Killer Sunset at The Sisters near Carson Pass
Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney: Crown Jewel of the Pacific Crest Trail
Need a Map? Lost Al near Lost Keys Lake
Emigrant Wilderness under Tropical Thunderstorm, September.
Round Top Lake
Whitebarks and Grizzly Peak in Emigrant Wilderness under Tropical Clouds during September 2013
Lost Keys Lake
 

Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney
Trail Guide, Magazine, & High Sierra Backpacker's Trails and Topics Forums

2020
HIGH SIERRA BACKPACKER'S

Calendar

JANUARY

 

Important Seasonal Happenings, Transitions, Events & Dates
for
High Sierra Backpackers

 

Road Conditions, Resupply, Seasonal Transition Concerns, Permit Dates, Weather, Water, and Mosquitoes

 

 

Previous Years
2019

2018

2017

 

ANNUAL
News, Views, & Issues
2020
High Sierra
News
2020
Trail
Alerts
2020
Natural Meltdown
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INDEX
Download
FONT

 

LAST YEAR"S
News
2019
High Sierra
News
2019
Trail
Alerts
2019
Natural Meltdown

 


2020

2020 INDEX

January          February         March         April         May         June

July         August         September         October         November         December

 

January
2020

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

TRAILHEAD


North Desolation Wilderness

Dicks and Fontanellis Lakes in the North Desolation Wilderness.
View North across Dicks and Fontanillis Lakes. Phipps Peak and Pass are the prominent peak in the middle-Right background. Note Middle Velma Lake nestled in below Phipps Peak. Our route from Meeks Bay on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe crossed Phipps Peak to join the Pacific Crest Trail in the Desolation Wilderness just a bit North of Middle Velma Lake.

Trail Guide           Map           Miles and Elevations

 

End of December 2019

January 2020

January       February     March       April       May       June     July     August     September       October       November       December

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

FULL WINTER CONDITIONS
2020
Be it a Winter Season of drought or deluge, The Fall Gear has been stowed or complimented by the Heavy Gear of Winter.

What's Going On?
2020
Fall to Winter Conditions

See 2020 High Sierra Reports

Full Fall Kit
September 27

Fall Winter Gear Required
November 2020

 

 

What's Going On?
2019
Fall to Winter Conditions

See 2019 High Sierra Reports

Full Fall Kit
September 27

Fall Winter Gear Required
November 2019

 

 

What's Going On?
2018

See December of 2017 High Sierra Reports

FALL
2017
to
WINTER
2018

On September 15th we shifted from Summer to Fall Gear.

On November 3rd Winter Gear was Required.


After November 26 FULL Winter gear, skills, and fitness levels required.

 

 

All
High Sierra Weather Info



Latest Daily Snow Depth Summary

Daily Sierra Snowpack % of Normal pdf

Daily Snow-Water & Percent of Average

 

 

All Precipitation-Snow Data

 

All Snow Surveys

SWC & Snow Depth

 

 

 

Yosemite-Hoover-Desolation
&
John Muir Trail Hikers:

 

Time to
Order Next Year's Permits!

Reserved permits for June 2018 now available from Yosemite, Hoover, and Desolation Wilderness Areas. In other words, Yosemite, Desolation, and Hoover Wilderness Areas all offer advanced reservations about six months ahead of your desired hiking dates.

This means now is the time to get your JMT permit application, along with other popular hikes, into the Man.

 

 


All Permits

 

 

Yosemite Permits         Desolation Wilderness

 

31 DECEMBER 2019

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Temperate Day

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

Warnings

NWS RENO
Special Statement

NWS SACTO
Special Statement

NWS HANFORD
Winter Watch

Warnings for Sunday

 

 

Point Forecasts

Lake Tahoe Forecast

Cherry Lake Forecast

Lee Vining Forecast

Lake Thomas Edison

Lake Isabella Forecast

 

CalTrans

 

 

 

2019 Jan
Snow Depth & Temps

2018 Jan
Snow Depth & Temps

2017 Jan
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

2016 Jan
January: Not Much

 

 

Compare Today
with
Snow
&
Temperatures

on
Dec 30

Dec 24

Dec 15 & 20

Dec 8 & 12

Dec 2 & 6

Nov 27

Nov 20

Nov 16

Nov 9

Nov 2

Oct 28

Oct 14

Sept 29

Sept 25

Aug 16th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Jan
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

1

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Temperate Day

 

 

 

Recent Winters

Jan 2015
Driest Year in History

Jan 2016
An Average Year

Jan 2017
Wettest Year in History

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

Hiking the PCT
in
2020?

From the Trail Guide

The
Earliest, Latest, and Average Start Dates

How Will This Year Stack-Up?

ON THE CALENDAR

Earliest
Start Date
Winter of 2015
Driest in History

Average
Start Date
Winter of 2016
An Average Year

Latest
Start Date
Winter of 2017

Wettest in History

When are the trails along the Sierra Crest going to be passable this year?

Upcoming
Weather Probabilities

These three years highlighted above offer the potential range of Weather Conditions within which this year's PCTer,
"Start Date," the date you can reasonably expect to encounter fairly snow-free trails with post-deadly fording conditions, will be determined within. These are the historic limits of wet and dry, with a perfectly average year thrown in-between, for good measure.

This date, of course, depends upon your ability to navigate snow at high altitude, along with your ability to cross the various stages of the dangerous thaw waters draining off it.

And your fitness, of course. You are training, are you not?

You can get through before and after the period of high-flow runoff, but not during this phase.

How the conditions of the Winter to Spring
Transition we track this year measures-up to the classic trajectories of these three years cited above will inform potential PCT hikers about the snow/trail conditions along the High Sierra Crest they may reasonably expect to encounter during May, June, and July of this year measure-up against those of the Driest year in history against an Average Year, against the wettest Year in History...

This year of 2020 will fit somewhere between these historic parameters of the record Wettest and record Driest years that happened between
2015 and 2017.

As our seasonal start date for open access to trails along the High Sierra Crest will be adjusted according to the character and trajectory of this year's Winter to Spring Transition, we will watch it carefully.

