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Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update

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avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
February 25, 2010 05:02PM
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
February 24, 2010

Weather: (Feb. 18-Feb. 24)
High temperature: 46°F (Feb. 18)
Low temperature: -3°F (Feb. 22)
New snow: 31 in.
Total settled snow depth: 61 in. (Feb. 24)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
This past week we saw an end to our high pressure as a series of storms came over Tuolumne Meadows. They started as small disturbances and continued to grow in intensity. Last night through this morning, we saw 17 inches in just over 12 hours, with blizzard conditions continuing throughout the day. Monday afternoon we noticed a large slab avalanche had released from the west side of Johnson Peak and we saw point releases on Dana Chutes. We have had high winds from both the west and east causing snow loading. We currently have very unstable snow conditions, large amounts of snow on top of a hard crust that formed during the previous two weeks of warm temperatures and sunny days. We advise not traveling in the backcountry until this series of storms is over. The weather service is forecasting more storms throughout the weekend.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks. Birds seen and heard this week include the Mountain Chickadee, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Red Crossbills.

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers


The Tuolumne River below Tuolumne Meadows lies buried under the deep winter snows, late February, 2010.
avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 04, 2010 02:04PM
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 3, 2010

Weather: (Feb. 25-Mar. 3)
High temperature: 46°F (Mar. 1)
Low temperature: -3°F (Feb. 25, Mar. 3)
New snow: 20 in.
Total settled snow depth: 62 in. (Mar. 3)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
This past week was again stormy and windy as a series of storms came through Tuolumne Meadows. It is currently snowing and the weather service is forecasting that trend to continue for the near future. We have a solid deep base and you can ski just about anywhere. Caution is still advised due to the wind loading and amounts of snow we received recently. Trail breaking varies with each storm. The last storm was wet and put down a solid base to ski on top of, so we were only sinking in about 6 inches. Sun crusts are developing when the sun does come out. For the month of February we picked up 65 inches of snow with 4.98 inches of water content. 50 inches of that snow came in the last week. No recent reports of where snowline is on either side of Tuolumne Meadows. The days are getting longer but it is still very much like winter here.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks. Birds seen and heard this week include the Mountain Chickadee, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Red Crossbills.

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers
avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 12, 2010 06:01PM
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update





March 10, 2010

Weather: (Mar. 4-Mar. 10)
High temperature: 40°F (Mar. 5)
Low temperature: -7°F (Mar. 9)
New snow: 16 in.
Total settled snow depth: 64 in. (Mar. 10)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
The coyotes have started howling, mating season has arrived and a sure sign that spring is on the way; but you wouldn’t know it from our weather. This past week was again stormy and windy as a series of storms came through Tuolumne Meadows. It was cold and blustery all week and we picked up another 16 inches of snow. We have a solid base of 64 inches and you can ski just about anywhere. Trail breaking varies with each storm. Some days it’s like skiing on broken dinner plates and other days it is smooth as silk. In the wind prone areas your track disappears as fast as you make it. Sun crusts are developing when the sun does come out. No recent reports of where snowline is on either side of Tuolumne Meadows. The days are getting longer but it is still very much like winter here. The weather service is still forecasting a warm up for next week.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks. We watched the Red Crossbills picking up gravel from the stone walls on Parsons Lodge and the Tuolumne Bridge. They must need this for their gizzards to function properly. Birds seen and heard this week include the Mountain Chickadee, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, and Red Crossbills.

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers

avatar Re: Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
April 02, 2010 04:30PM
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
March 31, 2010

Weather: (Mar. 24-Mar. 31)
High temperature: 53°F (Mar. 27)
Low temperature: 7°F (Mar. 27)
New snow: 9 in.
Total settled snow depth: 51 in. (Mar. 31)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
We woke up this morning to 9 inches of new snow and it is still snowing heavily as I write this. We have also seen some high wind gusts with this storm, creating blizzard conditions at times. Spring had definitely made its appearance this month, however it seemed short lived. During this nice weather the ski hut was overflowing its capacity with visitors. Things are now pretty quiet with the change in weather. This storm is forecasted to continue into tomorrow with unsettled weather continuing. Another storm is forecasted to hit us by Sunday. There is a very firm base underneath all this new snow, so when the sun does emerge, it should set up for some fine spring skiing. The Tuolumne River is opening up in spots, but this cold weather will likely halt the runoff. Caltrans has started to plow Highway 120 from the east side (Lee Vining), so be prepared to walk the first several miles beyond the gate. Skiers from Yosemite Valley have reported snowline to be at the top of the Snow Creek switchbacks.

For the month of March we received 37 inches of snow with a water equivalent of 2.65 inches.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
You know spring is here when the bears emerge from their long winter nap. We saw our first bear tracks on March 28 crossing the road east of Ranger Camp. We saw more tracks on Rafferty Bench on March 29.

We saw our first Beldings Ground Squirrel pop its head out of its hole in Tuolumne Meadows on March 27.

We saw the first Painted Lady butterflies of the year on March 24, battling a strong headwind near Tenaya Lake.

We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks.

Birds heard and seen this week include Cassin’s Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-tailed Hawk, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Northern Flicker, and Red Crossbills.

