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Unusual Blizzard Warning Issued for Mammoth and Tahoe

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A rare blizzard warning has been issued for the Sierra Nevada region, affecting popular ski resorts at Mammoth Mountain and around Lake Tahoe. Officials are advising people to avoid travel during the treacherous weather expected from Thursday through Sunday.

The latest forecasts predict up to 8 feet of snow to fall in the area. The blizzard warning stretches from Lassen Volcanic National Park in Shasta County to Kings Canyon National Park in Fresno County.

The most extreme conditions are expected on Friday night through Saturday morning, with heavy snowfall and strong winds causing snow to accumulate at a rate of 3 to 5 inches per hour. Wind gusts on the Sierra crest are forecasted to exceed 100 mph, potentially leading to power outages and fallen trees.

The National Weather Service office in Reno strongly emphasized the dangers of traveling during this time, warning of disorienting whiteout conditions and urging residents to prioritize safety. They stated, “Whiteout conditions are very disorienting, so this is not the time to gamble with you or your family’s lives, especially over a planned weekend ski vacation.”

Predictions suggest that elevations above 7,000 feet in the Tahoe Basin could receive 4 to 8 feet of snow, while towns around Lake Tahoe may see 2 to 4 feet of snow. In Mono County, where Mammoth Mountain is situated, 3 to 6 feet of snow is anticipated along the Sierra crest, with 1 to 3 feet expected along Highway 395.

Authorities are urging residents to take the storm seriously and make necessary preparations. Travelers are advised to have a winter kit and extra supplies if they must journey through the Sierra during the storm. The weather service office in Reno cautioned, “Nothing like an unsafe, impromptu camping trip in your car on Donner Pass.”

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Flight delays, canceled flights, tire chain requirements for motorists, and disorientation from whiteout conditions are all potential hazards of this severe weather event. Donner Pass on Interstate 80 and Echo Summit on Highway 50 are forecasted to receive 6 to 8 feet and 5 to 7 feet of snow, respectively.

Additionally, caution is advised when traveling on roads above 1,000 feet in northwest California, where heavy snowfall is expected down to elevations as low as 500 feet. Interstate 5 near the city of Mount Shasta could receive up to 18 inches of snow.

Southern California may experience lighter snowfall, with a 20% to 30% chance of up to 1 inch of snow along Interstate 5 over the Tejon Pass and 1 to 2 inches along Highway 58 over the Tehachapi Pass.

The blizzard warning extends to areas of Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Valley, with heavy snow accumulation and blowing snow expected. While the storm is anticipated to lessen by Sunday, scattered snow showers may persist.

In surrounding areas, such as Los Angeles, Ventura, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento Valley, rain, snow, and gusty winds are forecasted throughout the weekend.

Despite the challenges posed by this storm, residents and travelers are encouraged to stay informed, heed official warnings, and prioritize safety above all else.

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NASA is Developing an Electrodynamic Shield to Address Lunar and Martian Dust Challenges

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NASA is tirelessly working on addressing the challenges posed by dust on the Moon and Mars. The lunar surface is covered in regolith, a jagged and abrasive material that can cause damage to equipment and pose health risks to astronauts. Additionally, dust accumulation on surfaces like solar panels can lead to decreased power output, creating further complications for manned missions to Mars.

To combat these issues, NASA has developed an innovative solution in the form of an Electrodynamic Dust Shield (EDS). This shield utilizes transparent electrodes and electric fields to electrically remove dust from surfaces, inspired by a concept developed by NASA in 1967. The technology has been in development since 2004 and is currently being tested by researchers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The EDS has shown promising results in vacuum chamber tests simulating the space environment, with lunar regolith samples used for testing. The material was successfully ejected from surfaces within seconds, demonstrating the shield’s efficacy in removing dust. Additionally, EDS materials have been embedded on glass panels, test spacesuit fabrics, and even camera lenses onboard the International Space Station and lunar landers.

Dr. Charles Buhler, lead scientist on the project, emphasized the importance of protecting equipment and habitats from dust exposure on lunar missions. The abrasive nature of lunar dust, coupled with its ability to compromise seals and hatches, makes it a significant concern for future missions. The EDS technology shows great promise in mitigating these risks and ensuring the safety of astronauts and machinery on dusty worlds.

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As NASA continues to advance the development of the Electrodynamic Dust Shield, future missions will further test its capabilities in real-world environments. The technology holds great potential in safeguarding against the challenges posed by dust and ensuring the success of manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

For more information on NASA’s groundbreaking technology to combat lunar dust, visit the official NASA website at NASA Technology Helps Guard Against Lunar Dust.

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