 

Advice for
Rookie Hikers wishing to hike the TYT-JMT-PCT

More

2018
Weather Notes
TWISTED SEASONS
Hottest & Driest, then Wettest Year Ever, over Three Years

Compare Years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

2

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Temperate Day

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 2.

N Sierra: 77%
4% in 2 days.

Cen. Sierra: 90%
4% in 2 days.

S Sierra: 104%
5% in 2 days.

Ca State: 90%
4% in 2 days.

Last Measurement:
Dec 31

Next Measurement:
Jan 6 & 9

2019-18

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PD

 

 

 

Station Reports
The
THIRD

--WINTER--
Temp-Snow
Check

January 2
2020

7 PM - 7 PM

Below: Watershed Snow Water Content Charts followed by individual reporting station's Snow Depth and 24 hour high-low temps.

Last Report:
Dec 30

Next Report:
Jan 8

Tahoe Basin
Watershed

Southwest Tahoe
Trail Map with Stations

PCT-TYT-TRT
Rubicon
31.0 −3.00
(10.60) + 0.10
7618 feet
Trail Map
41 & 31 +/+

PCT-TYT-TRT
Echo Peak
41.0 2
(16.60) + 0.10
7652 feet
Stations Map
43 & 30 +/+

American-Yuba Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Carson Pass
45.0 −3
(13.70) +0.10
8388 feet
Trail Map
Stations Map
41 & 27 +/+

Carson-Walker
Watershed
s

PCT-TYT
Ebbetts Pass
44.0 −4
(18.0) +0.10
8660 feet
Trail Map
41 & 27 +/+

West of PCT
Highlands Meadow
22.39
1.62
(10.74) +0.3
8360 feet
Trail Map
38 & 27 +/+

EAST FLANK
Leavitt Lake
56.0 −2.0
(14.10) +0.1
9602 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
38 & 30 +/+

EAST FLANK
Marine Base
Cold Weather Training

6748 feet East Flank
Trail Map Above
FULL REPORT
VIS-CHIL-WEA-MB-
WIND
52 & 19 +/

Mokelumne-Stanislaus Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Sonora Pass

Kennedy Meadows
RESUPPLY
Deadman Creek

22.86 −1.58
(--.--)
9250 feet,West Flank,
Trail Map
40 & 29 +/+

Tuolumne-Merced
Watersheds

SW of TYT
Horse Meadow
Error =0.4 ???
8602 feet
Trail Map
42 & 33 +/+

Top of List

Tenaya Lake
35.84 −2.86
(3.68) +0.06
8163 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
46 & 22 +/+

JMT-PCT-TYT
Tuolumne Meadows

27.14 −1.29
(3.23) +0.42
8600 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
46 & 17 +/=

Tioga Pass/Dana
ERROR +ERROR
(0.60) +0.13
9798 feet
Trail Map
39 & 28 +/+

Mammoth Mountain

Mono Lake-Owens Basin

East of PCT-JMT
Above Gem Lake
Gem Pass
(error)
10750 feet
Trail Map
temps bad

JMT-PCT Junction
Devils Postpile
29.52 −4.68
(7.67) =0.00
8004 feet
Trail Map Above
49 & 15 +/

NE of JMT-PCT
Mammoth Pass
50.88 +0.53
(0.48) = ??
9500 feet
Trail Map
41 & 27 +/+

Top of List

JMT-PCT
E of Bear Ridge

Volcanic Knob
33.50 −2.5
(0.00) = ??
10100 feet
Trail Map
38 & 31 +/+

East Flank
South Lake Cabin

no snow sensor
(28.80) +0.1
9580 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
46 & 20 +/+

East Flank
Big Pine Sawmill

22.80 −2.8
10200 feet, East Flank
Trail Map Above
38 & 18 +/+

Kings River

Just East JMT-PCT
Bishop Pass
(bad)
(0.0) =
11972 feet
Trail Map Above
-- & -- / (earlier)

Just West JMT-PCT
Charlotte Lake
37.10 −2.96
10398 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
40 & 16 +/=
(Typically the coldest station)

Kern Watershed

JMT-PCT
Upr Tyndall Creek

32.11 −3.73
11441 feet
Trail Map
38 & 24 +/+

JMT
Crabtree Meadow

5.08 −2.16 error ??
(32.43) +0.46
10,700 feet
Trail Map
41 & 24 +/+

? = questionable data

All High Sierra
Reporting Stations

More Stations, by Watersheds

Top of List

 

2018

2018
January 2
HIGH SIERRA REPORT

What we're seeing today is one step in a transition between the last and the next in the series of vast, massive cells of persistant High Pressure air that have been covering the West Coast of California (if not the whole West Coast of North America) over the whole month of December.

 

3

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Temperate Day

 

 

 

BEST
FORECASTS

HAZARDS

 

Precipitation
General

Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts:
ALL
RAIN FORECASTS
&
MODELS

 

Direct to
Seven Day Precip
Animation

 

Precipitation
Geographic

All High Sierra
ZONE & POINT
FORECASTS

 

All High Sierra
ZONE
FORECASTS

 

Now

RADAR

SATELLITES

 

Direct
to
GRAPHICAL INTERFACE

Forecast
Winds? Weather?

NorCal Graphics

Region, SW US

 

Forecast
Temperatures

Model
Five Day Mean
Low Temps

Click Green "Latest" Model,
observe using step button

All Temps

 

Let's look at the
Big Picture
Surface Map

The Pacific Ocean

US Weather Map

All Maps

 

 

 

This Week
TOP


 

2019

Persistant Blocking Ridge

Extended Clear Weather breaking today

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 3.

