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Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:24 pm

SpazzyMcgee wrote:http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/forecasts/display_special_product_versions.php?sid=mtr&pil=afd

:::DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO HAS
HAD ITS DRIEST JANUARY-MARCH PERIOD ON RECORD. FROM JANUARY 1
THROUGH MARCH 31...DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO ACCUMULATED 2.31 INCHES
OF PRECIPITATION...ONLY 19 PERCENT OF THE AVERAGE. AVERAGE
RAINFALL IN SAN FRANCISCO FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THE YEAR
IS 12.22 INCHES. THIS WAS THE DRIEST JANUARY-MARCH PERIOD IN SAN
FRANCISCO SINCE RAINFALL RECORDS BEGAN IN THE CITY BACK IN 1850.
THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 3.20 INCHES SET ALL THE WAY BACK IN 1851.

That is interesting, and this dry spell is historic. Perhaps not as bad as those 800 years ago that caused lakes in the Sierra to dry up with trees growing on their former bottoms, but significant all the same. There was a noticeable lack of lows in the west this winter, at least in the SW, and hardly any of the typical lows that track down the coast and come in over the Sierra or southern California. Arizona actually did well, getting a large amount of rain in late January from an odd low with sub-tropical moisture which tracked in from well southwest of the Baja. Almost like a late summer hurricane sometimes can.
...
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:09 am

Sections of the Whitney MR showing just below Iceberg:

Image

EF/EB look pretty clear, and you can stay on rock all the way up into the chute if you'd like:

Image

Last few hundred feet of the chute are the usual scree:

Image

Final 400 is a practice in the Sierra Sharpening Method for 'pons:

Image

And the view just made me sad in the sense that I was hoping for another Memorial Day ski tour...

Image

<sigh>

Pack is a bit better further north, but we hiked clear to the Convict Creek crossing a few weeks ago before getting on consistent snow.

<sigh>
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:41 am

Odd, this snow survey conducted by both UCSB and MMSA Ski Patrol tells a far different tale. No where near what LADWP states. Let us remember that LADWP can and does raise it's rates when claims such as theirs are made.

Image
http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/SWEChart.png

Oh, nothing historic. Look at the table below and one will find that 16 years out of the last 44 had less snowfall than this one:

http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/MMSA- ... urrent.htm
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby KathyW » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:36 pm

It looks like two different types of measurements.

Snow water content/equivalent at a certain date is not the same as the number of inches that have fallen during a season.

Mammoth is also just one location; so not a complete picture.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:15 pm

KathyW wrote:It looks like two different types of measurements.

Snow water content/equivalent at a certain date is not the same as the number of inches that have fallen during a season.

Mammoth is also just one location; so not a complete picture.



Regardless, this seasons totals for the Sierra and not Statewide, faired better than they did last year.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES.201304
Tulare Lake 3 37 9.9" 36% 36%
North Lahontan 4 14 13.3" 45% 45%
South Lahontan 2 19 12.1" 49% 49%

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES.201204

Tulare Lake 4 42 9.6" 39% 39%
North Lahontan 4 17 15.0" 48% 48%
South Lahontan 2 19 8.6" 38% 38%



Many have been "spoiled" by the record snowfall season of 2010/2011. This record event was close to twice the avg.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/COURSES.201104
Tulare Lake 4 45 42.4" 183% 183%
North Lahontan 4 17 44.1" 173% 173%
South Lahontan 2 19 35.5" 172% 172%

Again, if one researches how often this low tally has occurred throughout the Sierra, one will find that this has occurred almost 1/3rd of the collected snow survey years.

The Sierra tally does not include the Coastal Range and other locals either, which the Statewide total record does.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby asmrz » Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:44 pm

Me think that the various statistical models are just that. What is of interest to climbers and hikers are not models and tests at various places, but visual observations. Look at Moose Tracks photos, they show what is really there. Whitney east side looks to be in late June mode. There is much less snow this year in the Sierra, than last. The lack of snow fall for at least the last two or three winters is starting to show everywhere.

Regarding Mammoth Mountain measurements, as early as February, there were bare spots visible on the upper mountain (visual observations), while their marketing department was telling everyone how great and deep the snow cover was. Marketing is funny thing, at times the reality is totally different..

