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All Time Record Snowpack in California Sierra Nevada

Truly, the Sierra are nevada.

The storm three days ago dumped another 2 to 3 feet of snow on the Sierra Nevada in areas I frequent. According to Dennis Mattinson’s Eastern Sierra weather blog (see also his Hwy 395 Weather site) we are now at an all-time record and with another storm heading in soon:

MON APR 10 2017: Saturday saw brisk conditions with a continuation of rain and snow showers with gusty winds. Mammoth Mountain is now at 586 inches for the season. But what is more important, the latest update from DWP showed the water content at Mammoth Pass at 88.0 inches of water. The record breaking winter of 1969 saw 86.5 inches. That makes the winter of 2017 the biggest winter in recorded history!

Sunday the “one shot system” cleared the area leaving cool temps and sunny skies, as shortwave ridging fills in behind. But this won’t last for long, as a weak system brings some snow showers to the mountains on Tuesday, then another stronger system Wednesday night into Thursday. So Stay tuned

We can use the water, but I’m feeling grumpy now, sort of: so much snow this year that many of my favorite haunts will be snowbound until mid July—50 feet of snow at higher elevations will take a long time to melt (and not all of it will). That said, a warm rain last month melted most snow at 7000' and below, where it had also been deep, making it all very misleading unless one goes up in elevation and sees the impressive depth. Most frustrating is that several favorite fishing holes and photographic favorite sites are not likely to ice-out until mid July. Barring very hot weather for a few weeks.

I spoke to the two caretakers at the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine, who told me that they think half the bighorn sheep died from avalanches this winter. Many deer died also, because their range was tightly restricted by the snow moving almost into the bottom of the Owens valley, greatly reducing the food supply and concentrating the deer all competing for the remaining forage. This also concentrated mountain lions, with three individuals in the Pine Creek valley alone (highly unusual for anti-social animals which require a large range for adequate meat supply, but a dense food source will do that).

Flooding could be modest to severe this year, but that depends heavily on whether we have a heat wave that could cause rapid melting and thus severe flooding (I would not want to live near Sacramento!). The Owens River in the Owens Valley was already flooding its banks in the middle areas in early April and old dry and stagnant drainages that have not seen water in years may run deep for a while when LADWP starts making big water releases, as it has begun to do. This will kill bass in some areas from fast high volume water flows that bass cannot tolerate. The best thing would be for a long cool spring into July, for steady but not overly rapid melting.

I am deeply unhappy at the incompetent autofocus of the Fujifilm GFX, unable to give me a sharp image here and with many other field images at distance, though this is image is good enough for web display when downsized. Is it that hard to focus on high contrast black and white subject matter dead-center in the frame? I can find no way to reliably obtain optimal focus either with autofocus or manual focus with the GFX. See Fujifilm GFX Autofocus and Manual Focus in the Field which shows the full-res version of this image, badly damaged by focusing incompetence of the GFX.

Mt Warren (?) at 12326' elevation towers above Lundy Canyon and Lundy Reservoir
f6.4 @ 1/1800 sec, ISO 100; 2017-03-30 15:44:41
GFX 50S + Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR @ 95mm equiv (120mm)

[low-res image for bot]

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