Monday, May 2, 2011
The latest news, access and conditions, and monthly report are now available and you can find more at the photo guide for the NP. May is a strange month because the weather can be very dynamic from cool and cold to warm, with a variety of clear, cloudy, rain and yes snow at the upper elevations, especially this year with the late April snowfall and higher than normal snowpack.
The snowmelt normally starts around May 5-7th, but with the 125% and higher snowpack, it's expected to a be a long snowmelt with snow well through June and into July, with significant snow at the mid-to-upper elevations throughout the NP. This is especially important since many trailheads will be snow-free but you'll will encounter snow at the higher elevations.
So May is the month to be prepared for the full range of conditions. As of May 1st (photo above) there was about 20 feet of snow at Paradise, so that snow isn't going away very fast this year. This has also created hazardous conditions along roads and near snowbanks where the NPS is warning folks to be aware that the bank can easily collapse.
Otherwise, it's a great month to go. Visitors are increasing but not much outside the visitors centers, so opportunities are still there to get away from crowds, find a lot of snow, and see some really beautiful country. I will be working on the additional Web pages which need updates for the spring, and the improvement in the maps. This will take place through May.