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Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Greg Enright » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:03 am

Image

Took a stroll around Rock Creek Lake this afternoon. Dry, cold weather means great ice skating all through the High Sierra. The ice was singing with expansion noises. The trail around the lake was easily followed with no need for snowshoes.

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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Clark_Griswold » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:23 am

Is California slipping back into a drought? Despite a La Nina, which normally equals above normal Precip for northern CA and most of the northern and central Sierra, almost nothing seems to have come down in the last month. This recent storm and the last few seem to have missed interior CA entirely. The next one probably will, too.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/snow/PLOT_SWC
http://water.weather.gov/precip/
http://www.thorntonweather.com/snow-basins.php

I suppose one or two good storms could erase this or put the Sierra snow pack above normal, but 52% of normal, at best, doesn't look good, even with last years impressive totals.
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Greg Enright » Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:35 am

Tioga Road is closed again due to snow. This storm was very weak, so the pass may open in a day or two. Another storm will pass by on Thursday, but not much precip expected from that one either.
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby dskoon » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:29 pm

Greg Enright wrote:Tioga Road is closed again due to snow. This storm was very weak, so the pass may open in a day or two. Another storm will pass by on Thursday, but not much precip expected from that one either.


I guess the lack of snow and the threat of snow keeps Caltrans busy! Gatekeepers.
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby peninsula » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:52 pm

Lionel wrote:Is California slipping back into a drought? Despite a La Nina, which normally equals above normal Precip for northern CA and most of the northern and central Sierra, almost nothing seems to have come down in the last month. This recent storm and the last few seem to have missed interior CA entirely. The next one probably will, too.


Last year's La Nina was unusual with above-normal rainfall for San Diego. Up until last year, the record wettest La Nina for San Diego came in at around 8 inches (as measured at Lindberg Airport where the annual average is around 11 inches). But last year, over 12 inches recorded. Here we have another La Nina year, and thus far, San Diego is experiencing even more rain than last year to date! Predicting weather patterns these days is in conflict with past observations. Climate change is happening.
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Clark_Griswold » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:18 pm

peninsula wrote:
Lionel wrote:Is California slipping back into a drought? Despite a La Nina, which normally equals above normal Precip for northern CA and most of the northern and central Sierra, almost nothing seems to have come down in the last month. This recent storm and the last few seem to have missed interior CA entirely. The next one probably will, too.


Last year's La Nina was unusual with above-normal rainfall for San Diego. Up until last year, the record wettest La Nina for San Diego came in at around 8 inches (as measured at Lindberg Airport where the annual average is around 11 inches). But last year, over 12 inches recorded. Here we have another La Nina year, and thus far, San Diego is experiencing even more rain than last year to date! Predicting weather patterns these days is in conflict with past observations. Climate change is happening.

Quiet possibly. Still, shortly after I posted that, the NWS in either Sacramento or Hanford posted something about historically dry Decembers not necessarily equaling a drought, so while it's been dry for most places in the state so far, it won't be for some time before a drought can be seen.
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby KathyW » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:58 pm

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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Princess Buttercup » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:48 am

When life gives you lemons, make a lemon drop... nom nom nom...

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Dec 17, 2011 1:59 am

MooseTracks wrote:When life gives you lemons, make a lemon drop... nom nom nom...

:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:


I had a notoriously strict eigth grade English teacher whose main reward given to students was lemon drops.

On the subject of my cup being half full, some years we have had a white Christmas at my parents house near the Redding airport (500 feet elevation), but the weather this year looks like it will save me some gas money and provide something more rare. We've got a couple of weeks of vacation and may be able to spend most of our time hiking prominent higher eleveation peaks in Northern California in December without a big reason to leave relatives behind early and drive all the way down to Death Valley or Mojave Preserve in search of easy to reach traiheads and trails absent of deep snow. If I were much into winter sports, I'd be antsy, but I'm not. Even better, the kids, dogs, and I got plenty time in the snow Veterans Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend in the Sierra and now may be able to find a bit of snow, but have easier hiking and trailhead access than we did in November.

The stuff posted from the NWS rings true from past and recent experience. A dry December can be followed by a wet winter and spring. La Nina and El Nino years can have an impact, but the farther north you go, the more rain/snow you can generally expect (I noticed that the developing drought is predicted for central and southern CA, but not northern CA...no surprise based on historical averages). The rare thing is being able to hike without big snow concerns in late December in Northern California.

I noticed Caltrans reported the mountain passes open again (besides Sonora Pass and the ones closed for the winter--Lassen, Mammoth, Lake Sabrina) as of the time of this post.

Happy winter solstice to new year's adventures to all!
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:48 am

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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:12 pm

Yes, yes, you're right. But for now...

http://gallery.me.com/moosetracksca#100000
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Greg Enright » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:43 am

Rock Creek Road is open to the upper pack station. A few folks were hiking up the road to Mosquito Flat, regular shoes were fine. The trail has some icy sections and ankle deep snow.

Little Lakes Valley, Dec 17th
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Bear Creek Spire
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby Greg Enright » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:05 am

The Sweetwater's are still quite dry. This shot is from today.

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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby laswanso » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:39 am

Does anyone have any recent information on snow conditions for split mountain or nearby? Considering doing the north slope from the red lake trailhead and it would be helpful to know how low the snow gets. Thanks
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Re: Eastern Sierra snow conditions - '11-'12

Postby dyusem » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:46 pm

I'll be spending the next few days in Yosemite and I suspect that I'll leave the skinny skis at home but I was wondering if anyone knew the snow pack conditions around the Murphy Creek trail (Tenaya Lake area) or in the Tuolumne Meadows area.

When I was there in November there was enough snow to warrant having snowshoes but I suspect that was as good as it got so far this season...

Thanks in advance for any feedback!
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