Eastern Sierra Avalanche Advisory

Avalanche Advisory published on January 15, 2021 @ 6:37 am
This Avalanche Advisory expires in 20 hours, 6 minutes
This advisory is valid for 24 hours
Issued by Steve Mace - ESAC

LOW avalanche danger exists at all elevations today. Be on the lookout for isolated areas of unstable snow today, particularly on unsupported slopes or in extreme terrain. Shallow coverage, variable surface conditions, and a plethora of obstacles remain the biggest hazards to backcountry travel.

Thank you to all those who were able to join ESAC Forecasters on Jan 13th for a free evening of Virtual Backcountry Travel Education. For those who were unable to attend, the event was recorded: Click here to view the 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: Normal Caution
  • Type ?
advisory discussion

Temperatures last night remained well above freezing even at upper elevations. Radiative cooling may have led to a weak refreeze but expect surface snow to moisten quickly this morning.  Remember LOW danger does not mean NO danger, isolated instabilities still exist, and variable surface conditions are exasperating the risk already posed by the EXTREMELY low coverage. Small panels of wind slab on shaded slopes in the alpine are feasible and with sunny skies and temperatures remaining well above normal today don’t be surprised to see some rollerball activity and a weak unconsolidated and wet snowpack on more solar aspects.  Variable and challenging surface conditions and the extremely thin coverage are also worth considering today. Our snowpack is in transition at the moment and backcountry enthusiasts could find a wide variety of surface conditions today. Sticky wet snow may exist in sheltered trees, unconsolidated punchy wet snow on shallow solar aspects, sun-warmed wind board, slick and firm wind affected surfaces on shaded slopes in the alpine, unsupportable faceted snow in more shaded areas near treeline, and breakable surface crusts on a variety of aspects and elevations.

The conditions in the backcountry deserve a serious conversation about risk vs reward at the moment. The obstacle-ridden landscape remains the biggest hazard to backcountry enthusiasts, be aware of your exposure, and keep in mind that even an otherwise innocuous fall could have more severe consequences with our extremely shallow coverage.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

Sunny skies, light winds, and above-average temperatures will continue this morning. Expect to see cloud cover build and wind speed s increase this afternoon. highs may reach into the mid 50°Fs below 10,000’ and the mid 40F° in the alpine. Light to moderate West winds may increases in velocity into the strong category this afternoon with ridgetop gusts around 55 mph.

Expect our unseasonably warm temperatures to continue through the weekend mostly sunny skies and with mostly light winds.  The high-pressure ridge off the coast may start to break next week, bringing colder temperatures and strong winds.

Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 8,000 ft. to 10,000 ft.
Today Tonight Saturday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy. Snow levels 9000 feet. Mostly cloudy then becoming partly cloudy. Snow levels 8500 feet. Partly cloudy then becoming sunny. Snow levels 8500 feet.
Temperatures: 46 to 56. deg. F. 27 to 33. deg. F. 42 to 50. deg. F.
Mid Slope Winds: Light winds becoming west 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 40 mph in the afternoon. West 15 to 20 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Light winds.
Expected snowfall: 0 in. No accumulation. | SWE = none. in. No accumulation. | SWE = none. in.
Over 10,000 ft.
Today Tonight Saturday
Weather: Sunny then becoming partly cloudy. Snow levels 9000 feet. Partly cloudy. Snow levels 8500 feet. Partly cloudy then becoming sunny. Snow levels 9000 feet.
Temperatures: 38 to 46. deg. F. 24 to 29. deg. F. 34 to 42. deg. F.
Ridge Top Winds: West 15 to 25 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph increasing to 55 mph in the afternoon. West 25 to 35 mph with gusts to 60 mph. North 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph in the morning.
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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