Snow storm update 10th April 2020

[UPDATE 11th April: I recorded a short video on Deer Springs Trail at the top of Seven Pines Trail late this morning. Snow was deep – for an April storm – on the west side, but I forgot to mention in the video that on the eastern side at similar elevation (Long Valley) there is less than half the depth of snow.]

We just returned from a hike to Humber Park, where current snow depth is 14″ at Devil’s Slide trailhead (6500′). A short video recorded there gives a feel for current conditions.

This protracted, mild, five day storm system feels like it is coming to an end, although it is still snowing off-and-on today, and a few more inches may fall in the next few hours.. We have hiked somewhere on the trail system every day this week, monitoring the changing conditions.

Settled snow level is at about 5000′ elevation, although this relatively warm system has consistently produced rain up to 6000′, and started on 6th/7th April with freezing rain up to 8500′. Consequently snow cover is thin and patchy below about 6000′.

Since Sunday night, Idyllwild (at 5550′) has recorded 2.49″ rain plus 8.0″ snow. Only about 2-4″ remains patchily settled at that elevation as melting has often exceeded snowfall.

Deepest fresh snow accumulation is expected between 6000-9000′, especially on southern and western sides of the mountain range. For most of the past five days, the high country has been above the cloud level, with for example Long Valley (8600′) so far receiving only about 8″ fresh snow (for a total of about 12″).

Hopefully it goes without saying that the entire trail system above about 5500′ elevation is heavily obscured by fresh snowfall. Extremely cautious navigation is required everywhere.

The current closure of the trailheads, status of the trail system, and other important Covid-19 related links are given in the previous Report.

Rapid warming – and melting – is expected starting tomorrow, with sunny days and overnight low temperatures well above freezing at almost all elevations forecast for the next ten days at least.

Saddle Junction (8100′) on 8th April 2020 (above) and the same view for comparison on 6th April 2020 (below).

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