Saturday, March 26, 2011
Electricity is supposed to be restored to El Portal and Yosemite Valley today (Saturday). Most park roads are now open, though with chain restrictions on all of them. Highway 140 is closed between Mariposa and El Portal by a rockslide near Briceburg; it should be open by Monday or sooner. Badger Pass is closed, but hopes to open for its last weekend of the season, April 1-3. There is over 14 feet of NEW snow at Badger!
The Valley floor has 1- 1.5 feet on it. DNC is using these rare conditions to lead springtime snowshoe walks from the Ahwahnee this weekend. The Visitor Center is fully staffed, and a few visitors are trickling through. It's snowing in the Valley now, but snow isn't sticking much below the 3500' level. Though Hwy. 41 is open, buses are being turned away from the south entrance at the moment. You MUST call 209/372-0200 to check on road conditions before heading to the park.
The Conservancy's annual Spring Forum was supposed to be held today, but conditions obviate that possibility; we'll try again next year. Tomorrow's wildflower field seminar in El Portal is also cancelled; Michael Ross is teaching two other botany courses in the summer where we hope snow won't be a factor.
Warm weather returns to the Sierra next week, with sunny and low 60's in Yosemite Valley. We should see a big spike in runoff by late in the week, with lots of wet meadows, though we probably won't really approach flood level. It's going to be a terrific season for Yosemite waterfalls.