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Winter 2019 Status: Tropical Transport & Storms of February 13

Winter 2019 Status: Tropical Transport & Storms of February 13

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 13 February 2019

STATUS of the WINTER of 2019


NASA MODIS reveals the Instantly Intense Winter of 2019
NASA MODIS reveals the Instantly Intense Winter of 2019, Credit NASA, MODIS team.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) acquired these natural-color images of the difference a year makes; the Sierra Nevada on February 15, 2018, and February 15 of 2019. Credit NASA, MODIS team.

Also check-out MODIS, Feb 13, 2015

Scroll the Year on MODIS above to review Today's Sierra,
especially the 11th.


Tropical Transport & Storms of February 13

A Strong Start to Sierra Snowpack,
NASA Earth Observatory, February 13, 2019.


“After a dry spell in December, a succession of storms in January and February 2019 blanketed the range.”

On the Calendar

Trail Guide High Sierra Calendar: December, 2018

December started well, with 108% on the 5th, down to 71% on the 31st.

Remember. The Second Fire Season of the uber-dry Summer & Fall of 2018 only ended on Nov 21st, with the first substantial storm of the Fall season finally extinguishing the Camp Fire. That was a long, smokey Summer.

Heavy Depositions
"In many areas, snow reports have been coming in feet not inches. Back-to-back storms in February dropped eleven feet (3 meters) of snow on Mammoth Mountain—enough to make it the snowiest ski resort in the United States. More than 37 feet (11 meters) have fallen at the resort since the beginning of winter, and meteorologists are forecasting that yet another storm will bring snow this week."

Feburary 4 to 5: Heavy Snow Deposition

"Statistics complied by the California Department of Water Resources indicate that the mountain range had a snow water equivalent that was 130 percent of normal as of February 11, 2019. It was just 44 percent of normal on Thanksgiving 2018."

Trail Guide High Sierra Calendar: Latest Snowpack Percentage, linked back

Heavy Snow along Sierra Crest
Trail Guide High Sierra Crestline Reporting Stations,
the 10th, click for latest additions...

Tropical Transport Mechanism
“Some of the snow has come courtesy of atmospheric rivers...”

Trail News: See today's Satellite Views, & TTM Forecasts

Expect Extremes!
“Though conditions could change, California drought watchers are cautiously optimistic that the boost to the snowpack will insulate the state from drought this summer.”

Remainder of Season?
The Threat is Too Much Water, Right Now!
"The reservoirs are already in pretty good shape. Cal Water data show that most of the reservoirs are already more than half-full, and several have water levels that are above the historical average for the middle of February."


Ready For the Thaw?
(Or Extreme Precipitation...?)

For now, and later, during the Spring Thaw:

Trail Guide
River Flows, Stages, Plots, & Bulletins


California Reservoirs Right Now



Bottom Line

Seasonal Trajectory
We have a chronological account of the transition of conditions from the end of 2018 into 2019, current up to the present date. You can review it from here:

2019 High Sierra Backpacker's Calendar Index

Along the way you can see that we compare this year with our last 4 years of incredibly extreme weather.

Review February 2019

You are very happy this year, If your are a backcountry snow backpacker, skier, snow-mobilier, or a Marine Trainer at Pickle Meadow.

You are very happy this year, If your are anyone connected to snow-tourism, snow sports, or just enjoy the basic beauties and challenges of snow.

You are very happy this year, If your are a water manager, happy to have your attention shifted from constant thoughts of shortages to thinking about the threats of flooding.

The "Hummm" -Crew
Prospective early-start PCT hikers, & those hopeful for an early-season start on the JMT, are thinking skeptical thoughts in their fore-brains, while in the back of their heads are dancing the hopes and thoughts of heatwaves and early thaws.

In any case, we are predicting the timing of our prospective, "opening date," for the crestline trails based on our backcountry skills and fitness, more than our desired timing. We are planning our date for entering the High Sierra by tracking the actual trajectory of conditions along the Sierra Crest.
So, right now, for backpackers looking for substantially-clear trails across the High Passes, it's looking like a late start for this year's Summertime backpackers, possibly later than the 4th of July.

Those looking to cross no more than snow-packed High Altitude Crestline Passes may be able to enter in early June. Maybe...depending on your skills, fitness, and experience.

This is the view from, "now," with an above average snowpack on the crest, and an active looking Tropical Transport Mechanism. But who can tell? we are a long ways from the Spring Thaw, and conditions in the High Sierra can change rapidly.

The Season Shapes Itself
We are going to have-to watch out for more extreme events that will affect our opening dates. No unfolding of any of the various extremes of snow, rain, or heat over the next few months would surprise me. Extreme shifts between weather extremes has become normal.

The good thing is that our start-date calculations will change as rapidly as conditions change.

We have the resources to track them all effectively...


All Snow Data


All Snow Forecasting


Long Range Forecasting



Last Report
February 2, 2019 High Sierra Winter Report









Trail News Forum

Trail News Daily, Feb 2019



February 2019 Trail News





Nature News


Climate Destruction News



Bee News

Bear News

Spider Forum

Bird News

Small Mammals

Frogs and Reptiles

Butterfly News


Health and Fitness

Mountain Safety

Mosquito News

Female Trail

High Sierra History


Astro-Phys, Space, & Science News

High Sierra Geology News

Fish, Oceans, & Water News



All High Sierra News





weather, snow, tracking, resources, wintertime, winter, High Sierra, mountain range, forecasts, snowpack, status


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