Storm update 19th May 2019

I have spent the day hearing stories from PCT hikers in Idyllwild of challenging weather overnight, with probably all hikers bailing off the mountain at some point this morning (some even packing up camp in the early hours to descend).

Wind gusts were especially severe in the night. First hand reports of tents being literally destroyed by very strong winds came from Fobes saddle, between Spitler and Apache peaks, and near Red Tahquitz.

Snowfall totals were all in the range of 1-3″, with 2-3″ at San Jacinto Peak, about 2″ at Strawberry Junction (8100′) and on the north side of Red Tahquitz (8300′), 1-2″ at about 6500′ in upper Pine Cove, 1″ at Long Valley (8500′), and <1″ at Black Mountain (7700′). This depth of snow should not significantly impact route finding on the trail system. In many locations, slightly warmer conditions later in the morning turned the precipitation to rain, and there was no evidence of the snow by later in the day (e.g., at Long Valley).

Rainfall in Idyllwild (at 5550′) in the last 24 hours has been 0.84″, and 0.25″ at Long Valley. By this afternoon the rainfall had become very patchy, and the upper mountain was above the cloud in largely blue sky conditions.

WEATHER Further precipitation is forecast for tonight, mainly at lower to mid-elevations, with less than one inch of snow forecast for San Jacinto Peak, but potentially half-an-inch of rain, or even 1-2″ snow, at the elevation of Idyllwild (5000-6000′). Severe winds are again forecast for Tuesday 21st, and heavier precipitation (perhaps several inches of snow in the high country) for Wednesday 22nd.

There will be a full update on trail, snow, and weather conditions tomorrow afternoon (Monday 20th May).

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