Avalanche Advisory: Wednesday - Feb 26, 2020

THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON February 27, 2020 @ 6:32 am
Avalanche Advisory published on February 26, 2020 @ 6:32 am
Issued by Steve Mace - ESAC

LOW avalanche danger persists at all elevations today. While generally safe avalanche conditions exist, it will not be impossible to find areas of unstable snow today. Lingering wind slabs deserve extra consideration in leeward catchment zones at upper elevations today. In addition, the strong sierra sun and warm temperatures today may lead to surface warming on solar aspects. Elevated caution is advised in the southern reaches of the forecast area which received significantly more snow out of Saturday’s storm event.

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: Wind Slab
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Light winds are expected to continue out of the northwest today, which will limit the possibility of fresh wind slab development. However, lingering wind slabs at upper elevations may remain a hazard in the southern part of the forecast area. While natural activity will be unlikely, wind slabs deposited during and after our most recent storm even on 2/22 may still be reactive to human trigger. Exposed areas, confined couloirs, and leeward catchment zones near and above treeline deserve elevated caution. Blowing snow, recent drifting, 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
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Sunny skies and warm temperatures are expected to continue today with light to moderate winds out of the northwest. 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 mid and lower elevations. Wet, sticky snow surface, rollerballs, and pinwheels are all signs of surface warming and may foreshadow larger point release avalanches.

advisory discussion

After a brief return to winter last weekend, we have settled back into a spring-like weather pattern. Recent field observations have indicated that the new snow from last Saturday has been bonding fairly well to the old snow surface.  Isolated areas of unstable snow may exist throughout the range, particularly in the southern part of the forecast area.  However, significant avalanche activity will be unlikely today.  Variable and firm surface conditions and overall thin coverage remain the greatest hazards. A fall could be hard to self-arrest in many areas, and exposed rocks and other obstacles may increase the consequence of a fall. Continue to practice safe travel techniques and bring the proper equipment for your objective.  Most importantly, be flexible and move to less consequential terrain if the challenging conditions don’t match up with your group’s equipment or ability level.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Expect clear skies and daytime highs above seasonal averages today, reaching the mid 40°s or low 50°s at mid-elevations.  Light north winds will shift to the west by this afternoon with gusts reaching as high as 30 mph at ridgetops.

 

Warm and dry conditions will continue through the end of the week with generally light winds and clear skies. A brief low-pressure system is expected to impact the area this weekend. This system is expected to bring increasing winds and a chance of precipitation. 

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.
Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Sunny. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 43 to 53. deg. F. 23 to 29. deg. F. 43 to 53. deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Light winds. Gusts up to 25 mph in the morning. Light winds. Light winds.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: Sunny. Clear. Sunny.
Temperatures: 33 to 41. deg. F. 18 to 24. deg. F. 33 to 41. deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: West around 15 mph with gusts to 30 mph. West around 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph in the evening becoming light. Light winds.
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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