Sunday, June 6, 2010
I don't know that I've ever actually observed so much snow and runoff in all my years here. The Tioga Road opened to cars this weekend and it is impressive to see how much snow lies deep in the high country still. (We could only bike as far as Olmsted Point last weekend.) Lots of skiers were at play near the pass. At the same time, the temperatures rose substantially: mid-60's in Tuolumne Meadows today, low 80's in Yosemite Valley. Considerable portions of the snowpack are melting suddenly and there is running water everywhere. I've never seen the Tioga Road so gushing wet with overflowing snowmelt - wow.
Tuolumne Meadows is perhaps 75% snow, 10% water, and the rest bare ground in sunny spots. Tenaya Lake is still 90% iced over, as is Siesta Lake. Even Gin Flat at just over 7000' is 90% snow-covered. Mist is gusting off of Cascade Falls in amounts just not seen in most years.
The Merced River just tapped 'flood stage' in the early hours today, before subsiding in the normal springtime diurnal cycling. Tonight and tomorrow night it should exceed the 'flood' definition in Yosemite Valley by the better part of a foot, then by just a little early Wednesday a.m., as it starts a late decline in volume. Again, the river is at triple the average flow for this date - exciting!