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John Kasaian
9-Jul-2015, 11:50
...on Tioga Pass.
Right now.

tgtaylor
9-Jul-2015, 11:55
It's been snowing on Mt Whitney and Forrester Pass since yesterday. :)

Thomas

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2015, 12:12
I've been in severe blizzards every single month of the year in the Sierras except July. So a bit of snow is just another nice day up there.

tgtaylor
9-Jul-2015, 12:24
Here's the link for Forrester Pass: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-118.37308&lat=36.69420#.VZ1zUBNVikp. Don't pay any attention to what it says at the top of the page. The forecast location information is given at the lower right.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2015, 14:03
Aaah. There was a lovely storm last time I was up there that left wonderful lacings of snow all over the crags around Center Basin, and one helluva loud rockfall/semi-avalanche somewhere across the canyon near Forester Peak. My kind of weather.

John Kasaian
9-Jul-2015, 14:54
Aaah. There was a lovely storm last time I was up there that left wonderful lacings of snow all over the crags around Center Basin, and one helluva loud rockfall/semi-avalanche somewhere across the canyon near Forester Peak. My kind of weather.
I hear you.

Preston
9-Jul-2015, 15:52
There's measurable snow at Sonora Pass (http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/243990/lightning-caused-fires-in-stanislaus-national-forest.html), too.

The title from the linked local news article reads, "Snow And Lightning Caused Fires". Hmmm? I didn't know snow could cause a fire. ;-)

They changed the title of the article, so the above is now out of context.

Be careful out there, gents.

--P

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2015, 15:52
It's raining cats n' dogs right now at my office on the Bay, in the month it "never" rains here.

Jerry Bodine
9-Jul-2015, 16:53
It's raining cats n' dogs right now at my office on the Bay, in the month it "never" rains here.

Careful you don't step in a poodle, Drew.

Preston
9-Jul-2015, 17:04
Careful you don't step in a poodle, Drew.

Excellent, Jerry!

--P

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 08:46
I've never stepped on a poodle, but once in a severe winter storm all the sewers backed up down here next to the bay and dead rats laying all over the parking lot.
But I've gotten pretty darn good at predicting mid-southern Sierra weather by whatever clouds go over here the day before. That's how I knew there would be snow
up there already, and based upon a steady but relatively cool rain all last nite here, you can expect distinctly more snow over the next day or so.

tgtaylor
10-Jul-2015, 09:53
It's shaping-up to be a big El Nino year and the end of California's drought: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/07/09/el-nino-california/29921633/

Back during the 1997 event I remember driving up to Fremont Peak with my telescope on a Friday afternoon. I was sure that the sky would clear and with all the rain we had would have a crystal clear atmosphere through which to observe. Got the telescope all set-up and a big wind came and over towards Concord way I watched a a tornado touch down. They say that this years El Nino will be bigger than the one in '97 which was the largest on record I believe.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2015, 10:04
I sure hope so, but wouldn't place any bets yet! I'd like to get beyond water rationing and start routinely printing again.

bbuszard
10-Jul-2015, 17:18
I just got back from backpacking in the Mammoth area and was surprised how cold it was. I've been in the Sierra several times before, including a John Muir Trail thru-hike far too many years ago, and I've never seen a week in July that was as consistently wet and cool. We had rain every afternoon and a very interesting hailstorm. No poodles, unfortunately. It was more like Front Range weather than the Sierra.

We drove back to civilization through Tioga but didn't see any snow (rats). I doubt that the precip will come near to compensating for the absent snow pack, though I'd be very happy to be wrong.

Drew Wiley
14-Jul-2015, 12:18
Don't make stereotypes about the Sierra. I've been in mid-August weather where my toothpaste froze in the middle of my pack under a blue sky mid-day at
12,000 ft. Then the next day it snowed so hard that Hwy 395, way down at the bottom, outright closed just above Bishop (where it's typically about a hundred degrees), and while I finally stumbled out of the hills, went to Death Valley, where I had to wear a light jacket (where it might ordinarily be 115 or even 120 that time of year). I could tell multiple stories of like nature. I remember at week when several climbers froze to death in Yosemite Valley midsummer, based upon
such stereotypes.