N Sierra: 62%

Cen. Sierra:68%

S Sierra: 70%

Ca State: 67%

 

2018
Pre-Storm
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 3.

N Sierra: 21%

Cen. Sierra:29%

S Sierra: 20%

Ca State: 24%

 

 

 

2017 Jan
Today's Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

4

EARLY SHOWERS
Clearring into Cloudy

 

HHIGH SIERRA
SNOW INFO
All Snow Info
SNOW STATUS
&
FORECASTS

THE SNOWPACK
GRAPHICS

Date-Adjustable
High Sierra Snowpack Status

 

NOAA-NOHRSC
The High Sierra
1-2-20

 

 

 

 

Direct
to
Two Day
SNOW FORECAST

Seven Day Forecast

ALL PRECIP TOOLS

 

 

Mountain Safety
AVALANCHE DANGERS

Winter Backpacking
Considerations

 

 

Seven Day
Freezing Temperature Probability Model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

 

2019 Jan
Today's Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST YEAR

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

5

SWEET & CLEAR
Temperate Day

 

WARM
Spring-Like Day

Gonna Be A
COLD
Night

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019
Snow Depth & Temps

2018
Snow Depth & Temps

2017
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

6

SWEET & CLEAR
Temperate Day

 

 

 

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 6.

N Sierra: 73%
4% in 4 days.

Cen. Sierra: 83%
7% in 4 days.

S Sierra: 96%
8% in 4 days.

Ca State: 83%
7% in 4 days.

Last Measurement:
Jan 2

2019-18

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PD

 

 

 

Selected
Weather Resources

 

Surface Low Pressure Tracks

 

Radar

 

Visible Satellites

 

Water Vapor Satellites

 

MAPS

 

Sierra Forecasts

 

Western US Forecasts

 

Precip Animation & Charts

 

Graphical Precip Forecast

 

All Sierra Snow Info

 

Sierra Sensor Networks

 

Watersheds and Selected Network of Crestline Sensors

 

High Sierra Highways

 

All Weather Information

7

SWEET & CLEAR
Temperate Day
Late PM Showers

 

 

THE SNOWPACK
GRAPHICS

Date-Adjustable
High Sierra Snowpack Status

 

NOAA-NOHRSC
The High Sierra
1-7-20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 7.

N Sierra: 79%
+17% in 4 days!!

Cen. Sierra:87%
+19% in 4 days!

S Sierra: 86%
+16% in 4 days!

Ca State: 84%
+17% in 4 days!

 

 

2017
Storm Time
Tropical Pounding
Rain on the Sierra Crest.

Ground Saturating, All Rivers Rising.

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

8

CLOUDY
Cooler Day

 

COOL
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

Warnings

NWS RENO
Winter Advisory

NWS SACTO
Winter Advisory

NWS HANFORD
No Warning

Advisories for Thursday

 

Station Reports
The
FOURTH

--WINTER--
Temp-Snow
Check

January 8
2020

7 PM - 7 PM

Below: Watershed Snow Water Content Charts followed by individual reporting station's Snow Depth and 24 hour high-low temps.

Last Report:
Jan 2

Next Report:
Jan 13

Tahoe Basin
Watershed

Southwest Tahoe
Trail Map with Stations

PCT-TYT-TRT
Rubicon
30.0 −1.00
(10.60) = 0.00
7618 feet
Trail Map
45 & 34 +/+

PCT-TYT-TRT
Echo Peak
41.0 =0
(16.40)0.20
7652 feet
Stations Map
45 & 34 +/+

American-Yuba Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Carson Pass
44.0 −1
(13.70) =0.00
8388 feet
Trail Map
Stations Map
31 & 21 −/−

Carson-Walker
Watershed
s

PCT-TYT
Ebbetts Pass
44.0 = 0
(17.9)0.10
8660 feet
Trail Map
42 & 30 +/+

West of PCT
Highlands Meadow
19.98
−2.41
(10.58) −0.16
8360 feet
Trail Map
29 & 18 −/−

EAST FLANK
Leavitt Lake
54.0 −2.0
(14.00) 0.1
9602 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
38 & 28 =/−

EAST FLANK
Marine Base
Cold Weather Training

6748 feet East Flank
Trail Map Above
FULL REPORT
VIS-CHIL-WEA-MB-
WIND
52 & 14 =/

Mokelumne-Stanislaus Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Sonora Pass

Kennedy Meadows
RESUPPLY
Deadman Creek

23.16 +0.03
(--.--)
9250 feet,West Flank,
Trail Map
29 & 14 −/−

Tuolumne-Merced
Watersheds

SW of TYT
Horse Meadow
Error =0.4 ???
8602 feet
Trail Map
40 & 9 −/−

Top of List

Tenaya Lake
35.83 −0.01
(3.66) 0.02
8163 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
32 & 7 −/−

JMT-PCT-TYT
Tuolumne Meadows

26.33 −0.81
(3.23) =0.00
8600 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
33 & 6 −/−

Tioga Pass/Dana
ERROR +ERROR
(0.83) +0.23
9798 feet
Trail Map
27 & 9 −/−

Mammoth Mountain

Mono Lake-Owens Basin

East of PCT-JMT
Above Gem Lake
Gem Pass
(error)
10750 feet
Trail Map
temps bad

JMT-PCT Junction
Devils Postpile
26.12 −3.4
(7.67) =0.00
8004 feet
Trail Map Above
35 & 13 −/−

NE of JMT-PCT
Mammoth Pass
49.09 −1.79
(0.48) = ??
9500 feet
Trail Map
30 & 14 −/−

Top of List

JMT-PCT
E of Bear Ridge

Volcanic Knob
31.70 −1.8
(0.00) = ??
10100 feet
Trail Map
32 & 4 −/−

East Flank
South Lake Cabin

no snow sensor
(28.80) =0.0
9580 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
39 & 13 −/−

East Flank
Big Pine Sawmill

21.30 −1.5
10200 feet, East Flank
Trail Map Above
34 & 7 −/−

Kings River

Just East JMT-PCT
Bishop Pass
(bad)
(0.0) =
11972 feet
Trail Map Above
-- & -- / (earlier)

Just West JMT-PCT
Charlotte Lake
34.62 −2.48
10398 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
27 & 3 /
(Typically the coldest station)

Kern Watershed

JMT-PCT
Upr Tyndall Creek

30.15 −1.96
11441 feet
Trail Map
28 & 10 /

JMT
Crabtree Meadow

3.77 −1.31 error ??
(32.73) +0.30
10,700 feet
Trail Map
34 & 6 /

? = questionable data

All High Sierra
Reporting Stations

More Stations, by Watersheds

Top of List

9

CLOUDY
AM Showers
Cooler Day

 

 

 

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 9.