So be prepared for extremely early spring/summer hiking and climbing season in the Sierra this year, starting in late April or early May.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:08 pm

asmrz wrote:Me think that the various statistical models are just that. What is of interest to climbers and hikers are not models and tests at various places, but visual observations. Look at Moose Tracks photos, they show what is really there. Whitney east side looks to be in late June mode. There is much less snow this year in the Sierra, than last. The lack of snow fall for at least the last two or three winters is starting to show everywhere.

Regarding Mammoth Mountain measurements, as early as February, there were bare spots visible on the upper mountain (visual observations), while their marketing department was telling everyone how great and deep the snow cover was. Marketing is funny thing, at times the reality is totally different..

So be prepared for extremely early spring/summer hiking and climbing season in the Sierra this year, starting in late April or early May.



Thanks, Alois. Got the chance to play w/ Deb on a number of days up on The Mountain when they were claiming "knee-deep" pockets. Now, had a great time, found fun snow, but maybe the marketing department tracked out what they were claiming themselves.

While the conditions on Whitney tell one story, I had a buddy ski Ritter and Banner on gorgeous conditions last weekend. He said the river crossing was thin and would be gone soon. Skiing out under the thundersnow helped them quite a bit.

Higher elevations (except windblow) seem to still have a good base (from two weekends ago):

Image
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:13 pm

I recall that the Spring's of 87-91 were far worse than these last two. Did lots of BC climbing in May/June of those years when access to those areas was far easier than the last two years.

Like I stated, this is NOT an uncommon scenario for many that have been frolicing them Sierra for several decades.

You Alois should indeed recall those Dry Springs of 87-91.

Hell, even Tioga Pass opened up in April and early May them dry years and I was climbing in the "Meadows" in early May them years.

http://www.monobasinresearch.org/data/tiogapass.htm
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby SpazzyMcgee » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:49 pm

Kahuna wrote:I recall that the Spring's of 87-91 were far worse than these last two. Did lots of BC climbing in May/June of those years when access to those areas was far easier than the last two years.

Like I stated, this is NOT an uncommon scenario for many that have been frolicing them Sierra for several decades.


I certainly don't think the sky is falling, but one cannot deny the unusually very dry Jan-March period we have had.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:00 pm

...but maybe the marketing department tracked out what they were claiming themselves.


The snow sesame collectiobn sensors up on the "Hill" are owned and co-operated by UCSB.

MMSA Ski Patrol utilizes them for historical monitoring.

Also, LADWPs Snow Survey for Mammoth Pass indicates 82% of normal. Pretty much in line with the UCSB monitors on the Hill. That is 29% greater than this time last year.

https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp ... 8m9us1ew_4
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:15 pm

The latest from the Pilewski's back in Tuolumne:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/Update-fo ... 3-2013.htm
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Vitaliy M. » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:17 pm

The Chief (Kahuna) just likes to argue over nothing. Nothing new here. It is obvious that there is not much snow in Sierra this year. Last year was also a light one. No one is saying it does not ever happen. It isn't the first time. But supposedly Jan and Feb had the least precip since they begun to measure it(?).

Hope they open Tioga Pass sooner than later, trust me! :)
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:00 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote: But supposedly Jan and Feb had the least precip since they begun to measure it(?).


Of course you have a reference to back this up... right?





The current dry spell is no where near that of the 1987 nor the 1977 marks where both had less than 2.1-5.2" avg each from Jan to Mar. This year is at 6.8" QPF avg for the period.

https://www.ladwp.com/ladwp/faces/ladwp ... 159jrias_4




Tioga Pass most likely will not open up till Mem Day. The "Sequister" took care of that.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:23 pm

The Bay Area has had the least amount of rain in Jan/Feb and Jan-Mar since record keeping began (since 1850 I think).

That's what the news here keeps reporting. How closely that translates to the Sierra is up for debate.
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Re: Sierra Snowpack 50% Below Average

Postby Kahuna » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:11 pm

Thanks Chad.

That makes sense now.

What is occurring in the Bay Area does not correlate at all to what the current Sierra precip amounts for that same time period are.
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