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Weather | The Mono-logue

‘Weather’ Category

Spring is springing at Mono Lake

Sunday, March 19th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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After what feels like an endless winter, signs of spring are starting to pop up all over the Mono Basin. Daytime highs in the mid to high 60’s mean that most of the snow around Mono Lake and in town has melted away. Morning commutes are feeling more and more like the crisp summer mornings I came to love while leading canoe tours and Nora, our Lead Naturalist Guide, has led the way, declaring it officially sandal weather.

We’re not the only ones enjoying the warmer weather; the songs of Red-winged Blackbirds, Cassin’s Finches, and Spotted Towhees can be heard through town. And a quick trip to the lake reveals that California Gulls have already begun to arrive for their summer nesting season.

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo by Nora Livingston.

Although we look forward to the warm and busy summer months ahead, we are excited to see that Mother Nature still has snow to share with Mono Lake. The forecast calls for a storm starting Tuesday and our hopes are high for a few more like it!

As of March 15 the lake is at 6378.2 feet above sea level and with all the snow we got this winter it will only continue to rise. It will be a great season and we cannot wait to share it with you.

Mono Basin March 2017 snowpack breaks March and April records

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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After the wettest February since 1986 at some survey sites, Mono Basin snowpack is more than double the March 1st average!

Snow water equivalent (SWE) ranges between 205% and 244% of average at the five snow survey sites in the Mono Basin (called snow courses). Gem Pass, Ellery Lake, and Saddlebag Lake have the highest March SWE on record. At the lowest-elevation snow survey site—Gem Lake at 9,150 feet above sea level—SWE was about 10 inches shy of the 1969 record, but it had reached the 1983 amount. The Tioga Pass snow course was 5 inches shy of the 1983 record. In the map below showing the snow courses, portions of the Lee Vining Creek (top) and Rush Creek (bottom) watersheds are outlined.

At Ellery Lake and Saddlebag Lake, in the Lee Vining Creek headwaters, March 1st SWE was already higher than the record April 1st SWE set in 1983. Map by Robbie DiPaolo.

At Ellery Lake and Saddlebag Lake, in the Lee Vining Creek headwaters, March 1st SWE was already higher than the record April 1st SWE set in 1983! Map by Robbie DiPaolo.

(more…)

Mono Basin snowpack is 200% of average for February 1

Sunday, February 5th, 2017 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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February 1 snow surveys conducted over the past week revealed an approximately 200% of average snow water content in the Mono Basin. This puts the April 1 average at just over 120%.

Outlook for April 1, 2017 peak snowpack at the Mono Basin's five snow courses based on February 1 snow surveys and historic data.

The current outlook for April 1, 2017 peak snowpack at the Mono Basin’s five snow courses based on February 1 snow surveys and historic data. Graph by Greg Reis.

It is still early in the season, but even with a dry February and March, it will be an above-average year, and with an average end to the season it will be a wet year. With a wet February and March, new April 1 records could be set!

We still need to build a fence to protect Mono Lake’s California Gulls

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Those who have been watching Mono Lake drop during the last five years of drought know that we here at the Mono Lake Committee have been preparing to protect nesting California Gulls from opportunistic coyotes with a temporary electric fence across the emerging landbridge.

California Gull parents and chicks on a nesting island in Mono Lake last summer. Photo by Sara Matthews.

And then this January happened! We got record amounts of snow and rain brought by atmospheric rivers—enough to see a visible rise in the level of Mono Lake. We started to hear the perceptive question: “Does this mean you don’t have to build the fence?”

We’re still going to build the fence. There are two main reasons…. (more…)

Mono Basin precipitation is among the wettest years so far

Thursday, January 26th, 2017 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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At the end of the wettest January in the 29-year record for Lee Vining, how do Mono Basin season totals for precipitation and snowfall compare to other years? The season precipitation total (since October) of approximately 15.84 inches of water is among the wettest years recorded since 1989. It is the second-wettest year to date (1997 was the wettest) that we’ve recorded in 29 years as of the end of January.

Lee Vining Monthly Precipitation

Lee Vining monthly precipitation. Graph by Greg Reis.

At Cain Ranch, five miles south of Lee Vining and more representative of the precipitation that falls on Mono Lake itself, the 2017 seasonal total of 9.44″ to date is sixth-wettest in 86 years. For both Cain Ranch and Lee Vining, these totals fall into the wettest 7% of years. (more…)

Sign up for 2017 Field Seminars on February 1

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Learn all about the region's fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Learn all about the region’s fascinating geological history with Yosemite geologist Greg Stock in Geology of the Mono Basin. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2017 Field Seminars is now available online here. Registration opens at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1.

This year’s slate of 28 Field Seminars spans many topics: basketry, oil painting, woodpeckers, moonlight photography, geology, mining history, fire ecology, butterflies, and more. (more…)

A skiing adventure to check Mono Lake’s level

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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This January is proving to be the wettest January in our weather recording history. In Lee Vining, we saw 5.5 inches of snow on January 4, and we received a combined 3.92 inches of rain on January 8 and 9. With all this water pouring into Mono Lake, I set out with my coworker Andrew to measure the lake level on cross country skis.

Mono Lake Committee Project Specialist Andrew Youssef. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

An amused Andrew shuffles towards Lee Vining Creek. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo.

It was Wednesday, January 11 at 10:00am. The sky was blue, the wind was calm, and the day before had enveloped the basin in (more…)

A snowy January at Mono Lake

Thursday, January 19th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Thanks to the recent snowfall, it looks like real winter in the Mono Basin for the first time in years! Photo by Nora Livingston.

Thanks to the recent snowfall, it looks like real winter in the Mono Basin for the first time in years! Photo by Nora Livingston.

So far January has been a wonderfully snowy month, bringing precipitation to the Mono Basin that we haven’t seen for six years, since the beginning of the recent drought. We thought some photos of the snow-covered basin might be in order…. (more…)

Atmospheric river brings approximately six inches of water to Mono Lake so far

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Mono Lake Committee hydrologists estimate that the series of atmospheric river storms we’ve been experiencing over the last week has brought enough water to the Mono Basin to raise Mono Lake by six inches.

geoff-in-la-times-video

Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin at the shore of a rising Mono Lake. Photo courtesy of Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times.

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, this lake level rise is very good news for the Mono Lake ecosystem, and it also means that some water will flow south to Los Angeles in 2017. Before these storms, the lake was low enough that it was looking likely that no water exports would be allowed.

As Committee Executive Director Geoff McQuilkin says in today’s LA Times video, “This event is going to keep the lake protected and it’s going to keep that water flowing to the city.” Thanks, atmospheric river—that’s a win-win!

Highway 395 closed due to blizzard conditions

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The atmospheric river keeps on giving! For nearly a week now, Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra have been receiving heavy snow and rain, which is great news for these drought-parched areas. But it does bring complications for people living and traveling here.

The Mono Lake Committee is open today, despite Highway 395 being closed. Photo by Lily Pastel.

The Mono Lake Committee is open today, despite Highway 395 being closed. Photo by Lily Pastel.

Highway 395 is closed today from Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport due to blizzard conditions, which are predicted to last until (more…)

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