N Sierra: 71%
2% in 3 days.

Cen. Sierra: 79%
4% in 4 days.

S Sierra: 90%
6% in 3 days.

Ca State: 78%
5% in 3 days.

Next Measurement:
Jan 13

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PD

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 10.

N Sierra: 90%
+11% in 3 days!!

Cen. Sierra:89%
+2% in 3 days

S Sierra: 90%
+4% in 3 days

Ca State: 91%
+7% in 3 days

 

2018
Post-Storm
Current Snowpack
:

Percent of Average for
January 10.

N Sierra: 18%

Cen. Sierra: 30%

S Sierra: 25%

Ca State: 26%

2017
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

2016

2015

 

 

 

 

REALTIME
High Sierra Crestline
Reporting Stations
WINTER 2020

Compare Today
with
Snow
&
Temperatures

on
Jan 2

Dec 30

Dec 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

10

CLOUDY
AM Showers
Cooler Day

Forecast
Temperatures

Direct to Model
Five Day Mean
Low Temps

Click Green "Latest" Model,
observe using step button

All Temps
On the Weather Page

Seven Day
Freezing Temperature Probability Model

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Safety
AVALANCHE DANGERS

Winter Backpacking
Considerations

GEAR

All Temps

Snow Status
followed by
Snow Forecasts

 

 

 

Informative
"Normal" Vs. Now

Forcasts & Reality
vs.
Averages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REALTIME
High Sierra Crestline
Reporting Stations
FALL to WINTER
2019

Compare Today
with
Snow
&
Temperatures

on
Dec 15 & 20

Dec 8 & 12

Dec 2 & 6

Nov 27

Nov 20

Nov 16

Nov 9

Nov 2

Oct 28

Oct 14

Sept 29

Sept 25

Aug 16th

 

Stations

Rubicon
7618 feet

Echo Peak
7652 feet

Carson Pass
8388 feet

Ebbetts Pass
8660 feet

Leavitt Lake
9602 feet

Marine Base
6748 feet East Flank

Deadman Creek
9250 feet

Tuolumne Meadows
8600 feet

Tioga Pass/Dana
9798 feet

Gem Pass
10750 feet

Mammoth Pass
9500 feet


South Lake Cabin
9580 feet

Big Pine Sawmill
10200 feet

Bishop Pass
11972 feet

Charlotte Lake
10398 feet

Upr Tyndall Creek
11441 feet

 

All High Sierra
Reporting Stations

 

11

CLEAR
Cold

COLD
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

 

BEST
FORECASTS

HAZARDS

 

Precipitation
General

Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts:
ALL
RAIN FORECASTS
&
MODELS

 

Direct to
Seven Day Precip
Animation

 

Precipitation
Geographic

All High Sierra
ZONE & POINT
FORECASTS

 

All High Sierra
ZONE
FORECASTS

 

Now

RADAR

SATELLITES

 

Direct
to
GRAPHICAL INTERFACE

Forecast
Winds? Weather?

NorCal Graphics

Region, SW US

 

Forecast
Temperatures

Model
Five Day Mean
Low Temps

Click Green "Latest" Model,
observe using step button

All Temps

 

Let's look at the
Big Picture
Surface Map

The Pacific Ocean

US Weather Map

All Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

12

CLOUDY
Cold

Warnings

NWS RENO
Winter Advisory

NWS SACTO
Winter Watch

NWS HANFORD
Winter Watch

 

 

 

COLD
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

Pulsing
Weak Precip

PATTERN

Pulses of Weak Precip,
beginning late last week as a series of weak Lows began passing to the North of the Sierra, while being carried around the North flank of a big High that is still building into the center of the NE Pacific, continues....

High Times
The positioning of this High is determining the movement of the Lows and their associated Fronts, and if they impact the Sierra strongly or not.

The further West the High moves (in the NE Pacific), the more tendency the storms have of sliding down its East flank and across the Sierra.

The further East the High moves, the more the Sierra (and California generally), sits under the rain-shadow on the Eastern flank of the High, as the shape and movement of the High deflects Lows around the Sierra.

In one location this shape & movement directs storms around us, while in another it points them at us.

Problems in Paradise
It's when this High stays in one position for extended periods that problems, be they wet or dry problems, quickly build up.

BEST MAP

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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TOP

13

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Cold

Light AM Sprinkles

Warnings

NWS RENO
E Sierra Wind-Lake Wind
Winter Advisory
Monday-Tuesday,
Wendesday-Thursday

NWS SACTO
Winter Advisory
Tonight thru Thursday

NWS HANFORD
Winter Watch
Wednesday-Thursday

 

COOL
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

 

 

 

 

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 13.

N Sierra: 70%
1% in 4 days.

Cen. Sierra: 75%
4% in 4 days.

S Sierra: 83%
7% in 4 days.

Ca State: 75%
3% in 4 days.

Last Measurements:
Jan 6 & 9

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PD

 

 

 

 

Station Reports
The
FIFTH

--WINTER--
Temp-Snow
Check

January 13
2020

4 PM - 4 PM

Below: Watershed Snow Water Content Charts followed by individual reporting station's Snow Depth and 24 hour high-low temps.

