THIS AVALANCHE ADVISORY EXPIRED ON January 21, 2014 @ 6:56 am
Avalanche Advisory published on January 19, 2014 @ 6:56 am
Issued by Andy Anderson - Tahoe National Forest

Avalanche danger remains LOW on snow covered NW-N-NE-E aspects. Overall, triggering an avalanche has become unlikely, but a few small areas of unstable snow may still exist on isolated terrain features. The avalanche danger on SE-S-SW-W aspects remains nonexistent due to a lack of snow. Brandon will update the advisory by Tuesday at 7am.

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 ?
  • Aspect/Elevation ?
  • Likelihood ?
    Certain
    Very Likely
    Likely
    Possible
    Unlikely
  • Size ?
    Historic
    Very Large
    Large
    Small

Triggering an avalanche remains unlikely. Data and observations from around the region indicate that even though the snowpack contains buried persistent weak layers, it can support itself and people recreating on top of the snow. Some variation still exists in day to day observations, and a few isolated results indicating instability still continue. Finding some unstable snow in the form of a small persistent slab on an isolated terrain feature on a NW-N-NE aspect is not impossible. Even though avalanches are unlikely, continue to evaluate the snowpack before committing to a slope and employ safe backcountry travel practices like traveling one at a time and spotting partners from known safe zones outside of any avalanche path. The shallow snowpack has left numerous rocks, trees, stumps, logs and other obstacles exposed for people recreating in the backcountry to hit.

recent observations

On the NW-N-NE aspects a shallow snowpack composed mostly of weak sugary snow exists. In some areas this shallow snowpack has small slab-like layers in it. On some near and above treeline slopes, isolated, small, and difficult-to-trigger wind slabs still rest on top of the pack. In other areas no slabs exist and the snowpack consists of weak snow with more weak snow above it. On Mt. Judah on Saturday, snowpit tests, hand pits, ski cuts on test slopes, and general observations indicated that even though weak layers exist in the snowpack, stable conditions currently exist.  This data is consistent with other observations from around the forecast area during the past week. A few snowpit tests in some areas still showed some variability, but most tests and data have pointed to a stable snowpack.

Weather and CURRENT CONDITIONS
weather summary

High pressure continues. Dry and sunny weather will persist as long as the strong high pressure remains over the west coast. Daytime highs should remain well above normal for the next few days with temperatures climbing into the upper 40's and low 50's above 7000 ft. today, tomorrow, and Tuesday. The light southwest winds should also continue. This winter has had one of the driest starts on record and the meager snowpack reflects that fact. Currently, the snowpack sits at between 17% and 26% of "average" in terms of snow depth and snow water equivalent. See the map below from the NCRS and go to their site for more information.

Snow as a percent of normal as of Jan 19th

Weather observations from along the Sierra Crest between 8200 ft. and 8800 ft.
0600 temperature: 30 to 40 deg. F.
Max. temperature in the last 24 hours: 44 to 52 deg. F.
Average wind direction during the last 24 hours: E shifting to the SW last night
Average wind speed during the last 24 hours: 10 mph
Maximum wind gust in the last 24 hours: 29 mph
New snowfall in the last 24 hours: 0 inches
Total snow depth: 8 to 15 inches
Two-Day Mountain Weather Forecast Produced in partnership with the Reno NWS
For 7000 ft. to 8000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 45 to 52 deg. F. 24 to 32 deg. F. 45 to 52 deg. F.
Wind Direction: Variable Variable Variable
Wind Speed: Light Light Light
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
For 8000 ft. to 9000 ft.
Sunday Sunday Night Monday
Weather: Sunny Clear Sunny
Temperatures: 42 to 49 deg. F. 29 to 35 deg. F. 42 to 49 deg. F.
Wind Direction: Southwest Southwest Variable
Wind Speed: 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph in the morning decreasing in the afternoon 10 to 15 mph in the evening becoming light overnight Light
Expected snowfall: 0 in. 0 in. 0 in.
Disclaimer

This avalanche advisory is provided through a partnership between the Tahoe National Forest and the Sierra Avalanche Center. This advisory covers the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains between Yuba Pass on the north and Ebbetts Pass on the south. Click here for a map of the forecast area. This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires 24 hours after the posted time unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.