Tuolumne Meadows Winter Report 1-7-09

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Here’s the Tuolumne Meadows Winter Report from Jeff and Kathi the winter rangers toughing it out in the Yosemite high country.

January 7, 2009
Weather: (January 1 through January 7)
High temp: 50° (Jan1 and Jan 7)
Low temp: -14 (Jan 4)
New Snow: 5” (Jan 3 and Jan 6)
Total settled snow depth: 22” as of January 7

Ski Conditions and Weather: The first week of the new year brought a couple of weak disturbances through Tuolumne, bringing mostly wind and little snow. We added another 5 inches of snow with the water equivalent of 0.45 inches. We also saw our lowest overnight temperature of the season so far, -14 on January 4. We are warming up quite a bit during the afternoon, south facing slopes are getting some extreme solar radiation.

Touring is best in the morning before the sun starts to turn the snow to mush. The new snow, combined with the warm temperatures, have made skiing quite variable, sticky in the sun and slick in the shade. While the coverage is getting better, there are still lots of obstacles to hit on the steeper terrain. Caution is advised.

Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to www.esavalanche.org for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times a week and more often during weather events.

Wildlife: We got to see lots of tracks in the fresh snow. Pine Marten, smaller weasel, (possibly Ermine), White-tailed Jackrabbit, Coyote, Chickaree, along with many tiny rodent tracks. A little mouse jumped in our recycling bucket during the night and couldn’t get back out. It was shivering and terrified when we discovered it in the morning. We are glad to report it has its freedom back. Birds seen this week include the Mountain Chickadee, Red Breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, and Clark’s Nutcracker.

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