Storm updates 10th March 2020

UPDATED 11th March @ 0500

Given the unpredictable weather situation over the next couple of days, the next full update may not be until Friday 13th. Current trail conditions below 9000′ (the high point of the PCT in the San Jacinto mountains) closely resemble the previous posting linked here.

Above 9000′ there is continuous snow cover, only a couple of inches deep in areas that had previously cleared, but a little over one foot deep near the highest peaks.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway was unexpectedly shut yesterday, so it is unlikely anyone made it to the Peak yesterday, and my tracks may have been obscured by a combination of melting, rain, and spindrift.

UPDATED 10th March @ 1630

Melting has been astoundingly rapid following the overnight snowfall. On my descent from San Jacinto Peak this afternoon there was partial melting everywhere below 9800′. From 8900′ down basically all snow from this morning had completely disappeared. Devil’s Slide Trail actually has less snow now than it did 24 hours ago!

The very rapid clearing is good news for the PCT, as snow from today only persists on top of pre-existing snow, and even then is only 1-2″ deep at most.

As I dropped below 7000′ on Devil’s Slide Trail at 1530 it started to rain, and has continued to do so in Idyllwild for the past hour, totaling 0.3″. However the high country remains above this precipitation (and it is certainly too warm for anything to settle anyway).

UPDATED 10th March @ 1205

Now at San Jacinto Peak which had a fresh snowfall of 4.5″ overnight. Currently the cloud level must be at approx. 11000′ as the sun is trying to emerge between occasional brief flurries of very fine grain snow (not accumulating).

Although the air temperature is relatively mild at just a few degrees below freezing, a bitter due South wind gusting to about 25mph is giving a windchill near 10°F (-12°C).

A little more detail on current trail conditions. The PCT was not significantly impacted by last night’s storm, as only 1-2″ of very wet and patchy snow fell below 9000′. It was so mild on my ascent this morning that melting was already evident everywhere below about 9500′.

Snow cover is continuous at 2-4″ deep on trails above 9000′. As the snow was so wet (and heavy), drifting has fortunately been quite limited.

The system was so warm that it rained all the way to San Jacinto Peak early this morning – after it had snowed – and there is a thick coating of verglas on all surfaces above about 8500′.

UPDATED 10th March @ 1010

Stopped raining at 0700. Snow dusted down to 7600′ on Devil’s Slide Trail, but only truly settled above 8000′. One inch of patchy melting snow at Saddle Junction (8100′), 2.5″ at Annie’s Junction (9070′), and 3.5″ at Wellman Divide (9700′).

UPDATED 10th March @ 0630

Rainfall started in Idyllwild at about 2130 last night, and has so far added up to an impressive 0.84″ (at 5550′ elevation). Fresh snowfall overnight in Long Valley (8600′) was about 3-4″.
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