Sierra Avalanche Center, Mammoth Mountain, Brian Watt discussed on Morning Edition


Twenty two. It's morning edition on weedy. I'm Brian watt. It's been a big year for snow in the Sierra Nevada range records have fallen along with the snow. We've seen reports of fifty feet of snow or more on mammoth mountain in the central Sierra and in the resort town of mammoth lakes. Some people have literally had to tunnel out of their homes. This is the time of year when the snowpack is typically at its peak and tomorrow when surveyors do their monthly manual survey. They're likely to find the snow pack at about one hundred sixty percent of the average we've called up Ben had an atmospheric scientist at the western regional climate center in Reno and Ben in a word or two. How would you describe the snowfall this year, absolutely fantastic and not just for skiers? But also for anyone who uses water in California. All right. So the water supply loves it. But what is it about the storms that have come in this year that has created so much snow and so much water in the snow? Well, we've had very consistent Southall and the storms that have been bringing the snowfall have been somewhat colder than average. And so we've seen snow levels bringing snow down to one or two thousand feet quite frequently. We've even seen snow in the city itself, San Francisco, and the foothills there close to sea level, which is pretty novel and rare, and so we accumulated a lot of snow at the higher elevations at the middle of Asians and even down in the foothills, and we have a lot of water stored in our snowpack right now. All right. So do we ever reach a point where we have too much snow is definitely possible because we have a very nice state of our reservoir water levels right now or at about eighty percent full and running about one hundred and eleven percent of the historic average for the date, and we have a lot of snow stored in our natural snowpack reservoir. So if we have a warmer than average spring or has some very warm spring storms that accelerate the melting we might see some of that water coming down out of the nouns a little bit early, and that could create some challenges for the water management community because our reservoirs are so full right now and those in some of these communities that have been receiving heavy snowfall like Manasota springs and Myers people who've been tirelessly shoveling out of their homes or businesses we've seen overuse injuries from too much traveling. I think the chiropractors are going to be very busy this spring and summer. Oh my goodness. All right. Well, I'm sorry to hear that. Everyone shovel safely shovel safely. Yes. Stretch then hatchet of the western regional climate center in Reno. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for having me on a much more serious note. All the snow we've received this year has also meant a heavy year across the west for avalanches. Especially in the rocky mountains avalanches there have triggered evacuation orders in almost twenty five people have died. That's a lot of people. But it's pretty typical for a heavy snow year. Unfortunately, science editor Daniel Benton has been looking into the state of avalanche science. It's an old problem. But the full solution still eludes us she started with a call to the Sierra avalanche center. Good morning national fan with Alan's forecast for when if you're heading into the Lake Tahoe back country during winter and early spring. This year avalanche center is a good place to start the day. Bottom line, considered changeable exist all of Asians to win. Slab storm slab and loose. Wet avalanche problems. Human triggered avalanches likely with natural triggered avalanches possible. Recording forecast offer about five minutes of info on conditions and where it's riskiest. Everything's available online too. It's the product of lead forecaster Brandon Schwartz and his colleagues who start studying the snow wants the first ball of the season hits the ground, and we tracked snowfall we look at how those snow crystals change on the ground. And as they changed throughout winter each snowfall creates new layers in the snow pack a relatively weak layer of snow under a stronger one on a slope of thirty degrees or more dots. The recipe for an avalanche. Though, we're looking to see what it's gonna take.

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