Brief snow update 22nd May 2019

[UPDATE 22nd May at 2020: contrary to what was generally forecast, heavy snowfall accumulated rapidly at all elevations above 5000′ in mid-afternoon today. In Idyllwild we had 1.75″ in about two hours, with 3-4″ reported in Pine Cove, and 2-3″ in Long Valley. An additional 4″ fell at Wellman Divide (for a total this week of 10″) and 6″ fell above 10,000′ (for a total of 14″). The snow stopped and the mountain partly cleared at about 1700 this evening, with melting already underway in Idyllwild at dusk. I hope to do a comprehensive update of conditions tomorrow afternoon.][Many thanks to Kyle Eubanks for snow data from the Tram side of San Jacinto Peak.]

We hiked this morning to Tahquitz Peak (8836′) via South Ridge Trail, also checking the trail from Tahquitz through to Chinquapin Flat. For a more detailed review of the trails since the snow storm on 20th May, see the previous report. I recorded the following video at Tahquitz at about 1100 this morning.

After recording that video, there has been more snowfall in the high country, with for example 1-2″ fresh snow at Long Valley (8500′) since 0800 this morning. We hiked through some very light snowfall (graupel) on South Ridge on our descent also. The highest peaks (>10,000′) were above the cloud for most of the morning at least.

Melting has removed most snow below 8000′ (and almost all snow below 7000′). However freeze-thaw cycles have turned remaining snow icy, so microspikes are recommended everywhere above 8000′ at present, and may be useful at lower elevations in some places. This advice will remain valid throughout the Memorial Day weekend.

Tahquitz Peak trail to Chinquapin Flat is readily passable with microspikes for those comfortable with basic snow hiking, as the trail has no significant angled icy patches and only 1-3″ snow on the trail (see photo below).

The steepest section of the Chinquapin Flat to Tahquitz Peak trail this morning, 22nd May 2019.

WEATHER More light precipitation is forecast at all elevations for this afternoon and tonight (at least 2-4″ snow above 8000′), and then again in the middle of the day tomorrow, 23rd May. A warming trend – with steady melting of snow – will slowly take hold commencing Friday 24th.

Above and below, spectacular rime ice patterns on the rocks at Tahquitz Peak ths morning, 22nd May 2019.

2 thoughts on “Brief snow update 22nd May 2019

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