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Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

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Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby sierray » Thu May 20, 2010 9:10 am

Hi folks,

Please give me your opinion of what you think relative water availability will be like this summer in the Sierra between the Tahoe Rim Trail and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park. Significantly more than average? Approximately average? I will backpack either the Tahoe Rim Trail or the Lodgepole/Mineral King area of SEKI between July 12 and August 15. Thanks for your input.

Ray



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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby The Other Tom » Thu May 20, 2010 2:07 pm

Due to the heavy snow this year, I would guess more than average.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby TehipiteTom » Thu May 20, 2010 5:37 pm

The good news is there should be lots of water. The bad news is...there should be lots of water. And in mid-July (maybe even later this year) a good deal of it will likely still be snow.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby oldranger » Fri May 21, 2010 7:17 am

At risk of looking foolish later this summer. I think that impacts of this years snowfall will be limited after mid July with a couple of caveats. North slopes, west of the Crest above 10,500 are likely to still hold snow. Peak runoff period will be past but larger river crossings will still be dicey (e.g. I don't think I would want to cross the Kings near Simpson Meadow.) As for me I plan to be fishing an 11,000+ lake in Kings Canyon NP around July 25 or so. I'd prefer a week later but that is as late as I can go with my son before he reports for Coast Guard bootcamp. I expect that snow for frozen daiquiries will be easily available and mosquitos will be buzzing!

Mike
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby TehipiteTom » Fri May 21, 2010 8:30 am

oldranger wrote:At risk of looking foolish later this summer. I think that impacts of this years snowfall will be limited after mid July with a couple of caveats. North slopes, west of the Crest above 10,500 are likely to still hold snow. Peak runoff period will be past but larger river crossings will still be dicey (e.g. I don't think I would want to cross the Kings near Simpson Meadow.) As for me I plan to be fishing an 11,000+ lake in Kings Canyon NP around July 25 or so. I'd prefer a week later but that is as late as I can go with my son before he reports for Coast Guard bootcamp. I expect that snow for frozen daiquiries will be easily available and mosquitos will be buzzing!

Mike

I'd have agreed with this a coupla weeks ago. Since then we've had a) more storms dropping more snow (~150% of 'normal' snowpack at this point), and more importantly b) we're having one of those crappy cold springs that doesn't melt much of anything. My money is on a lotta snow lingering well into the summer.

But of course this, too, is at the risk of looking foolish later this summer.
:wink:
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri May 21, 2010 6:31 pm

I would say it is still up in the air. The southern Sierra is only a bit above normal; the northern Sierra is a LOT above normal with more snow this weekend. I do not think the southern Sierra has been getting all the storms that we have up here. It can get hot real fast and melt quickly. All depends on what happens in June. I would, however, guess that there will not be dried up streams late or huge lake bathtub rings this summer, like there were in 2007-8. And I would guess peak wildflower season will be a few weeks later than normal.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby SSSdave » Fri May 21, 2010 7:42 pm

Just look at all the snow in some of the pics at the NPS road info site:

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm

By the end of May TP often opens. Have seen several years when it opened with hardly any snow on TM and just a few big snow banks roadside east of the pass. This year that Lembert Dome pic shows its a total ice box. Although the total rainfall season precipitation in the Sierra is well below epic El Nino years, I've never seen as many late season storms and cool temps in the northern and central Sierra during my lifetime. Accordingly mid and lower elevation areas have as much snow as in the big years because little has melted and much has accumulated late, while higher areas have lower total depths versus the big years. I'd bet alot of early season backpackers, the ones that always seem eager to push into still melting snow areas, are going to be surprised at the size of stream crossings.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby gdurkee » Mon May 24, 2010 11:39 am

For Sequoia Kings, there is almost NO melt going on at high elevations. Looks like another cold week ahead (it was 8 F at Charlotte last week -- that just never happens in late May). Rivers are not even close to cresting. Which is all to say the high passes will probably have serious snow until July 20+. If we get a sudden and sustained warming, that could move it up maybe a week, but no more more at this point.

It's looking like at least 2005; perhaps even 1998.

g.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby Snow Nymph » Mon May 24, 2010 11:52 am

A few weeks ago there was a lot of water in Monache Meadows (So Sierra):
Image
In May 2007 we were worried about finding water in the almost dry creek down there. We were crossing creeks while hiking to Olancha Peak.

It was cold in Mammoth this weekend. Our front yard was covered with snow Sun morning, but melted by Sun afternoon.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby kpeter » Mon May 24, 2010 10:20 pm

If you look at the Charlotte Lake snow gauge and the click on "SWE Graph" you can get a chart of snow/water content levels for last season and this season.

http://postholer.com/postholer/station. ... e=20100415

What I notice is how quickly the melt occurs once it gets started. Last year the snowpack at Charlotte Lake went from nearly its peak to nothing in about 3 weeks. If we had a warm June, then given the extra snowpack that might take a week longer.

What I take away from this is that the warmth of June matters a whole lot more than the size of the snowpack. I'm nervous not about the fact that there is still 85" of snow at Charlotte but the possibility that the cool weather pattern in May might continue into June. Now that would set things back.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby gdurkee » Tue May 25, 2010 7:31 am

That is possible, though I'd put it at least 10 days behind last year, at least. I think early PCT hikers are going to have a major thrash when they come through in 2 weeks or so. I'm not sure where the PCT site is getting their data, but here's real time from DWR:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/quer ... an=12hours

Today it's showing 51" of snow. The good news is that it is melting, though it's darned cold out there.

Here's all the sensors. Only some have the ability to show snow depth. Many just show water content but you can calibrate by using stations that do show depth for similar water content.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/snow/current/snow/
When you look at a station's graph, go to "real time" data.

g.
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Re: Your thoughts on Summer 2010 Sierra water?

Postby kpeter » Tue May 25, 2010 2:05 pm

Yes, I just checked again and the PCT "Postholer" site is still displaying data from April 15. Odd. But what this means is that Charlotte Lake has gone from 85' to 51" in about 6 weeks that had much cooler weather than normal and even additional snowfall.

A few really warm weeks would take care of the 51". Unfortunately, we had a front page story yesterday that May had broken records for being a cool month and that the pattern would probably extend into June. If it takes us six weeks to lose another 34" then we will indeed be way behind. That gauge shows that there have been some days recently when Charlotte did not get about freezing the whole day. Today it looks like it will be in the high 30s for a couple of hours. Not encouraging.
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