David_Senesac
14-Jul-2015, 16:28
Was in that snow last week during an 8-day backpack over Duck Pass into Fish Creek areas of the John Muir Wilderness, mostly over 10k feet. After returning home I analyzed archived jetstream and various weather maps.

As an old Sierra Nevada backpacker I've seen snow every month of the year previously, if one goes high enough. Afternoon thunderstorms had occurred Friday July 3 through Wednesday with strong storms Saturday. It was Thursday morning in the wee hours that started the snow event. Prior to that, the range had been receiving a clockwise high pressure circulation centered over the Four Corners monsoon flow that brings moisture up from the south and southeast usually along the east side of the range from Owen's Valley. Early mornings had few clouds that clouded up by late morning then stormed in the afternoon. Captured quite a few fine images during 3 sunny morning periods early in the trip so the weather didn't shut me out.

A small cut-off low pressure circulation was west off of San Diego while the jetstream was moving across the Northwest. Then on Wednesday the low began migrating north while the jetstream with cooler air sourced from the Gulf of Alaska began splitting putting energy increasingly down into the low that intensified. By Thursday the low was over Central California and created a strong dynamic that occurs every few years in the Sierra during summers with a strong cold front of thunderstorm cells.

Three of us were in individual tents up at 10.3k a bit down from a nearby ridgeline so were sort of lightning safe. Wednesday late afternoon thunderstorms has stopped. At 2am Thursday July 9 saw stars outside my tent during the call of nature. First about 4am was about a half hour of intense lightning thunder every few seconds and then after that subsided some. As an electronics physics career person, that kind of lightning always scares me to the core. Then the largest hail I've experienced in several decades up there began. Have been in many pea to marble sized hail events. My UL1 tent was getting loudly hammered so after a few minutes put on my powerful Fenix HP11 headlamp, lifted the tent vestibule a bit and was looking at grape to cherry sized hail already stacked up about an inch deep. My Marmot Pinnacle sleeping bag was getting wet from the mist off the underside of my tent fly the hail pounded into the air. Of course the underside of the tent was wet from usual condensation and not leaking. Temperature had dropped to upper 30s. About 15 minutes later the hail stopped and then it continued to rain and sleet off an on till about sunrise while temps dropped a bit so much was wet snow.

We got up to a white landscape of white marbles. I wasn't interested in any photography but rather getting us down in elevation crosscountry to a trail a bit more than a mile away since we were about 3 days out from the trailhead and needed to be back at work the next Monday. A minor blue hole opened briefly and we quickly packed up wet gear and escaped. At that point we had to play wisely to avoid serious hypothermic situations. We had rain gear but that has limitations. My gortex mountaineering boots began wicking into my sock after walking through all the wet slush. About midway down to the trail more heavy cool rain pinned us down under trees for about an hour making the white slush pool up all over. The rain waned a bit and we eventually got down to Tully Hole then climbed up reaching the Virginia Lake saddle at 10.3k at noon.

It was moderately snowing with big sticky flakes and temps just above freezing. Could see some higher elevation peaks were rather white. At our elevation snow stuck longer on vegetation while not lasting long on rock surfaces. Am an old winter skiing enthusiast so am rather familiar with dealing with snow. Early pm clouds thinned letting in warming filtered sun and we made camp at Virginia Lake then dried off most of our gear on hung ropes which we had been doing off and on during the week already. Skies stayed totally cloudy another 24 hours until better holes in the clouds appeared midday Friday that allowed us to dry gear out thoroughly. Then hiked out in two days.

bbuszard
14-Jul-2015, 17:25
Sounds like a nice mini-epic, David. It reminds me of the time I *most* regret not having a camera with me. We were approaching Silver pass in late July and were hit with dime-size hail that quickly piled up a couple of inches deep. The hail immediately started evaporating and the ground was soon covered in several inches of thick fog. I'd never seen anything like it before, and haven't since.

