big May storms forecast

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue May 14, 2019 8:39 am

NWS forecast this morning put a winter storm watch over the entire Sierra; possible snow to 5000 feet in southern Sierra, down to 6000 feet northern Sierra. Locally up to 20 inches, most Thursday - Sunday. Some PCT hikers are now heading out of Kennedy Meadows and those who bumped north may also be impacted. Not a lot of agreement among the various models, so a bit uncertain at this time, but seems to be trending towards more rain/snow than originally thought.

I had planned on a trip to Yosemite but plans have been on hold due to a nasty cold I caught on our trip to the southwest. Looks like staying home this week a good idea anyway!








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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by SSSdave » Tue May 14, 2019 9:32 am

If PCT hikers are really doing so, they could be heading into one of the most dangerous May winter-like Sierra storms ever. Satellite image this morning is quite impressive. The wise strategy regardless of losing vertical and mileage will be either hike out or drop down below 7k and wait this week out. Unfortunately many PCT hikers are not winter snow skiing enthusiast so have little experience moving through deep fresh snow and may instead expect it to be like dense compacted freeze thaw cycle spring snow. It ain't!

Instead as skiers know, fresh snow in boots breaking trail can be ridiculously strenuous walking through with each step. And one won't see the trail or ground surface so will end up moving over all manner of below uneven boulders, fallen wood, shallow water pools, weak snow bridges across buried small streams, and slippery steep sided sloping frozen hard freeze thaw piles of snow that form in shadows below trees. More dangerous in thin areas is where snow covers brush or small talus. Poking through into collapsed, hollow below, leaf top manzanita or whitethorn one might get stuck beneath the snow level, impaled, unable to climb out. Of course a couple feet of loose new snow will be avalanche hazards below any steep slopes.

Hanford NWS "
Current guidance is forecasting up to 2 feet of snow above
5000 feet and isolated amounts of up to 3 feet above 8000 feet
with the event.

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by rightstar76 » Wed May 15, 2019 6:35 am

Just looked at the morning forecast. Winter storm watch now upgraded to a warning. Yikes.

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu May 16, 2019 8:07 am

Snow on I-80 and 50 this morning as well as a bit of wet stuff down at lake level in Tahoe. What is really serious for those who are still out in the mountains is the forecast temperatures for the next 3-4 days; into the teens with highs well below freezing at 11,000 feet; hovering around freezing as low as 9000 feet. That, after a dumping of wet snow. Those are dangerous conditions.

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by TahoeJeff » Thu May 16, 2019 9:40 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:07 am
a bit of wet stuff down at lake level in Tahoe
Yep, about an inch on my truck this A.M.
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 8:07 am
Those are dangerous conditions.
Yep again, and it's supposed to snow again tonight, and Sunday...
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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by MountainMinstrel » Sat May 18, 2019 6:43 pm

Snowing in Cold Springs (5300 ft on the 108) at this moment with continued snow for tomorrow and Tuesday.
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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by Obsidianpumice » Sat May 18, 2019 8:00 pm

I have an early July trip planned to ascend Mt Darwin. Crampons and an ice axe were obvious to bring along, but with this last minute snowfall I dont know if I will need to haul snowshoes too!

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun May 19, 2019 8:20 am

I have rarely found snowshoes useful in later season snow of big snow years. The stuff that has fallen recently will likely melt off. July is still 6 weeks off. I definitely would recommend knee-high gaiters and leather boots or low hikers with a deep tread.

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by paul » Sun May 19, 2019 9:21 am

I agree, snowshoes will not likely be useful in July. The snow will be thoroughly consolidated by then. I recommend getting an early start every day, you'll cover ground much more easily when the snow is frozen from the night before; it will soften up as the day progresses

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Re: big May storms forecast

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun May 19, 2019 7:06 pm

I have been looking at the Sentinel web-cam in Yosemite. Here are two very beautiful views.
sentinel.jpg
sentinel2.jpg
Just as much as the snow, the forecasts for elevations above 9000 feet have been lows down to 10F and daily highs below freezing, only in the low 20's at 11,000 feet. With a 20-30 mph wind too! And this is to go on for 3-4 more days. The snows that are falling below 7000 feet are melting during the day.
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