The big long melt of 2017

We're just getting started -

 the snowmelt season will run into August


Yosemite Falls, June 2010

Warm weather this past week has gotten our spring snowmelt off to an inspired start, but the melt will last well into August.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, melting snow may flood some campsites in Yosemite Valley - hopefully merely a nuisance for park visitors. Figure 1 shows that the warm weather has increased the flow of the Merced River at Happy Isles (just below Vernal Falls). Figure 1 also shows the diurnal variation, with the highest flows occurring about midnight - a reflection of the travel time for the melting snow.happy_isles.jpg 

In case anybody is thinking the warm weather will melt the snow quickly and it is important to rush to Yosemite before it is all over, relax. Figure 2 below shows that the snowmelt season in 1983 lasted into August - we can expect more of the same this year. 


Hopefully, 2017 is a harbinger of things to come and we will have more wet years - with ample water supplies for California's farms, cities and wildlife, and also enough to replenish some of our depleted aquifers.. 

Still, we may not see another year like this one, so plan a trip to Yosemite or another spectacular Sierra destination this spring or summer. Be safe, but do not miss the show.