Reminder: bear-resistant containers are required for overnight travel in all areas of the wilderness beginning April 1. (The limited winter exception ends March 31.)

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers


Looking across the lower end of Tuolumne Meadows at Cathedral Peak and Fairview Dome.
NPS Photo
avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
April 09, 2010 12:52PM
April 7, 2010

Weather: (Apr. 1-Apr. 7)
High temperature: 44°F (Mar. 6)
Low temperature: -11°F (Mar. 6)
New snow: 26 in.
Total settled snow depth: 59 in. (Apr. 7)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
This was a cold, windy, stormy week in Tuolumne Meadows. We picked up over two feet of new snow and didn’t see the sun all week until yesterday. All week we had overnight lows that were subzero and single digits. Now that the sun is out and the temperatures are warming, our new snow has turned into bottomless mashed potatoes. Trail breaking is still difficult since the new snow has not set up yet. Another few days and it should improve. However the NWS is forecasting more storms next week, so stay tuned, winter isn’t finished with us yet. There is a very firm base underneath all this new snow, so when the snow does set up, there should be some fine spring skiing. The Tuolumne River is opening up in spots and new spring birds are arriving every day.

Caltrans has started to plow Highway 120 from the east side (Lee Vining), so be prepared to walk the first several miles beyond the gate.


Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
The wildlife has gone into hiding this past week due to the stormy weather, so not much activity.

We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks.

Birds heard and seen this week include Cassin’s Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Northern Flicker, and Red Crossbills.


Reminder: bear-resistant containers are required for overnight travel in all areas of the wilderness beginning April 1. (The limited winter exception ends March 31.)

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers
avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
April 22, 2010 01:31PM
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
April 14, 2010

Weather: (Apr. 8-14)
High temperature: 53°F (Apr. 9)
Low temperature: 3°F (Mar. 13)
New snow: 14 in.
Total settled snow depth: 53 in. (Apr. 14)


Ski Conditions and Weather:
This week was a mixed bag of warm, sunny weather and a windy, cold storm. We picked up over four feet of new snow since the beginning of April, not feeling very much like spring. The sun is out again but temperatures are still on the cool side. Trail breaking is still difficult since the new snow has not set up yet. The snow has a breakable crust on top and sticky soft snow beneath the crust. Another few days and it should improve. However, the NWS is forecasting more unsettled weather through the week, but as yet, nothing as big as we have been getting. There is a very firm base underneath all this new snow, so when the snow does set up, there should be some fine spring skiing. The spring thaw has been put on hold due to our winter weather. Everything here is still encased in its winter cloak.

Caltrans has started to plow Highway 120 from the east side (Lee Vining), so be prepared to walk the first several miles beyond the gate.


Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to http://www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.


Wildlife:
We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks. We are still seeing the occasional Painted Lady Butterfly come through. Birds heard and seen this week include Cassin’s Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Northern Flicker, Violet-green Swallow, and Red Crossbills.


Reminder: bear-resistant containers are required for overnight travel in all areas of the wilderness beginning April 1. (The limited winter exception ends March 31.)

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers


Fairview Dome, NPS Photo
avatar Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
May 03, 2010 12:10PM
April 28, 2010
(Last update until winter 2010/2011)

Weather: (Apr. 22-28)
High temperature: 56°F (Apr. 26)
Low temperature: 13°F (Apr. 22)
New snow: 5 in.
Total settled snow depth: 39 in. (Apr. 28)

Ski Conditions and Weather:
This will be the last weekly update for the winter from Tuolumne Meadows. Winter seems to be far from over here in the high country. It seems like we can’t go more than a few days without a winter storm hitting us, even though we are over a month into spring. This last storm was more of a wind event than a snow event. Winds are still howling and it is expected to be unsettled until at least the weekend. The Tuolumne River is opening up as the run off increases.

Caltrans is still working on plowing Highway 120 from the east side (Lee Vining). These recent storms have hampered their efforts to make much progress. As of Monday they were below Ellery corner. So be prepared to walk the first several miles beyond the gate. You can check the status of that portion of Highway 120 at 800/427-7623 or visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr120.

The park has started plowing Tioga Road from the west side (Crane Flat). For the most current Tioga Road status call 209/372-0200 or visit http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm

The ski hut will remain open for backcountry visitors until shortly before the park opens the Tioga Road to traffic. Visitors who have food or gear in the cache at the Tuolumne Meadows ski hut are reminded that all property must be removed within two weeks following the road opening date; any gear left after that time will be discarded.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions:
For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times per week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife:
We saw our usual Coyote, Pine Marten, Weasel, Chickaree, White-tailed Jack Rabbit, and many tiny rodent tracks. We are still seeing the occasional Painted Lady Butterfly come through.

Birds heard and seen this week include Cassin’s Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Mountain Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Northern Flicker, Violet-green Swallow, Yellow- rumped Warbler, Williamson’s Sapsucker, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Ruby- Crowned Kinglet, Mallards, Killdeer, Stellar Jay, and Red Crossbills.


Reminder: bear-resistant containers are required for overnight travel in all areas of the wilderness beginning April 1. (The limited winter exception ends March 31.)

Questions: We have no land lines or cell tower operating and the power is still out. Sorry for the inconvenience.

--Jeff and Kathi, Tuolumne Meadows winter rangers
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