Tuesday, March 22, 2011
An unusually cold and wet storm has delivered a lot of snow, causing extensive tree damage in Yosemite. All roads into Yosemite are closed. Power is expected to be out for 5-7 days. At under 2000' El Portal got 8-9 inches of snow, something not seen in decades. Most of the damage is to live oaks, with hundreds of trees and large limbs down in El Portal alone. The rest of the Merced Canyon has numerous small rockfalls and landslips partly blocking roads between Mariposa and Yosemite Valley. The snowfall took place mostly overnight on Sunday. Skiers exiting Ostrander Hut on Sunday worked as a 20-person team to break trail. They scooped up others along the Glacier Point Road who had dropped from exhaustion pushing against the heavy accumulation. When they reached the trailhead, they couldn't leave Badger Pass; about 60 people spent the night in the day lodge at Badger. Yosemite West has run out of water and all residents and guests have been escorted out of the park. Community meetings later today will tell us more, but it's possible that the park will be closed and all remaining visitors and non-essential employees evacuated. The generators that keep the lights and heat working can only do so much, and they're needed to operate water and wastewater systems, too.
I'll post more when I can.