Sunday, September 28, 2014

Early Snow in the Sierra Nevada! During a field trip, of course.

Snow-capped peaks above Hope Valley
What a difference a week can make! Seven days ago I was in the Owens Valley and eastern Sierra Nevada, and though we got a bit of inclement weather, it was a warm storm, and we were barely inconvenienced. The pictures (here and here) show little in the way of new snow or ice. But then there was this last weekend. I was leading a short tour of Lake Tahoe for conferees at the SciX conference in Reno, Nevada, and from the moment we arrived at the lake on Friday to this afternoon, it was raining and snowing.
Fall colors and snow at Carson Pass
Lake Tahoe may have received on the order of two inches of rain, and a fair mantle of snow could be seen on the peaks above 8,000-9,000 feet. The white snow combined with the just-beginning fall colors was a beautiful sight. It kind of wreaked havoc with our field trip though. The rain was constant and the temperature never rose above 43 degrees or so. It was snowing on us at Mt. Rose Summit. Our only comfortable discussion took place inside the visitor center at Sand Harbor near Incline Village.
Lake Tahoe near Cave Rock on Saturday
Just the same, I wouldn't have changed a thing. California is in the midst of a horrific drought of epic proportions. The situation is growing desperate in California and other parts of the American Southwest and it will take several years of normal and above-normal precipitation to make up the steep deficit. An early snowfall is a good sign and hopeful beginning to the new water year.
On Highway 88 below Cook's Station
As we were coming home this evening we were treated to a wonderful sky show as the storm began breaking up. At times the cumulus clouds looked like volcanic eruptions or nuclear bombs in the distance.
Oaks and cumulus clouds near Mokelumne Hill and Valley Springs
The storm had petered out by the time we reached our prairie-lands around Milton and Oakdale. We were treated to a colorful sunset.


biobabbler said...

Wow--those are some GLORIOUS skies. First rate photos, too. NICE! (True measure: i'm TOTALLY jealous of those views & the great photos you took)

We were on the east side (Mammoth Lakes, etc.) this weekend, and drove to Minaret Vista for the crazy view yesterday and saw... snow on trees and CLOUDS. Raining and 37F. =) On our way through Yosemite to GET to the east side Saturday a.m., I asked DH if we could stop at Olmsted Point on the way back. "Sure!"

Raining and cold and 100% socked in. A stunning view of cloud-in-your-face. =) However, we have RAIN, which is lovely, and you and your people did not have to suck a bunch of smoke from the King Fire, which is also a giant bonus.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your well-deserved mention in WaPo! AgTerrane