Happy Spring!March 20th, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
Today is the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. The days are now getting longer than the nights, the sun continues to move higher in the sky, and the snow line continues to move uphill. Our homepage has changed–winter photos are gone and spring photos have arrived!
Highs have been in the 60s and lows are around freezing. A colder weekend with some brief but heavy snow is expected Sunday morning, with highs returning to the 60s by the end of next week. More weather information can be found here.
WILDFLOWERS AND PLANTS
We still have about a month to go before the first Mono Basin blooms typically get showy. There are lots of green plants coming up out of the wet ground, and the first buds are on the trees. See the Wildflower Hotline for a weekly update of Southern California flowers and DesertUSA.com for photos of desert wildflowers. Visitors headed to Death Valley are experiencing scattered pockets of flowers but large areas of the Mojave Desert that had above average rainfall are very colorful. The area that burned last year in the foothills west of Yosemite is full of flowers!
BIRDS AND WILDLIFE
This morning I saw a pair of Flickers in the top of a pinyon pine acting like giddy teenagers. Birdsong fills the air more and more each morning as the birds return. California Gulls are back! Visit our bird sightings page!
Mono Lake‘s elevation peaked at 6382.39′ during the first week in March after the wet weather ended and has been dropping slightly since then to 6382.36’. This is about the same elevation it was at the end of September. With below average runoff expected this year the level will likely continue to drop. See our lake level and streamflows page for more details. Click here to plan your visit.
The snowpack is near-average in the Sierra Nevada west of Mono Lake. In a week, snow surveys will record the annual peak snowpack and in about a month plowing of Tioga Pass Road will begin. Some useful links:
All winter closures are still in effect. Conditions can change, so always check 1-800-GAS-ROAD before traveling or check our road conditions page.