Avalanche Advisory: Sunday - Jan 19, 2020

THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 20, 2020 @ 6:45 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 19, 2020 @ 6:45 am
Issued by Steve Mace - ESAC

MODERATE avalanche danger exists at mid and upper elevations today while LOW danger persists at lower elevations. Lingering wind slabs on northerly and easterly aspects at mid and upper elevations are the primary hazard today. Evaluate snow and terrain carefully and avoid features of concern.

2. Moderate

?

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

2. Moderate

?

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

1. Low

?

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

Light winds are expected to continue out of the south today, which will limit the possibility of fresh wind slab development. However, lingering wind slabs on northerly and easterly aspects remain a hazard. While natural activity will be unlikely, wind slabs deposited during Thursday's storm event may still be reactive to human triggers. Exposed areas and leeward catchment zones near and above treeline deserve elevated caution.  It is also important to remember that strong winds can distribute snow in unexpected ways. Isolated areas of wind slab may exist on specific terrain features below treeline and further down slopes than you may typically expect to find them.  Large drifts, recent cornice growth, and uneven snow surfaces are all clues that indicate nearby wind deposits. Do your own localized assessments and be suspect of terrain features that encourage drifting such as the leeward sides of ridgelines, gully features, and cross-loaded depressions.  

Avalanche Problem 2: Loose Wet
  • Type ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Cloudy skies will limit the solar input today; however, temperatures are expected to reach 50°F at lower elevations.  While consequential loose wet avalanches are unlikely, they are not out of the realm of possibility today. Be on the lookout for warming surface snow on solar aspects at lower elevations, particularly if the cloud cover breaks, allowing for the sun to shine through. Wet, sticky snow surface, rollerballs, and pinwheels are all signs of surface warming and may foreshadow larger point release avalanches.

advisory discussion

Pleasant weather and a fresh blanket of new snow have brought a welcome change to the range.  While surface conditions have largely improved, many hazards remain. Don’t be afraid to dig in to investigate how the old snow is adjusting to the new load. While current concerns are limited to the surface snow, much of the lower snowpack is comprised of old crust layers and weak faceted snow. It remains to be seen if this poor structure will become problematic in the future.  In addition to elevated avalanche conditions today, it is prudent to remember that we are still dealing with a thin snowpack. Be on the lookout for shallowly buried rocks and trees, and move cautiously through the terrain. 

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Expect mostly cloudy skies today with warm temperatures and light southerly winds. Unsettled weather is likely to return to the area on Monday evening or Tuesday morning, bringing modest mountain snowfall and gusty winds.​

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Mostly cloudy Mostly cloudy Mostly cloudy. slight chance of snow in the afternoon
Temperatures: 41-49 deg. F. 25-30 deg. F. 34-42 deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Light winds South around 15 mph. Gusts up to 25 mph increasing to 35 mph after midnight. South around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. tr in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Mostly cloudy Mostly cloudy Mostly cloudy. slight chance of snow in the afternoon
Temperatures: 35-43 deg. F. 20-26 deg. F. 27-35 deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: South around 15 South 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph increasing to 15 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 mph after midnight Southwest 15-30
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. tr 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.

ESAC receives significant financial support from ...