Friday, April 1, 2011

Yosemite Recovered

The storm of 20-21 March goes into the record books as one of the most significant in decades: over 12 feet of snow at the 7-8000' level, and 9 inches of heavy snow that broke down thousands of live oaks and other trees at the 2000' level. Electricity was restored after 6 days, and visitation has now picked up.
We've had very warm weather the past few days. Bird activity has increased, flowers are on the rebound, and the Merced River has doubled in volume and is really turbid. The river has gone over 1500 cfs at Pohono Bridge, more than twice the average flow for this date. Sierra-wide snow surveys show 165% of normal water content in the snowpack; our local results come out shortly and will surely be comparably abundant.
We all look ahead to the waterfall season of the next 3 months, hoping that all this snow runs off over a long span of summer, rather than all at once. Photographers Ken Rockwell and Dave Wyman have timed their "Spring Light Photography" course to coincide with predicted high volume, 19-22 May.
We're also coming into peak frazil season this month. The frazil ice forecast is poor for the next few days, as temperatures are mild. But the warmth makes more mist, which will produce more frazil particles when the temperature does drop again.
I'll be away from the park the next two weeks.

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