Planning for the Weather

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
User avatar
joshuacourter
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:39 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by joshuacourter » Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:59 pm

I primarily use these two methods when I go backpacking/camping. I find them reliable.

1. Weather.gov. Simply put in the nearest down name or zip code in the upper left where it says "Local forecast by "City, St" or ZIP code. Click the "Go" button and the page will refresh to that town. Here is where you can customize it to your exact location. See the Google Map on the right? Use your mouse to move the map to where you will actually be hiking. Then click on that spot. The page will refresh and you will get a customized weather forecast up to 10 days for that location. I tend to click on different elevations to get an idea of what to expect. I also check this the night before or morning of my trip to get the latest.

2. Amatuer Radio. I carry a radio for live weather reports. I have been down in the Kern Canyon and received the NOAA weather broadcasts. If you are not familiar with these frequencies, they broadcast 24/7. Those frequencies can be found HERE. You can buy an inexpensive radio, like a Baofeng, at Amazon.com. Additionally you can tune into National Park and Forest Service frequencies to monitor any wildfire traffic (assuming they are using their local radio system). You do not need to have a license to listen. Only to transmit if you didn't know.

Anyway, those are the two things I use for weather planning besides watching the sky ;)








User avatar
CharlieW
Topix Acquainted
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:32 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by CharlieW » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:19 am

I'm not sure if it is widely known, but anyone with a DeLorme can get up-to-date weather forecasts, either for present location or specific coordinates or a mountain peak. I just made a thread on this if anyone is interested:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=13110

To answer the OP, #1 a long time ago. #2 or 3 more recently. Now #3 plus frequent reports via DeLorme.
Last edited by CharlieW on Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

freestone
Topix Expert
Posts: 873
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 9:42 pm
Experience: Level 1 Hiker
Location: Santa Barbara
Contact:

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by freestone » Mon Jul 13, 2015 3:25 pm

There is currently an outbreak of tropical storm activity in the Eastern Pacific. One model has hurricane Dolores making landfall on the Santa Barbara coast then drifting it's moisture into the southern Sierra around the 20th of July. The other model has her drifting harmlessly off to the west.

Bulls-eye is on the South Coast. Epic surf a good possiblity, then a drenching:
https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/wxmap_cgi/cg ... 18&set=All

No threat:
https://www.fnmoc.navy.mil/wxmap_cgi/cg ... 12&set=All
Short cuts make long delays. JRR Tolkien

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 3060
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by SSSdave » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:37 am

I noticed Howard has apparently updated his weather links page. It is by far the most complete listing of weather links for the Sierra region. Also weather links to all manner of planetary weather stuff.

http://mammothweather.com/howards-favor ... ite-links/

One nice listing is all the High Sierra Remote Weather Sensors CDEC links.
Mammoth Pass
Agnew Pass Big
Pine Creek
Bishop Pass
Blackcap Basin
Cottonwood Creek (Owens Valley)
Cottonwood Lakes
Crabtree Meadow
Dana Meadows
Ebbetts Pass
Gem Pass
Monitor Pass
Oak Creek (Owens Valley)
Owens Valley
Rock Creek
Sawmill
Sonora Pass
South Lake
Tunnel Meadow
Tuolumne Meadows (N.P.S.)
Tuolumne Meadows
Upper Tyndall Creek
Virginia Lakes Ridge
Volcanic Knob
Yosemite Valley -
Last edited by SSSdave on Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Shawn
Topix Expert
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by Shawn » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:33 pm

Hey - thanks Dave for the info. I haven't looked at the CDEC stuff for a long time; some really nice improvements to the map of all the (very) many remote stations make it much easier to navigate.

I looked at the WX data for Farewell Gap, as shown below. What do you imagine is the data for the Snow WC indicating when it goes from a positive reading at night to a negative reading by day and back to a positive value again?

