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Snow and Water levels 2011

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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon May 02, 2011 10:52 am

I note that Cedar Grove is already open (anyone been there yet?)


I might be headed there this weekend so i'll let you know what it's like.

Even further South around Kennedy Meadows the snow does not start until about 8000 feet.



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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby tim » Mon May 02, 2011 11:52 am

I might be headed there this weekend so i'll let you know what it's like.


We might see you there (again - we met at Iva Bell Hot Springs last August when I was hiking with my twins).
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby RoguePhotonic » Mon May 02, 2011 1:23 pm

Really? You were the one I talked to in the evening with the kids as I scouted out the springs? I didn't know that was you.

If I do go I don't know what my plans will be because the friend I am going with is really out of shape so we will probably just do some easy day hikes.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby kpeter » Mon May 02, 2011 8:06 pm

WD, you were right about the automated gauges. I went back to the drawing boards and just analyzed data from the May 1 manual reads--which tell a somewhat wetter story.

A lot of stations have not reported yet, but I was able to find 7 stations that had reported, that represented a variety of elevations and latitudes, and that had complete data for all our comparison years. (The stations were: Vernon Lake, Tenaya Lake, Dana Meadows, Pioneer Basin, Blackcap Basin, Crabtree Meadow, and Cottonwood Pass. All comparisons across years are May 1 to May 1.)

Overall, the total water content of these 7 stations is very close to 1998 and 2006. 1995 was substantially wetter, while 1993 was drier. 2010 (last year) was much drier.

While it is nice to know that 1998, 2006, and 2011 are almost identical in May 1 snowpack in typical backpacking terrain, it unfortunately doesn't tell us very much about how late the season might be.

Remember that 1998 melted out three weeks later than 2006 with exactly the same May 1 water content. This could still wind up being a normal year if the next six weeks are warm like 2006, or it could be a very late year if the temps are cool like 1998.

Best Odds: If we split the difference between our "sister years" of 2006 and 1998 we will be about 10 days behind an average year, or 4-5 days behind last year.

Factoids:
1. Vernon Lake is wet this year! With 40" it is wetter than in any of the comparison years.

2. Blackcap Basin is drier than any of the comparison years (not counting 2010.)

3. Pioneer Basin is as wet as 1995. That bodes poorly for me, since I had wanted to cross it in late July.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby oldranger » Mon May 02, 2011 8:40 pm

Kpeter

I would bet that the s. aspect of Pioneer basin will result in a fairly rapid melt and you will do OK. If you are going over a col to the n then all bets are off as to conditions on the north side. Now the lake Russ wants to fish is the same elevation a little further n. and in a N. facing cirque. I'm guessing his lake will be snow and ice bound until sometime in early August.

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: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby rlown » Mon May 02, 2011 8:45 pm

oldranger wrote:Now the lake Russ wants to fish is the same elevation a little further n. and in a N. facing cirque. I'm guessing his lake will be snow and ice bound until sometime in early August.

Mike


My supposed hiking partner doesn't believe that to be the case, so he'll be the one on the end of a flimsy rope, with an ice axe or really heavy saw, cutting a casting channel through that pig. I fear our permit is a week too early.

Russ
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby kpeter » Tue May 03, 2011 10:43 pm

"California Department of Water Resources
News for Immediate Release
May 2, 2011
DWR Announces Results of Final Snow Survey of 2010-2011 Season

SACRAMENTO -- Manual and electronic readings today show that California's
near-record snowpack is slowly melting with warming spring weather.
But snowpack water content is still 144 percent of the April 1 full season average.
Today's readings will help hydrologists forecast spring and summer snowmelt runoff
into rivers and reservoirs. The melting snow supplies approximately one-third of the
water used by Californians."


I believe we were at 165% of normal as of April 1 in Sierra North and Sierra Central, so there has indeed been some melting in April. Not a lot of melting but many years there is NO melting in April, so this is significant.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby quentinc » Wed May 04, 2011 7:58 pm

RoguePhotonic wrote:Even further South around Kennedy Meadows the snow does not start until about 8000 feet.

There wasn't even a trace of snow on the PCT, where it hits 8000 just south of Kennedy "Meadows" (talk about euphemisms -- I know a desert when I see one!). There was snow on the nearby peaks, starting probably a bit over 8,000. Guess I'll be spending lots of time on the Kern Plateau in June, peeking north towards where I'd really like to be.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby East Side Hiker » Thu May 05, 2011 7:21 am

I have to admit that I don't carefully read every comment. So I am many times ignorent of the line of thought sometimes.

But there is no doubt that there will be a serious run-off problem this year and there will be problems at drainage crossings. If you are really concerned, which we all should be, best to read all the advice people have expressed on this site. They obviously know, and have the experience to share with ya all. If we get a hot spell or a "Pineapple Express" look out. Watch the weather reports. And other situations can be probrelms, such as rock slides. The freezing and thawing of moisture in rocks is going to cause problems.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby RoguePhotonic » Thu May 05, 2011 7:28 am

There wasn't even a trace of snow on the PCT, where it hits 8000 just south of Kennedy "Meadows"


Hopefully it was free of trees also. We took about 150 trees off the trail two weeks ago.
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby quentinc » Thu May 05, 2011 9:20 am

You have my eternal gratitude then. There were about 3 trees in 20+ miles, all easy to get around. About a month ago I did a stretch of the PCT by Lancaster and the downed trees made it absolutely miserable!
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Re: Snow and Water levels 2011

Postby richlong8 » Thu May 05, 2011 12:56 pm

I am glad I am not the only one in the world who spends too much time on the CDEC site!
I did not see this link listed, so I will post it. It is the Active Snow Depth Sensor Page that lists them all, and is a good jumping off point for those who might be newer to HST. I put the sites of most interest to me in an Excel spreadsheet hyperlinked, and it speeds the process of looking up snow depth/contents.

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/misc/SnowDepth.html
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