Drew Wiley
15-Jul-2015, 08:19
I got into one of those marble-sized hailstorms in Wyoming last year. I always refresh the hood and shoulders of my Goretex parka with Scotchguard after every
such incident, and that's just one reason I only travel in real boots, none of these fabric/Gortex footsie things. Pretty, but the hail deposit was still eight inches
deep atop an even higher pass I crossed two days later. Got some nice shots the day in between, but wasn't about to set up the camera during the event itself.

tgtaylor
15-Jul-2015, 10:10
You could have reached a road much quicker (1 day) by taking McGee Pass instead of going down Tully Hole, etc. It pays to take along a map and know the bail-out options.

Thoma

Nodda Duma
15-Jul-2015, 11:09
It's only up to 100 or so in Inyokern where I used to live.

Father-in-law who is visiting from San Diego says he expects it to be really rainy this coming year and next. Exact same thing happened in the 90s: 3 years of hard drought followed by rainy weather.

Drew Wiley
15-Jul-2015, 11:35
McGee Pass is NOT a place you want to be in a heavy storm, esp if lightning is involved. It's a wide highly exposed bare saddle. Horse packers dreaded that crossing in bad weather.

bobwysiwyg
15-Jul-2015, 11:39
Father-in-law who is visiting from San Diego says he expects it to be really rainy this coming year and next. Exact same thing happened in the 90s: 3 years of hard drought followed by rainy weather.

They are predicting a strengthening El Nino.

"This winter's El Niņo could be one of the strongest in the past 50 years, leading to a return of meaningful but not necessarily drought-busting rain in California."

Drew Wiley
15-Jul-2015, 13:05
Makes no difference except temporarily. In fact, if the reservoirs do fill, it just means all the long-term drought planning will be immediately forgotten and all
the current significant water wasters will get exactly what they wanted - stall the fines with lawyers and lawsuits against water agencies, then expect them the
courts to dismiss the whole thing. In the heaviest of rain years water gets over-allocated as a fashion of political currency (favors - briefly make everybody happy
that has influence money at least), same nothing in the piggy-bank for a non-rainy day. More dams won't help - basically big evaporation pits. They need to take
underground aquifers more seriously, at least the ones the frackers aren't rapidly poisoning.

bobwysiwyg
15-Jul-2015, 13:40
Makes no difference except temporarily.

I believe the quote suggests just that. On the other hand, I suspect most other California residents will take what they can get.

Drew Wiley
15-Jul-2015, 13:58
That's a line from The Departed. A synonym for "steal". Not much has changed over the last century in that respect. I'm quite a bit better informed than the average Calif citizen because I grew up right on the canyon of the San Joaquin, which is nicknamed "hardest working water in the world". My dad was concrete
inspector for the start of the Central Valley Project, and I recently witnessed old b&w footage of him in a PSB documentary about Central Valley water wars, which obviously began with that project and water diversions from its first dam. LA is an earlier story, with the movie Chinatown spun off its water scam, and books like
Land of Little Rain and Cadillac Desert telling the story of the Owens Valley water war, with LA and Mulholland in the role of Chief Thief.

bobwysiwyg
15-Jul-2015, 14:58
Sounds like you might prefer a repeat of 1862. :rolleyes:

Nodda Duma
16-Jul-2015, 06:21
Drew I remember seeing all the dust kicked up from Owens Lake and filling Indian Wells Valley. It was awful, but I guess the EPA finally told LA to stop simply paying the daily fine and let some water back in to keep the dust down. Is that still being done now with the drought? I moved out 4 1/2 years ago

Drew Wiley
16-Jul-2015, 08:47
Owens Lakebed is still considered the single worst EPA site in the country for wind-borne contaminants (noxious alkaline deposits), and has been so all along. I've seen those dust clouds as high as 11,000 ft in Owens Valley. The town of Olancha is basically deserted except for a particular "mountain spring water" bottling facility! I presume the water in piped down the hill; but still (??). The evaporation pools out in the middle of
the lake hold small amounts of water amount of water in it fosters all those strange bright red algal and bacterial colors which aerial photographers love, though you can shoot some of this telephoto from halfway up the Cottonwood Rd. The dry minerals left behind in those pools are collected for commercial use. One of my college roomates grew up in the tiny hamlet of Keeler right at the edge of the Lake. One
night, years before, a flashflood came down that canyon from the steep Inyo Range behind there and swept their family mobile home eight
miles away onto Owens Lakebed! Incredibly it never rolled, and they were set down without serious injury on the salt flats.

tgtaylor
16-Jul-2015, 12:18
I just posted some personal observations regarding the Brown Pelican and other wildlife for whom the San Francisco Bay is a food source: http://spiritsofsilver.com/field_notes A sign of global warming or El Nino, or both?