Date / Time SNOW WC
10/19/2015 01:00 19.60
10/19/2015 02:00 19.46
10/19/2015 03:00 25.04
10/19/2015 04:00 15.47
10/19/2015 05:00 17.72
10/19/2015 06:00 -3.72
10/19/2015 07:00 -6.54
10/19/2015 08:00 -2.73
10/19/2015 09:00 -6.55
10/19/2015 10:00 0.70
10/19/2015 11:00 10.25
10/19/2015 12:00 11.62

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 3060
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by SSSdave » Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:44 pm

I'd guess one issue with some sensors is mechanisms getting stuck from freezing water and riming. Remote sites also use solar cells and batteries that when temperatures drop low at night will have less output so might give odd readings.

Shawn
Topix Expert
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by Shawn » Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:48 pm

Ah, that must be it; thanks.

User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 11013
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by maverick » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:19 pm

Need a refresher course on understanding/reading mountain weather, this is a good one:

http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/classroom/prac ... untain.php
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

User avatar
longri
Topix Fanatic
Posts: 1082
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:13 am
Experience: N/A

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by longri » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:11 pm

maverick wrote:Need a refresher course on understanding/reading mountain weather, this is a good one:

http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/classroom/prac ... untain.php
When I click that link I get redirected to here:

http://www.weather.gov/afc/

Looks like NOAA took it down sometime in the last year.
It's on archive.org from 2016:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160203045 ... untain.php

At least most of it is. You might have to look back further in time for one or more of the chapters.
Maybe someone has archived it elsewhere on the web?

How good is it? I frequently get field forecasts wrong, sometimes very wrong.

User avatar
JosiahSpurr
Topix Regular
Posts: 105
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:39 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Topanga, CA
Contact:

Re: Planning for the Weather

Post by JosiahSpurr » Fri Nov 06, 2020 9:21 pm

joshuacourter wrote:
Mon Oct 06, 2014 3:59 pm
I primarily use these two methods when I go backpacking/camping. I find them reliable.

1. Weather.gov. Simply put in the nearest down name or zip code in the upper left where it says "Local forecast by "City, St" or ZIP code. Click the "Go" button and the page will refresh to that town. Here is where you can customize it to your exact location. See the Google Map on the right? Use your mouse to move the map to where you will actually be hiking. Then click on that spot. The page will refresh and you will get a customized weather forecast up to 10 days for that location. I tend to click on different elevations to get an idea of what to expect. I also check this the night before or morning of my trip to get the latest.

2. Amatuer Radio. [...]
Yes, I use number #1 all the time.

Yet, the snow accumulations always seem too low. For example, this is the prediction for "9 Miles WSW Lone Pine CA
36.54°N 118.22°W (Elev. 9501 ft)":

Tonight ... Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Saturday ... New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Saturday Night ... New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Sunday ... New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Sunday Night ... New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

if you add up all those "possibles," the total accumulation for this storm according to Weather.gov is.... three inches. It often talks in terms of "half an inch" and "an inch," but at that elevation, a lot more could fall.

So, I realized that it's important to get an overview of the weather system that's causing the prediction. They put the beginning of the overview at the top of the NWS home page. Then, you have to click "More>" to read the whole thing. Right now, it says:

"..... as a developing strong storm over the Rockies will produce heavy snow. Heavy snow will develop across the Northern Rockies Saturday, then intensify as it spreads across Northern Montana Saturday night through Sunday as strong low pressure tracks northeast over the Northern High Plains. There is high forecast confidence of 12 inches of snow Saturday night through Sunday night for eastern slopes of Montana Rockies and across North-Central Montana, including Great Falls and Glasgow. Local amounts in excess of 18 inches are likely. "

That one was written by "Ziegenfelder." That's helpful, because, now I know that the dumping of the most snow is going to happen far, far away from the Eastern Sierra in the Mt. Whitney area. If the high-level discussion mentions that the storm is going to go over California or Sierra Nevada, then I need to be more careful.

*

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bishop_Bob and 3 guests