, 2020 @ 6:55 am
Issued by Chris Engelhardt - Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center

LOW avalanche danger exists at all Elevations.  If new snow accumulations or winds are greater than expected, be on the lookout for isolated pockets of Wind Slab on terrain features conducive to capturing transported snow.

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: Normal Caution
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Cold temperatures, minimal predicted amounts of precipitation, and light northerly winds will likely contribute to unconsolidated, low density new snow Saturday...or in other words “dust on crust” conditions. Alternatively, if winds pick up and new snow accumulations exceed expected amounts, hazardous pockets of wind slab may develop on a variety of aspects and on terrain features that collect snow such as gullies, couloirs, and areas adjacent to ridgeline and rockbands. Riders should be observant and adjust travel plans in case snow accumulations and winds are higher than expected today. Be prepared for small pockets or ribbons of new snow that will easily want to slide down slope on hard, wind shorn, slick surfaces. Light new snow accumulations will be sitting on very firm conditions if you’re attempting northerly facing couloirs or high exposed alpine slopes.  Risk is high right now and Reward unfortunately low with continuing low tide conditions. There is so much 3-dimensional snow out there, that low visibility during flat light conditions adds a significant  hazard when navigating raised scabs of wind board, eroded sastrugi, refrozen penitentes, and developing sun cups.

advisory discussion

Any new snow is more than welcome, but these trace amounts may be just enough to cover or disguise hazardous snow surfaces and submerged obstacles. Truly, the biggest hazards to be aware of right now are shallow coverage and inconsistent snow surfaces including breakable crust, loose faceted unsupportable areas and sections of firm wind board.  My tours in the backcountry lately haven’t been so much as skiing, as touring, or going for a hike… with survival measures needed to prevent injury on the way down.  If you’re lucky enough to have a pass, the beauty of having world class ski areas nearby is you can still get your turns in without the risk that the backcountry presents right now.

 

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Cloudy skies and light snow accumulations are slated for the mountains Saturday.  Temperatures will remain warm reaching the low 40sF at lower mountain elevations and hovering near freezing above 10000ft. Light to moderate (15-20mph) NW-NE winds will blow over the area as this weak system departs. Upwards of  2” of snow is on tap for the Sierra crest today with potentially 4" for the White Mountains due to potential up sloping weather effects.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.
Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow. Snow levels below 7000 feet increasing to 7000 feet in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Partly cloudy then becoming clear. Slight chance of snow in the evening. Snow levels below 7000 feet. Chance of precipitation is 10%. Sunny. Snow levels below 7000 feet increasing to 7000 feet in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 0%.
Temperatures: 35 to 43. deg. F. 21 to 27. deg. F. 39 to 49. deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Light winds. Northwest around 15 mph in the evening becoming light. Gusts up to 25 mph. West around 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.
Expected snowfall: 80% probability up to 2 inches. 20% probability of 2 to 4 inches. | SWE = less than 0.10 inch. in. 0 in. 0 in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Cloudy. Chance of snow. Snow levels 7000 feet. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Mostly cloudy then becoming clear. Slight chance of snow in the evening. Snow levels 7000 feet decreasing to below 7000 feet after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 10%. Sunny. Snow levels below 7000 feet increasing to 7000 feet in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 0%.
Temperatures: 25 to 33. deg. F. 16 to 21. deg. F. 30 to 38. deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: Northeast around 15 mph. Gusts up to 25 mph in the afternoon. Northwest 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. West 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph.
Expected snowfall: 80% probability of 1 to 2 inches. 20% probability of 2 to 4 inches. | SWE = up to 0.15 inch. 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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