Last Report:
Jan 8

Next Report:
Jan 17

Tahoe Basin
Watershed

Southwest Tahoe
Trail Map with Stations

PCT-TYT-TRT
Rubicon
30.0 =0.00
(10.70) + 0.10
7618 feet
Trail Map
35 & 24 −/−

PCT-TYT-TRT
Echo Peak
41.0 =0
(16.70) + 0.30
7652 feet
Stations Map
35 & 22 −/−

American-Yuba Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Carson Pass
43.0 −1
(13.80) + 0.10
8388 feet
Trail Map
Stations Map
35 & 18 +/−

Carson-Walker
Watershed
s

PCT-TYT
Ebbetts Pass
41.0 3.0
(18.1) + 0.20
8660 feet
Trail Map
33 & 18 −/−

West of PCT
Highlands Meadow
19.74
−0.24
(10.84) +0.26
8360 feet
Trail Map
29 & 13 =/−

Top of List

EAST FLANK
Leavitt Lake
55.0 +1.0
(14.30) +0.30
9602 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
29 & 19 −/−

EAST FLANK
Marine Base
Cold Weather Training

6748 feet East Flank
Trail Map Above
FULL REPORT
VIS-CHIL-WEA-MB-
WIND
48 & 18 −/+

Mokelumne-Stanislaus Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Sonora Pass

Kennedy Meadows
RESUPPLY
Deadman Creek

23.39 +0.23
(--.--)
9250 feet,West Flank,
Trail Map
31 & 11 +/−

Tuolumne-Merced
Watersheds

SW of TYT
Horse Meadow
Error =0.4 ???
8602 feet
Trail Map
31 & −1 −/−

Top of List

Tenaya Lake
33.41 −2.42
(3.69) +0.03
8163 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
36 & 1 +/−

JMT-PCT-TYT
Tuolumne Meadows

25.74 −0.59
(3.25) +0.02
8600 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
39 & 0 +/−

Tioga Pass/Dana
ERROR +ERROR
(0.90) +0.17
9798 feet
Trail Map
33 & 12 +/+

Mammoth Mountain

Mono Lake-Owens Basin

East of PCT-JMT
Above Gem Lake
Gem Pass
(error)
10750 feet
Trail Map
temps bad

JMT-PCT Junction
Devils Postpile
25.29 −0.83
(7.69) +0.02
8004 feet
Trail Map Above
38 & 7 +/−

NE of JMT-PCT
Mammoth Pass
48.29 −0.8
(0.48) = ??
9500 feet
Trail Map
34 & 15 +/+

Top of List

JMT-PCT
E of Bear Ridge

Volcanic Knob
31.50 −0.2
(0.00) = ??
10100 feet
Trail Map
40 & 10 +/+

East Flank
South Lake Cabin

no snow sensor
(28.80) =0.0
9580 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
46 & 23 +/+

East Flank
Big Pine Sawmill

20.70 −0.6
10200 feet, East Flank
Trail Map Above
38 & 19 +/+

Kings River

Just East JMT-PCT
Bishop Pass
(bad)
(0.0) =
11972 feet
Trail Map Above
-- & -- / (earlier)

Just West JMT-PCT
Charlotte Lake
33.83 −0.79
10398 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
35 & 6 +/+
(Typically the coldest station)

Kern Watershed

JMT-PCT
Upr Tyndall Creek

29.67 −0.48
11441 feet
Trail Map
33 & 15 +/+

JMT
Crabtree Meadow

X.XX −X.XX error !
(32.84) +0.11
10,700 feet
Trail Map
37 & 13 +/+

? = questionable data

All High Sierra
Reporting Stations

More Stations, by Watersheds

Top of List

 

14

CLOUDY
AM Showers

 

Point Forecast

Walker Forecast

Great Trip

 

 

 

 

COOL
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

 

Forecast
Temperatures

Direct to Model
Five Day Mean
Low Temps

Click Green "Latest" Model,
observe using step button

 

Direct to Model
Seven Day
Freezing Temperature
Probability Model

 

All Temps
The Weather Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REALTIME
High Sierra Crestline
Reporting Stations
WINTER 2020

Fall to Winter

Compare Today
with
Snow
&
Temperatures

on
Jan 8

Jan 2

Dec 30

Dec 24

 

 

 

 

 

2019, 14th
Snow Depth & Temps

2018, 14th
Snow Depth & Temps

2017
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temp

15

CLOUDY & CLEAR
Bigger Front Coming...

Warnings

NWS RENO
Winter Storm Warning
Avalanche Watch
Thursday-Friday

NWS SACTO
Winter Storm Warning
Tonight thru Friday

NWS HANFORD
Winter Storm Warning
Thursday-Friday

 

COOL
Day
S

COLD
Nights

 

 

LAST WEEK

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TOP

 

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 15.

N Sierra: 74%
+4% in 2 days.

Cen. Sierra: 75%
=% in 2 days.

S Sierra: 80%
3% in 2 days.

Ca State: 76%
+1% in 2 days.

 

 

 

 

Informative
"Normal" Vs. Now

Forcasts & Reality
vs.
Averages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019
MANY
WARNINGS

WINTER STORM
BLIZZARD WARNING!!
CALENDAR

WINTER STORM WARNINGS

Fire Zone
FLASH FLOOD WARNING

YOS VALLEY
FLOOD WARNING

WIND WARNINGS
Up & Down Sierra

Any semblance of a High Pressure blocking ridge has been shattered...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
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This Week
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This Week
TOP

16

STRONG FRONT
Heavy Precip

Warnings

NWS RENO
Winter Storm Warning
Avalanche Watch
Thursday-Friday

NWS SACTO
Winter Storm Warning
Tonight thru Friday

NWS HANFORD
Winter Storm Warning
Thursday-Friday

 

CalTrans

 

 

Point
Forecasts

Lake Tahoe Forecast

Walker Forecast

Sonora Pass Forecast

Cherry Lake Forecast

Lee Vining Forecast

Tuolumne Meadows

Mammoth Pass

Lake Thomas Edison

Lake Isabella Forecast

Move the Map Dot
to
Customize Forecast Point

Trail Maps

 

 

 

 

PCT-JMT-TWT
2020?
Considering Access

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 16.

N Sierra: 91%
+1% in 6 days

Cen. Sierra:90%
+1% in 6 days

S Sierra: 87%
-3% in 6 days

Ca State: 90%
-1% in 6 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

17

CLEARING
Cold

 

COLD
Day
S

COLD
Nights

Forecast Links Below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 17.

N Sierra: 83%
+9% in 2 days.

Cen. Sierra: 78%
+3% in 2 days.

S Sierra: 81%
+1% in 2 days.

Ca State: 82%
+6% in 2 days.

Next Measurement:
Jan ?

