New snow: none
Total settled snow depth: 33 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 57°F (April 3)
Low temperature: 15°F (April 6)
March Weather Summary
New Snow: 45 inches (historical average 55.5 inches)
Snow Water Equivalent: 2.84 inches (historical average 3.87 inches)
Average Temperature: 26.0°F (historical average 28.5°F)
Ski Conditions and Weather
It was warm and dry in the Yosemite high country this week. The sound of wind has been replaced by the sound of running water. The Tuolumne River is opening up fast and snow depths are shrinking. Although our snow stake still shows 33 inches at our weather plot, more bare ground is appearing daily. South aspects below 9,000 feet are now mostly snow free.
Ski conditions and coverage remain good on all but south aspects along the Tioga Road and adjacent high country. The continued melt-freeze cycles should keep touring conditions in good shape for now. The rapid warm up over the past week has also resulted in rapid changes to the snow surface. Fast travel over refrozen snow in the morning becomes a slow slog through the mank (slushy snow) during the heat of the day. An early start to snow travel is always beneficial this time of year.
The Tioga Road is mostly snow covered through Yosemite National Park from Tioga Pass to Crane Flat. Snow depths average from one to four feet with deeper snow in favored locations. As of this writing, to the east it is bare pavement between the closed gate in Lee Vining Canyon and the Warren Fork. There is only patchy snow left between the Warren Fork and Ellery Lake. Above Ellery Lake the road is mostly snow covered.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions
Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
The avalanche hazard is low to moderate in the Tuolumne Meadows area and along the Tioga Road. For now, the primary concern will be wet loose avalanches on granite slabs and rocky outcrops during the heat of the day. The higher elevations are still holding on to a mostly winter-like snow surface. South aspects above 9,000 feet are starting to corn up. The snow surface in the alpine zone is still textured after a winter of high winds.
An ice-ax and crampons are good to have in the kit this time of year.
The sound of drumming is in the air. Hairy woodpeckers and northern flickers are pounding away on the tree snags. The peculiar screech of the Williamson's sapsucker can now be heard. If it weren't for these unique calls, one might mistake the sight of the female Williamson's sapsucker for a more drab version of the northern flicker. The male Williamson's sapsucker, however, like many bird species, is more striking with two white wing patches, a red throat and yellow belly.
The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is closed for the 2020-2021 season.