Thomas

Drew Wiley
16-Jul-2015, 13:35
That's cool, Thomas. Long-term trends or climatology per se (versus short-term fluctuations like El Nino) really require long-term study over
decades or worldwide cumulative studies, though certain things are already apparent to us outdoor types, even if politicians have their noses
too buried in payoff money to see anything green or not green outdoors. In coastal zones, the shells of plankton accumulate like tree rings
year after year on sea bottoms, just like pollen does on lake bottoms. By studying the species involved, a long-term record climate and temp
record can be modeled. Likewise with certain things in ice cores from glaciers. Here on the Calif coast, some of our soft coastal cliffs carry
such as record from the Pliocene up to the end of the Pleistocene. Nowadays, redistribution of wildlife along with insect species, and serious
changes in conifer forests, and outright disappearance of many small glaciers in the mountains inform us that none of this is incidental. It's
not new. Much started with the industrial revolution and the mass burning of coal. But it's accelerating at a rate faster than any time since the
Pliocene. There's an incredible set of Pliocene footprints in a relatively secret canyon in California; and back then, the climate was more like
the Rift Valley East Africa in terms of fauna and heat. So if Palm Springs can hit 120F in traditonal summers, it might be utterly unlivable
by the end of this century. And our mega-cities like LA, Las Vegas, and Phoenix-Tuscon might be unsustainable in terms of the amount of
energy required to cool them, or even existence of sufficient water. Never mind Miami or New Orleans - they won't even exist. My own field
several decades ago involved some climatology relative to the end of the Pleistocene and how it affected human dispersion in North America.
What were heretical hypotheses from whippersnappers like me back then are now mainstream. Once the thermostat broke, it was a mess - a temper tantrum, and not a gradual thaw at all, like scientists previously thought. Even our local marine microfossils concur.

tgtaylor
16-Jul-2015, 20:59
Thanks Drew.

Personally I have always maintained that the climate change we are now experiencing is a naturally reoccurring geophysical process but one that is now clearly exacerbated by human action (or inaction). Clearly we are in for a change and that change, I believe, is becoming increasingly manifest in California.

Thomas

tgtaylor
21-Jul-2015, 13:00
More El Nino:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/monster-el-ni-o-makes-175409846.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-21/record-beating-pacific-ocean-heat-seen-strengthening-el-nino?cmpid=yhoo

Here in the Bay Area we had a 4.0 last night: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_28515334/4-0-earthquake-centered-fremont-felt-around-bay

Thomas

Randy Moe
21-Jul-2015, 13:06
I just noticed I 10 is closed indefinitely, possibly long therm. (typo left in)

Drew Wiley
21-Jul-2015, 13:42
It will be an odd year, for sure. But that still doesn't confirm what really counts, which is the depth of the Spring snowpack next year. David's story of cherry-sized
hail in the Sierra is quite unusual. Usually its a refreshing BB size, and not "ouch" diameter. This past winter we had record rain in Dec but the driest Spring on
record too. Not so bad here due to all our coastal fog and full local reservoirs. Even the wild berry crop out on the coast has been impressive this year. But that blessing doesn't extend very far inland. Flood damage is a distinct risk following very dry years due to the lack of sufficient ground cover, esp following forest fires. But we Californians have acquired an absolute genius for repeatedly building in the least logical places in terms of flood, fire, and geologic risk.

Jmarmck
21-Jul-2015, 14:34
I lived in the Mono/Mammoth region 1980 to 1983. The first winter saw very little snow. Mammoth Ski area had most of the lower slopes close for extended periods. 1991 was my first year for REAL snow. It was challenging in a Honda Civic. Then came 1983 and El Nino. In Mammoth I saw it snow 4 feet in hours....on top of the two feet already there. At times the ploughs had trouble keeping up. I saw an auger/blower being hauled away with half of a Ford Mustang sticking out like a popsicle. Seems the owner did not understand parking regulations. I was on the Long Valley Fire Dept at the time. We kept chains on the Class A pumper with all wheel drive. A warm early spring had us sand bagging small creeks on steep slopes coming off McGee Mt.

