2015-02-19 / Front Page

Snow report: bad, and not just for skiers

The county's Badger Pass ski area enjoyed about two feet of snow following storms in December. Snow-wise, it's been downhill ever since. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)The county's Badger Pass ski area enjoyed about two feet of snow following storms in December. Snow-wise, it's been downhill ever since. (Erik Skindrud | The GAZETTE)Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. - Yosemite Ranger Rob Pilewski issued a  stunning snow report today--just two inches at 8,600-ft. Tuolumne Meadows.

While the report is bad news for skiers, it's also an ill omen for everyone who lives in the Sierra foothills. Without snow-fed groundwater, wildfire potential may quickly rise to hazardous levels and county wells could be even more wrung-out this coming dry season, experts say.

"This is getting pretty grim," Pilewski wrote, adding that skiing was pretty much out of the question below 9,500 feet.

A week ago, the National Weather Service's Hanford office posted a photo of a sunny and dry Yosemite trail at 8,100 feet to its Twitter account.  

"Looks like August," the accompanying caption read.

A snowless Yosemite trail at 8,100 feet looked more "like August" earlier this month, forecasters at the National Weather Service's Hanford office noted last week. (Elizabeth Christie | CONTRIBUTED)A snowless Yosemite trail at 8,100 feet looked more "like August" earlier this month, forecasters at the National Weather Service's Hanford office noted last week. (Elizabeth Christie | CONTRIBUTED)

"As bad as last winter was for the (California) snowpack, this year is worse," Doug Carlson of the state's Department of Water Resources commented earlier this month.

As of Feb. 26, forecasters were calling for 6-to-10 inches of snow through Wednesday, March 4.

The Sierra snowpack normally reaches its maximum depth in early April, with multiple feet of snow the norm at locations like Tuolumne Meadows.


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