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PD

 

 

 

 

Station Reports
The
SIXTH

--WINTER--
Temp-Snow
Check

January 17
2020

9 AM - 9 AM

Below: Watershed Snow Water Content Charts followed by individual reporting station's Snow Depth and 24 hour high-low temps.

Last Report:
Jan 13

Next Report:
Jan 2020-

Tahoe Basin
Watershed

Southwest Tahoe
Trail Map with Stations

PCT-TYT-TRT
Rubicon
46.0 +16.00
(12.10) +1.40
7618 feet
Trail Map
31 & 17 −/−

PCT-TYT-TRT
Echo Peak
56.0 +15
(19.00) + 2.30
7652 feet
Stations Map
31 & 17 −/−

American-Yuba Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Carson Pass
52.0 +9
(14.50) + 0.70
8388 feet
Trail Map
Stations Map
28 & 12 −/−

Carson-Walker
Watershed
s

PCT-TYT
Ebbetts Pass
56.0 +15
(19.4) + 1.30
8660 feet
Trail Map
28 & 14 −/−

West of PCT
Highlands Meadow
19.33
−0.41 ??
(11.02) +0.18 ??
8360 feet
Trail Map
26 & 9 /−

Top of List

EAST FLANK
Leavitt Lake
70.0 +15.0
(15.10) +0.80
9602 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
29 & 11 =/−

EAST FLANK
Marine Base
Cold Weather Training

6748 feet East Flank
Trail Map Above
FULL REPORT
VIS-CHIL-WEA-MB-
WIND
40 & 19 −/+

Mokelumne-Stanislaus Watersheds

PCT-TYT
Sonora Pass

Kennedy Meadows
RESUPPLY
Deadman Creek

22.35 0.04
(--.--)
9250 feet,West Flank,
Trail Map
25 & 6 /−

Tuolumne-Merced
Watersheds

SW of TYT
Horse Meadow
Error =0.4 ???
8602 feet
Trail Map
27 & −3 −/−

Top of List

Tenaya Lake
41.89 +8.48
(3.73) +0.04 ??
8163 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
30 & 0 /−

JMT-PCT-TYT
Tuolumne Meadows

36.18 +10.44
(3.25) +0.02
8600 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
29 & 2 /−

Tioga Pass/Dana
ERROR +ERROR
(0.91) +0.01 ??
9798 feet
Trail Map
23 & 2 /−

Mammoth Mountain

Mono Lake-Owens Basin

East of PCT-JMT
Above Gem Lake
Gem Pass
(error)
10750 feet
Trail Map
temps bad

JMT-PCT Junction
Devils Postpile
36.39 +11.10
(8.28) +0.59
8004 feet
Trail Map Above
33 & 5 /−

NE of JMT-PCT
Mammoth Pass
55.34 +7.05
(0.48) = ??
9500 feet
Trail Map
24 & 7 /−

Top of List

JMT-PCT
E of Bear Ridge

Volcanic Knob
44.40 +12.9
(0.00) = ??
10100 feet
Trail Map
25 & 0 /−

East Flank
South Lake Cabin

no snow sensor
(28.90) +0.1 ??
9580 feet, East Flank
Trail Map
26 & 10 −/−

East Flank
Big Pine Sawmill

25.30 +4.6
10200 feet, East Flank
Trail Map Above
23 & 8 /−

Kings River

Just East JMT-PCT
Bishop Pass
(bad)
(0.0) =
11972 feet
Trail Map Above
-- & -- / (earlier)

Just West JMT-PCT
Charlotte Lake
43.99 +10.16
10398 feet, West Flank
Trail Map
30 & 4 /−
(Typically the coldest station)

Kern Watershed

JMT-PCT
Upr Tyndall Creek

36.42 +6.75
11441 feet
Trail Map
24 & 7 /−

JMT
Crabtree Meadow

X.XX −X.XX error !
(31.94) −0.9 ??
10,700 feet
Trail Map
26 & 1 /−

? = questionable data

All High Sierra
Reporting Stations

More Stations, by Watersheds

Top of List

 

18

GLOOMY
Cloudy-Warmer

 

 

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MODIS SIERRA VIEW

All California Webcams
Cams: Layers, Select.

 

Mountain Safety
AVALANCHE DANGERS

Winter Backpacking
Considerations

 

 

SNOW INFO
All Snow Info
SNOW STATUS
&

FORECASTS

SNOW
FORECASTS
Direct
to
Two Day
SNOW FORECAST

Seven Day Forecast

ALL PRECIP TOOLS

 

THE SNOWPACK
Snow Status
GRAPHICS

Snow Status
Date-Adjustable
High Sierra Snowpack Status

 

Snow Status
NOAA-NOHRSC

The High Sierra
1-13-20

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 18.

N Sierra: 113%
+22% in 3 days!!

Cen Sierra:110%
+20% in 3 days!

S Sierra: 110%
+23% in 3 days!

Ca State: 111%
+21% in 3 days!

2018 & 2017
on the 20th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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LAST WEEK

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TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

19

GLOOMY
Cloudy-Warmer

 

LAST WEEK

NEXT WEEK

TOP

 

2019
Snow Depth & Temps

2018
Snow Depth & Temps

2017
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

20

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

GLOOMY
Cloudy-Cool

Warnings

NWS RENO
Special Statement
Passes Tuesday

NWS SACTO
Special Statement
Tonight thru Early Wed

NWS HANFORD
NADA
----

 

 

 

 

2018
Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 20.

N Sierra: 17%

Cen. Sierra: 27%

S Sierra: 21%

Ca State: 22%

Last: Jan 3, 2018

2018

 

2017
Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 20.

N Sierra: 143%

Cen. Sierra:168%

S Sierra: 197%

Ca State: 168%

2017

 

21

 

 

BEST
FORECASTS

HAZARDS

 

Precipitation
General

Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts:
ALL
RAIN FORECASTS
&
MODELS

 

Direct to
Seven Day Precip
Animation

 

Precipitation
Geographic

All High Sierra
ZONE & POINT
FORECASTS

 

All High Sierra
ZONE
FORECASTS

 

Now

RADAR

SATELLITES

 

Direct
to
GRAPHICAL INTERFACE

Forecast
Winds? Weather?