I drove up I-70 from Durango, CO that year during peak melt. I saw logs larger than my truck being tossed down the Colorado River like they were match sticks. There was real concern at Glen Canyon Dam with water seeping through the cracks in the sandstone. It had the officials worried enough to open up the bypass tubes. They had pictures on display in the visitor center of the event in the mid 1980s. The photos were some 8 ft by 10 ft. I don't exactly remember the size but they were very impressive. I visited the dam again is last winter. They had replace the photos with something less terrifying.

Drew Wiley
21-Jul-2015, 15:32
I grew up on the opposite side of Mammoth Pass, right on the edge of the San Joaquin canyon, with a view right up it to the Ritter Range and Minarets from the
west side. That canyon is the second deepest on the continent, just behind the middle fork of the Kings a bit to the south. So as far the accessible part of it went,
elevation changed drastically even between so-called neighbors. That was a great thing when I was a kid. If it snowed up high and the plows couldn't get through, everybody had school cancelled, and we went out and had fun for the next few days. There were no phones yet, telling us that. We could just look out the window and know what to expect.

tgtaylor
21-Jul-2015, 16:27
It's not snowing up high but its raining and hailing with lightening strike all up and down the crest. Check out the current conditions for Forrester Past - the link is in post 4 above. Very warm storm pushing through right now - remnants of Hurricane Delores. Speaking of I-10:

This highway information is the latest reported as of Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 16:16 .

I 10
[IN THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AREA]
THE EASTBOUND & WESTBOUND CONNECTORS TO SOUTHBOUND I 710 /IN MONTEREY PARK/
(LOS ANGELES CO) ARE CLOSED FROM 2000 HRS EACH NIGHT TO 0600 HRS EACH MORNING
SUNDAY THRU THURSDAY THRU 7/23/15 - DUE TO CONSTRUCTION - DETOURS ARE AVAILABLE

THE EASTBOUND & WESTBOUND CONNECTORS TO NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND I 605
/IN BALDWIN PARK/ (LOS ANGELES CO) ARE CLOSED FROM 2100 HRS EACH NIGHT TO
0500 HRS EACH MORNING MONDAY THRU FRIDAY THRU 7/24/15 - DUE TO CONSTRUCTION
- DETOURS ARE AVAILABLE

IS CLOSED FROM THE NORTH JCT OF SR 86 /IN INDIO/ TO THE JCT OF SR 177
(RIVERSIDE CO) - DUE TO A WASHOUT - MOTORISTS ARE ADVISED TO USE AN ALTERNATE
ROUTE

Thomas

tgtaylor
22-Jul-2015, 09:43
More El Nino: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/heavy-storms-in-california-signify-return-of-el-nino/?ftag=YHF4eb9d17

Thomas

tgtaylor
22-Jul-2015, 11:20
Yosemite Valley received 3/4" of rain yesterday (can you believe it?) resulting in a mudslide that shut down Hwy 140 into the park.

Thomas

tgtaylor
4-Aug-2015, 09:05
I just posted some personal observations regarding the Brown Pelican and other wildlife for whom the San Francisco Bay is a food source: http://spiritsofsilver.com/field_notes A sign of global warming or El Nino, or both?

Thomas

In today's news: http://news.yahoo.com/drought-could-hurt-endangered-fish-caught-water-fight-051118177.html#

Thomas

Drew Wiley
4-Aug-2015, 09:37
It's the whole Delta and even SF Bay ecosystem that's endangered. As usual, everyone is fighting over water that isn't there. And once it is, they'll find some wayto waste it. Ultimately, it's all based on snowmelt. But what is done with that is obviously a very bitter bone of contention in the headlines almost daily. And now there is real drought even in the Northwest in places which were traditionally immune. The gist of the problem is that once saltwater starts intruding into the Delta, it's ruined for farming. And the flooding of rice fields out there is one of the remaining things keeping major waterfowl migration routes intact. Small fish are what keep bigger fish fed, and native Salmon runs are seriously endangered too. So it's getting to be a choice between eating salmon or almonds. When the infamous Floyd Dominy, the czar of the Bureau of Rec back in its dam-building day, was posed this question about salmon, he replied, "Let them eat cake", quoting Marie Antoinette.

dsphotog
4-Aug-2015, 10:01
The largest river in the state (by flow volume) is the man made California Aquaduct, its pumping from the delta, to L.A. full flow 24/7.

bobwysiwyg
4-Aug-2015, 12:51
The gist of the problem is that once saltwater starts intruding into the Delta, it's ruined for farming.

