Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Has Arrived

Update.--Well, spring is there in the lower elevations but the mid elevations are still experiencing colder temperatures and snow, see current data, update of graph below. The forecast is for warming temperatures returning later this week and into the week at the mid-elevations.

Original Post 4/16/12.--Spring arrived over this last weekend in the NP. While some areas of the NP, namely the northwest quadrant, have been snow free at lower elevations (below 2,500-3,000 feet), the other areas have had snow through the winter, like Longmore above. Over the weekend the warmer temperatures almost totally melted the foot-plus snow at Longmire.

This tread will continue with both warmer spring temperatures and rain forecast through this week and maybe into the weekend as the freezing level rises and stays above 4,000 feet. This is when the snowpack begins to decline with snowmelt. It's hard to know if this tread is not the seasonal one or an intermittent one, but while it's not common for snowmelt to start this early, it's not unusual either.

You can see this in today's plot of the snow water equivalent (SWE) for the Paradise SNOTEL (NRCS) site, below, the shortened blue line, last year's as the green line and normal (average) snowpack the light blue line.

You can see this year's snowpack with last years higher than normal snowpack and record snowmelt, meaning last until late August. It's likely the peak snowpack will vary somewhat for awhile before starting the seasonal snowmelt, which you can see in last year's sudden spike upward late in the season before the seasonal snowmelt.

So, it's fair to say spring will finally come to the lower elevations in the NP through the rest of April and into May and eventually to the mid-elevations in May and into June. Right now we can simply watch and wait.

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