Status of the High Sierra, October 16, 2018

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 19 October 2018

Status of the Season

October 16, 2018

Early October storm (calendar) brought more optimism than precipitation, followed by generally moderate temps (not too hot, not too cool) which moderately suppressed fire potential, despite the lack of further rain, until mid-month Red Flag warnings have come and gone without yet another fire disaster.

The threat is now rising (on the 16th) that the Highs over Colorado & Mid-west (maps) could consolidate over the Four Corners region, which is the mechanism that drives the, "Diablo," & "Santa Ana," winds that traditionally bring fierce Fall fires to California, the Sierra, and the West, generally.

Conditions are currently ideal for Fall Backpacking in the High Sierra, if certain precautions are taken. First, we've got to understand that the temps can plunge. Proper insulation for a worse-case weather scenario is vital. Second, we understand that a freak storm can blow in, bringing Winter conditions to the High Sierra early, if the storm comes out of the cooling Northwest. A freak storm out of the tropical seas to our Southwest can scour the Crest with lightening and slushy downpours, while pounding the flanks with tropical downpours.

Current Surface Lows & 7-Day Freezing Temps

Having the proper gear to deal with these eventualities (hike long enough, and the freak storms & weather will find you) is vital.

My point is that even when Nature is showing us the most benign conditions of a gentle Fall season at the start of our hike, these mosquito-free days of crisp conditions and striking contrasts can rapidly transform into dangerous conditions for the unprepared when the late-season weather gets fired-up.

Despite the fact that NOAA is talking-up the odds of an El Nino, of a buildup of hot water in the Central-West Pacific sliding East into an El Nino configuration, I don't see it happening... well, I put the odds of an El Nino building this Winter at less than half of where NOAA is setting them.

Heck, I still see the cold water churn of the La Nina operating...

El Nino-La Nina Graphic Tool

All El Nino-La Nina Tools & Information

2015 El Nino Warning


Let's see what the Climate Prediction Center has to say about the upcoming Winter.



Comments? What do you think is going on?





 October 14





Temp Drop in 2018

October 9....


Temp Drop in 2017: Sept 15

2016: Oct 31

2015: Oct 14

2014: Oct 2

"Temp Drop" day is point Fall gear elements must be included in pack, after which point significant chances of Fall-Winter weather "incidents" exist which must be accounted for with the proper levels of gear, skills, & fitness.



 Standing Hazards, Diminishing during Late September, 2018













October Trail News






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Health and Fitness

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Status, High Sierra, October 16, 2018


Originally Published
2018-10-16 12:08:52

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