They would have to shut down intakes to avoid saltwater intrusion. It's a major source of drinking water for SoCal so more than just farming is affected.

Drew Wiley
4-Aug-2015, 13:49
Nowhere near that simple. Much of the Delta is below sea level. If there's not positive river flow flushing it out, the saltwater automatically intrudes from the Bay, not only into the farms (which are economically just as valuable as those on the West Side), but potentially affecting domestic water for numerous cities up here (those which don't have Sierra sources). It's a very finicky engineering system. Most of the water which SoCal steals gets stolen from them first by giant Kern Co. agribusiness. The standoff right now is basically high-cash water-intensive export income (almonds, other nuts) that are rushing to plant (both on speculation and for political leverage) versus fisheries and Delta farms potentially being ruined for decades or centuries to come. And "just farming" in this case involves about 90% of certain crops consumed in the US. Not much has changed since the Owens Valley water war over a century ago. Now people who wish to alter the plumbing simply arm themselves lawyers and corruptible politicians instead of sticks of dynamite.

tgtaylor
5-Aug-2015, 10:57
I just posted some personal observations regarding the Brown Pelican and other wildlife for whom the San Francisco Bay is a food source: http://spiritsofsilver.com/field_notes A sign of global warming or El Nino, or both?

Thomas

More in today's news: https://www.yahoo.com/health/toxic-algae-blooming-in-pacific-from-california-to-125925530927.html and
http://io9.com/all-signs-indicate-a-new-monster-el-nino-is-coming-1722216118

Thomas

Sirius Glass
5-Aug-2015, 14:25
They would have to shut down intakes to avoid saltwater intrusion. It's a major source of drinking water for SoCal so more than just farming is affected.

The problem is that the Central Valley farmers have wasted water by flooding fields for years. Now they want to continue to over plant almond trees and want to steal more water from southern California. On the other hand southern California needs to capture the rain runoff and store it for later use.

Nodda Duma
5-Aug-2015, 18:54
The problem is that the Central Valley farmers have wasted water by flooding fields for years. Now they want to continue to over plant almond trees and want to steal more water from southern California. On the other hand southern California needs to capture the rain runoff and store it for later use.

I think resorting to fantasy to denigrate the people who feed the masses is a bit much.

So Cal does have a system in place to capture runoff. The problem is there hasn't been any lately.

John Kasaian
5-Aug-2015, 20:36
Nearly all plantations here have been on drip ever since drip became viable. Some crops like alfalfa and cotton and vegetables require flood irrigation but not trees and vines.

Drew Wiley
6-Aug-2015, 09:24
Cotton has long been the "black hole" in the Calif water cosmos, and largely untouchable, since it's federally subsidized and most grown on land owned by five big Kern Co oil corporations - themselves politically untouchable. That kind of abuse did finally get mitigated to some extent already, but along with it, the price of melons went up nationwide, which were also mass-grown there. Watermelon, among others, need a lot of... you guessed it. But now they're pushing big almond groves further out into West side desert. The strategy seems to be to plant em and then demand the water at the expense of less lucrative crops. So what they're doing now is drilling deeper and deeper and perhaps depleting the piggy bank of the underground aquifer for decades to come. It's getting so bad that they're getting subsidence issues with roadbeds, building foundations, etc. But everything here follows the axiom, "water flows to money".

Sirius Glass
9-Aug-2015, 12:29
I think resorting to fantasy to denigrate the people who feed the masses is a bit much.

So Cal does have a system in place to capture runoff. The problem is there hasn't been any lately.

Yes, it is called the Pacific Ocean.