Eastern Sierra Avalanche Forecast - 1/1/14

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THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 2, 2014 @ 7:25 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 1, 2014 @ 7:25 am
Issued by Sue Burak - Inyo National Forest
bottom line

We are still without sufficient snowcover to warrant daily avalanche advisories.Snowpack observations have begun and read the Recent observations for more information. Daily avalanche advisories will begin as soon as conditions warrant.

How to read the advisory

Bottom Line

We are still without sufficient snowcover to warrant daily avalanche advisories.Snowpack observations have begun and read the Recent observations for more information. Daily avalanche advisories will begin as soon as conditions warrant.

advisory discussion

Snow distribution is widely variable - the snow surface is soft, thin and thick wind and suncrusts, surface hoar and wind hardened. The variable surfae conditions, a thin snowpack and very little snow are making discouraging conditions to travel in the backcountry. It will snow again and there are two things to keep in mind. The widely variable coverage means there will be isolated areas of avalanche hazard. Pay attention to the locations where it looks like you could make linked turns- these slopes will be hazardous with more than a foot of new snow. There is an example in the Observation section.  

recent observations

Snowpack observations were collected during an avalanche class. Snowpits were dug on an NE facing slope northwest of Mammoth Rock. The pit locations are shown in the observation page.  Three pits dug within a few meters of each other had different snow depths. Two pits had stout suncrusts that slid downhill while digging the pit.  Despite differences in total depth and the presence of crusts on top of and in the pack, the snow crystals were small to large facets. Three compression tests yield similar results in the moderate range.

Snow distribution is widely variable - the snow surface is soft, thin and thick wind and suncrusts, surface hoar and wind hardened. The variable surfae conditions, a thin snowpack and very little snow are making discouraging conditions to travel in the backcountry. It will snow again and there are two things to keep in mind. The widely variable coverage means there will be isolated areas of avalanche hazard. Pay attention to the locations where it looks like you could make linked turns- these slopes will be hazardous with more than a foot of new snow. There is an example in the Observation section.  

 

CURRENT CONDITIONS Weather Observations Between June (10,000 ft.) and Mammoth (11,000 ft.)
0600 temperature: 28 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 49 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: w
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 10 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 10 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 15 inches
weather

Clear boring and dry weather continues. While there are a couple of "disturbances" moving through the high pressure ridge, there is no precipitation for the next week. There may be light precip next week but it's too far out to get excited now. 

The blocking ridge pattern is typical of a La Nina winter.  The Paciifc ocean along the equator is neither warmer or colder than average, hence the "LaNada" term you may hear on weather discussions.  This year closely resembles the 1990-1991 winter when there was about the same pathetic amount of snow on the ground as today. Temperatures were colder than this year and only about 12-15 inches of snow fell in January and February. it did not snow until the beginning of March, 1991. Somewhere from 15-20 ft of snow fell in March but the winter was dry with about 60% of average snowfall.  

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: partly cloudy clear clear
Temperatures: 45-50 deg. F. 28-32 deg. F. 42-48 deg. F.
Wind direction: west west northwest
Wind speed: 0-5 0-5 5-10
Expected snowfall: 00 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Over 10,000 ft.
  Wednesday Wednesday Night Thursday
Weather: mostly sunny cloudy sun
Temperatures: 37-47 deg. F. 32-36 deg. F. 30-32 deg. F.
Wind direction: North west NW
Wind speed: 5 5-10 5-15
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
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