NorCal Graphics

Region, SW US

 

Forecast
Temperatures

Model
Five Day Mean
Low Temps

Click Green "Latest" Model,
observe using step button

All Temps

 

Let's look at the
Big Picture
Surface Map

The Pacific Ocean

US Weather Map

All Maps

22

 

Point
Forecasts

Lake Tahoe Forecast

Walker Forecast

Sonora Pass Forecast

Cherry Lake Forecast

Lee Vining Forecast

Tuolumne Meadows

Mammoth Pass

Lake Thomas Edison

Lake Isabella Forecast

Move the Map Dot
to
Customize Forecast Point

Trail Maps

 

 

 

MODIS SIERRA VIEW

All California Webcams
Cams: Layers, Select.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
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23

 

 

 

SNOW INFO
All Snow Info
SNOW STATUS
&

FORECASTS

SNOW
FORECASTS
Direct
to
Two Day
SNOW FORECAST

Seven Day Forecast

ALL PRECIP TOOLS

 

 

2018
Weather Notes
TWISTED SEASONS
Hottest & Driest, then Wettest Year Ever, over Three Years

Compare Years

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

CalTrans

 

 

 

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 24.

N Sierra: 111%
-2% in 6 days!!

Cen. Sierra:113%
+3% in 6 days!

S Sierra: 108%
-2% in 6 days!

Ca State: 111%
No change in 6 days!

2019

25

 

 

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TOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

26

LAST WEEK

NEXT MONTH

TOP

 

2019
Snow Depth & Temps

2018
Snow Depth & Temps

2017
Snow Depth,
24 hour high & low temps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018
Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 26.
(Change since Jan 20.)

N Sierra: 27%
(+10%)

Cen. Sierra: 35%
(+7%)

S Sierra: 24%
(+3%)

Ca State: 30%
(+8%)

2018

 

 

27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week
TOP

28

 

 

 

 

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 28.

N Sierra: 106%
-5% in 4 days!!

Cen. Sierra:106%
-7% in 4 days!

S Sierra: 101%
-7% in 4 days!

Ca State: 105%
-6% in 4 days!

Last Reading
January 24

Statewide Summary of Snow Water Content PDF

2019

 

2017, 28th
Clear Blue Skies,
High off CA Coast

 

 

2016
Sierra approaching season-normal snow and precip for first time in years.

 

29

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

 

31

 

 

 

!!

SEASON-NORMAL SNOW

2019
Current Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 31.

N Sierra: 100%
-6% in 3 days!!

Cen. Sierra:102%
-4% in 3 days!

S Sierra: 97%
-4% in 3 days!

Ca State: 100%
-5% in 3 days!

2019

2018
Snowpack:
Percent of Average for
January 31.
(Change since Jan 26.)

N Sierra: 29%
(+2%)

Cen. Sierra: 35%
(+0%)

S Sierra: 21%
(-3%)

Ca State: 30%
(+0%)

2018

1 FEBRUARY 2020

 

 

February 2015
Driest Year in History

February 2016
An Average Year

February 2017
Wettest Year in History

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST WEEK

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Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

2 FEBRUARY 2020

.

LAST WEEK

NEXT MONTH

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3 FEBRUARY 2020

 

4 FEBRUARY 2020

 


5 FEBRUARY 2020 6 FEBRUARY 2020

7 FEBRUARY 2020

 

 

This Week
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8 FEBRUARY 2020

Top

 

End of Last Month
December 2019

 

2020

January       February       March       April       May       June

July     August     September       October       November       December

 

2014 Calendar          2015 Calendar

2016 Calendar          2017 Calendar

2018 Calendar

2019 Calendar

 

2020 NOTES

What's Up, 2020?!

 

 

2018
A CRITICAL YEAR

SUSPENDED BETWEEN GROWING POPULATION AND DIMINISHING GLOBAL FERTILITY

 

End of Last Month
December 2018

Next Month
February
2018

 

2017 NOTES

Early Jan
So far we've had a typically strange Winter, as we've increasingly had for the past couple of decades. The Fall and early Winter storm activity we've seen so far this season have all come out of the Southwest and West, rather than the typical-traditional Winter storm track out of the Northwest. These storms have been sufficient to put a reasonable, if low, percentage of normal snowpack onto the High Sierra for this time of year. My concern is the reasons why. See my note of December 29, 2016. So far, the conditions into early Jan:

Weak, warm Arctic.

High temps, low differential between lowest Lows and highest Highs. Little temp difference ahead/behind front lines.

Rebirth of the Great High?

Mid Month
Terrific transport of warm tropical moisture out of Southwest followed up by cold flow out of West; still nothing out the Northwest. What a world!

 

History:
2016 NOTE
"2016’s El Nino weather is forming up for a reasonable snowpack for the first time in five years. 2014 and 2015 were the earliest openings of the high trails I remember. The year before was one of the latest. Extremes have become the new normal. This year's El Nino is setting up for a high probability of extremes rain and snow hitting the West Coast of the US. Where? is the question. The El Nino tropical flows have been transported North around California by a persistent ridge of High Pressure.

Let's see how that sucker stands up, now that heavy tropical activity has begun North of Indonesia. (And then stood down) "

2017
Ironic Note: The huge El Nino of 2016, which indicates heavy precip, delivered a below-average snowpack to the Sierra last year. This year's La Nina, which typically indicates a cold, dry Winter, is delivering a huge snowpack.

NOTE
JANUARY 2017 ASSESMENT
January 20
Wow. Finally, a Winter. A real Winter. Not out of the typical direction we would expect Winter to come from (the NW), but at this point, who's quibbling? Not I. The real interesting part I take note of was the rain across the Sierra Crest on the 6th and 7th. Well, that's what we get when our Winter is coming out the Southwest, rather than the Northwest.

