Avalanche Advisory: Saturday - Jan 4, 2020

THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 5, 2020 @ 6:41 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 4, 2020 @ 6:41 am
Issued by Steve Mace - ESAC

MODERATE avalanche danger exists at upper elevations today while LOW danger persists at mid and lower elevations. Isolated areas of unstable snow exist on northerly and easterly aspects at upper elevations where increasing SW winds may have resulted in fresh wind slab development. Small avalanches may be possible on isolated terrain features or in extreme terrain. 

 

 

2. Moderate

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Above Treeline
Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.

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.
    Heightened avalanche conditions on specific terrain features. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully; identify features of concern.
Avalanche Problem 1: Wind Slab
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

 Over the last week, we have seen consistent strong to gale force winds shifting direction from southerly to northerly and back again. As a result, the alpine has been stripped of loose snow, and little remains available to deposit into dangerous wind slabs. Small amounts of blowing snow may be witnessed today, and fresh sensitive wind slabs will be possible to find. However, resulting avalanches will most likely be small and limited to isolated areas in upper elevation catchment zones and extreme terrain. Use surface clues to identify wind loaded areas and do your own localized assessments before committing to suspect terrain.

advisory discussion

While generally safe avalanche conditions exist throughout most of the forecast area, it will not be impossible to find unstable snow today.  Heightened caution is recommended in complex terrain and on unsupported slopes where the consequences of an avalanche are elevated. 

While some solar warming and surface melting is expected today on southerly aspects, strong winds, increasing cloud cover and cooler temperatures today will limit the danger of large loose wet avalanches.  Realize that warming is intensified at lower elevations and around exposed cliffs and rock outcroppings. Be on the lookout for signs of warming snow such as wet, sticky snow, rollerballs, and pinwheels as these things may foreshadow larger point release avalanches.  

In times of relatively low avalanche danger, it remains important to practice safe travel techniques and approach complex terrain with an eye-out for isolated instabilities.  Keep your brain turned on, your guard up, and evaluate conditions objectively. Couloirs, cliffy areas, cross-loaded depressions, and unsupported slopes are precisely where problems may occur today.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

 Expect Sunny skies this morning to becoming partly cloudy this afternoon. Temperatures will be warm today with highs above freezing even at higher elevations. Moderate to strong winds will continue throughout the day with ridgetop gusts reaching up to 75 mph this morning.

High pressure will continue to impact the area this weekend. Long term models are showing some promise for unsettled weather at the end of next week, but it’s still a long way out and the details are still a bit murky.

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: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy. Partly cloudy then becoming clear. Sunny. Snow levels below 7000 feet. C
Temperatures: 40 to 46. deg. F. 19 to 25. deg. F. 31 to 39. deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Southwest 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 55 mph. Southwest 15 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph increasing to 40 mph after midnight. Southwest 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph shifting to the northwest 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph in the afternoon.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Saturday Saturday Night Sunday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy. Partly cloudy. Sunny.
Temperatures: 33 to 39. deg. F. 15 to 20. deg. F. 25 to 31. deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: Southwest 30 to 50 mph decreasing to 25 to 35 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 75 mph. Southwest 15 to 30 mph. Gusts up to 45 mph after midnight. Southwest 30 to 45 mph becoming northwest 20 to 30 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 60 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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