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The Mono-logue » Blog Archive » Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentations return with avalanche forecaster Sue Burak

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentations return with avalanche forecaster Sue Burak

July 22nd, 2017 by Molly, Mono Lake Intern
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Join us for this summer’s first Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists presentation, next Wednesday, July 26 at 4:00pm in the Mono Lake Committee gallery!

While clearing the snow that fell on Tioga Pass Road this past winter (pictured), Caltrans was lucky to have hydrologist Sue Burak provide her expertise to help with avalanche training and assessments. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Come hear hydrologist Sue Burak give an inside look at the work of an avalanche forecaster, the science behind the forecasts, and the headaches of an avalanche forecaster during a winter when nature put the hammer down in a presentation entitled “Atmospheric Rivers Bring It On: Big Storms & Big Avalanches in a Record-Breaking Winter.” Admission is free and there will be free snacks!

Sue has been obsessed with snow and avalanches for many years. Her first “snow job” was working for the State of California snow survey program, traveling on multi-day ski tours collecting snow depth and snow water content data used for spring runoff forecasts. On these trips, the power of winter storms and resulting avalanches inspired Sue to study snowpack processes that lead to avalanche formation and release.

This refreshing hydrologist combines her extensive field experience with her academic background in snow science and hydrology in her work as an avalanche forecaster and hazard analyst for Inyo and Mono counties, Yosemite National Park, and the Inyo National Forest. This spring, Sue had the opportunity to work with Randy Walker, Lee Vining Caltrans supervisor, and provided avalanche training and assessments during the Tioga Pass Road opening.

She is also active in the academic community, working on and publishing research papers with colleagues Ben Hatchett at the Desert Research Institute and Ned Bair, snow scientist at UC Santa Barbara. After earning her Masters in Hydrology two years ago and surviving the winter of 2017, she realizes there is much more to learn and is pointing her skis towards a PhD program at the University of Nevada in Reno.

Refreshments with Refreshing ‘Ologists will be held in the Mono Lake Committee gallery every Wednesday at 4:00pm for the summer. Check out the event on Facebook to stay updated, and stay tuned for our full schedule of speakers!

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