These same warm tropical flows during Winter have also been pushing increasing mid-Winter floods and rain turning into vast ice storms into the mid-West and even the South for years and years now, regardless of if these storms cross or go around the Sierra on their way East.
This change in the direction and character of our Winter Weather (from the Southwest, rather than the Northwest; being tropically warmer, wetter, and passing around, rather than across the Sierra) has not yet brought its worse effects to the Sierrra. Well, besides a deepening and enduring drought. Despite this interesting tropical respite we are experiencing, actually bringing tropical storms from Dec 2016 through today (Jan 20, 2017), "breaking" the drought we've been experiencing for the past six years.

Besides rain falling into the Sierra during mid-Winter not being "banked" as snow for the subsequent Summer, the fact we are watching rain falling on the Crest in January offers a bad omen for the storms of Spring. The Arctic has remained warm so far this Winter. This has weakened the N Jet Stream through the Gulf Alaska. Stationary Lows in Gulf Alaska have pulled significant tropical moisture Northeast into the Sierra.
We will see some amazing thaw events If that trend driving our Winter so far, of stationary or wandering Lows in Gulf Alaska sucking warm tropical storms out of the Southwest, continues into the Spring Thaw.

We could very well see the same transport mechanism of warm and dense precip out of the sub-tropics, that is currently driving snow accumulation in the Sierra, strip the High Sierra of snow as quickly as it was laid down. These warm conditions and storm transport out of the Southwest opens enduring prospects for both current and late-season rain on a deep, warm snowpack, then covered by more snow. These conditions in the sky and on the ground bring certain short and long term hazard effects into play.

Danger-Danger
In the short term we are faced with a range of very bad layering conditions in the snowpack. Most storms require a few days to fall down the mountain (avalanches) and for the snow itself to compress for easier travel. There are always danger zones left behind we must identify.
What we saw with the current deposition pattern of snow, rain, snow, and rain across the Sierra Crest will leave many areas where faults in the snowpack are preserved, far beyond the typical times it takes for gravity to settle snow. Areas that would typically be trustworthy will be untrustworthy.

These rain and snow layers will leave enduring zones of dangerous avalanche conditions that will remain until they are triggered or melt. Many of these danger zones will be beyond our ability to observe, and within zones we would normally consider safe by good common sense observations. Beware! That is why we observe so carefully. Our observations of weather resources, such as the real time reporting stations above, have given us temp and snow depth reports that tell us that rain has fallen on this year's snowpack. That tells us the snowpack contains significant hidden faults and threats. Beware!

Our technical reports give us valuable safety information if we intrepret them correctly.

In the longer trem of the enduring drought this rain falling on the Sierra Crest that we saw during the rains of the 6th and 7th fortells the potential for a seriously weak snowpack, both through the threat of Winter rains triggering a serious and rapid diminishment of the Winter snowpack, or even worse, triggering a precipitious thaw during Spring.

What I am most seriously concerned with at this time is the mechanism driving these powerful tropical flows setting up any time, but most especially as the Spring Thaw begins, when rising temps and river flows can threaten some serious Spring flooding. The whole San J Valley has been under 40 feet of water before, and it will happen again. This year is still "in the running" for epic outcomes.

Great Flood of 1862, Wiki

BOTTOM LINES
Drought-wise? Though we have a hell of a lot of snow and water now (finally), we certainly cannot count ourselves out of this drought until we've actually captured it. Our current snowpack now is only as good as it will be on the first day of Spring, and that's only beneficial if we can catch these Spring flows for Summertime use. That's the trick, and the prospect of warm rains makes that task even trickier.

Rain falling across the Sierra Crest during "Winter" is an instant and serious diminishment of "banked" snow providing water through Spring. Warm rains falling on the Crest during mid-Winter are also an "Omen," warning us of the much higer potential for warm rains much later during Spring, when the prospect of rain falling on a warm, wet, heavy snowpack of Spring gives pause to water managers (and all sensible folk) all over California.

Rains falling during the Spring Thaw creates a powerfull flow requiring water managers let most of the surging power of the Spring Thaw, and the water it is traveling through, flow straight through their system into the sea. Trying to contain/retain this type of power will bust all the dams.

 

The 22nd
Traditional Storm Track trying to form up, meaning a North Jet Stream across the Gulf Alaska from the Aleutians to the NW corner of the USA. Much cooler Storms/front lines now coming out of West and NW, rather than the warm storms out of the Southwest we experienced through December into mid January. Will this traditional cooling trend strengthen and deepen, or break back down into warm storms out of the Southwest?

The 24th
This is the third clear day during the Series of Storms that have struck since January 1. That adds up to twenty-one days of one degree or another of precipitation during the month of Janurary, so far. Even the days between the front lines brought rain, up to the 24th. Thus a huge snowpack sits on the Sierra, and much of the rest of California's soils are saturated, and our rivers, lakes, and creeks have risen to full, if not flood stages.
The environmental balance has shifted from deep Drought to fear of Flood and Slide. These radical storms and these radical changes in seasonal trends are signs of an unstable system flopping between extremes. I can't wait to see what happens next... Will the East Pac Ridge build in? Will tropical storms continue to deluge us from the Southwest? Will a normal storm track open up out of the Northwest? Will all the above happen in some strange "weather jumble?" We will see.

COLD WARNING

The 31st
High built in off Coast of California from 24th to the 29th, and is presently breaking down. It's role deflecting the flow of the Tropical Transport Mechanism to our North is now shifting to directing it towards us.

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Permits
Yosemite National Park and Desolation Wilderness accept reservations six months in advance for Summer backpacking dates.

June 2016 reservations are available in January, July in February, and so on.

Yosemite Permits

Desolation Wilderness

Hoover Wilderness

 

 


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February
2019

BACKGROUND
The trajectory of the cold, rain, and snows of January provide both excellent backpacking experiences and establish the terms, a baseline for this year’s transition into Spring Conditions.

Regular storm activity laid atop a deep pack of Winter snows wrapped in cold temps indicate a long Winter into Spring transition.

Light snows and irregular storm activity sprinkled on a thin snow pack under high temperatures indicates an early and rapid transitions into Spring and Summer conditions.

Tahoe to Whitney

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Alex Wierbinski

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Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney

Your guide to backpacking the Sierra Crest, including the Tahoe to Yosemite, Pacific Crest, and John Muir Trails

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