Monday, February 9, 2015


The park has had good wet storms the past several days, but they brought much more rain than snow. Snow levels barely dropped beneath 7000' and not much more than slush was deposited below 8000'.

The rain runoff from up to 8000' in the watershed is departing the Sierra, rather than lingering in the ecosystem the way snow and snowmelt do. The Merced River leapt from a paltry 55 cfs at Pohono Bridge to an exceptional 2500 cfs last night, and is dropping as quickly as it rose. The current river volume from the high elevation rain is larger than any flow in 2014. Unless there is more snow in the next couple months, we wonder if this warm storm might be 2015's high water mark. A splash of mud and rock from the area of last summer's Dog Rock Fire closed Hwy. 140 above El Portal for a few hours this morning. The Merced and the South Fork are both turbid brown. Yosemite Falls is BIG, but there's no snow cone.

The lower canyon, west of the park is lush with bright moss and new plant growth. In bloom now: small numbers of shooting stars, poppies, a couple mustards, paintbrush, a saxifrage, more popcorn flower and fiddlenecks and abundant filaree. In favored spots the waterfall buttercups number in the thousands. Buckeye and elderberry leaves are emerging.

It is another odd winter of the new normal.