Wednesday, June 15, 2011
High Water is Here
The river gauge at Pohono Bridge is just about tapping the formal 'flood' stage this morning, at 6300 cfs, or a hair under the 10' mark. This is a little lower than the forecasted overnight peak. Tonight's projection is to go over 11' or perhaps 9000 cfs. If it gets that high, the river will be up on parts of Valley roads, not to mention flowing into two campgrounds and Housekeeping Camp. Rangers have been preparing for days for this surge of meltwater, to evacuate people ahead of nighttime peaks as needed and to implement area closures for safety.
There have been lots of cyclists enjoying the delight of pedalling on the Tioga Road without cars for the past couple of weeks; no noise but birds, running water and the whisper of gumwalls. There is still snow at Crane Flat, and lots of deep snow higher up. The avalanche zone at Olmsted Point has been a lingering concern, so that part of the road is closed to cyclists and pedestrians. Road/trail crew personnel have been working on that spot and with this week's heat and clear skies, there is a fair bit of buzz about the road opening this weekend. Nothing is official and the high country route may not be safe enough to open until next week.
From Olmsted Point we can see that Tenaya Lake is still frozen over. Today's San Francisco Chronicle has an item about the park's Tenaya Lake Area Plan, in which the Conservancy is involved for funding.
Tenaya's ice is melting quickly, and washing down-canyon to fill Yosemite Valley with its own transient lakes.