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Seasonal Update | The Mono-logue

‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Mono Lake island closure and Osprey closure in effect

Monday, May 25th, 2015 by Robbie, Project Specialist
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An Osprey on its nest atop a tufa tower in Mono Lake. Photo by Erv Nichols.

An Osprey on its nest atop a tufa tower in Mono Lake. Photo by Erv Nichols.

As Mono Lake lovers know, Mono Lake is critical habitat for millions of birds. Many of these birds stop by on migration for the shrimp and fly soup buffet, but there are a few that have made Mono Lake their annual summer home getaway to nest and reproduce.

California Gulls are one of the most iconic seasonal residents. Gulls nest out on Mono Lake’s islands, laying eggs and raising chicks to fledging there during each summer. The “island closure” takes effect from April 1st to August 1st in order to protect the thousands of gulls and their chicks, so people must stay at least one mile away from (more…)

Mono Lake’s wet May keeps on keeping on

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Clouds have covered the Mono Basin for much of the last three weeks. Mono Lake on May 20. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Clouds have covered the Mono Basin for much of the last three weeks. Mono Lake on May 20. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

A week ago, at mid-month, we excitedly were tallying up the already-record-making Mono Basin precipitation totals for May and the rise in Mono Lake. Who would have thought that it would keep raining and snowing—especially during the driest year of one of the worst droughts on record?

Well, it has kept raining and snowing! (more…)

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … it’s open

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record … Tioga Pass reopened this morning!

It’s currently pouring rain in Lee Vining, however, so make sure to check weather conditions and road conditions before you travel. Given Tioga Pass’ track record this spring, it could close at any moment.

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … the pass is closed

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass has just closed again because of the predictions for snow tonight and into tomorrow. It has been raining on and off all day here in Lee Vining, with fairly cool temperatures, so we’re not surprised to see the pass close. We’re having an unseasonably cool and rainy May this year, so Tioga Pass will likely close and reopen several more times depending on the weather. Remember to check road conditions before you travel!

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … now it’s open

Monday, May 18th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass has reopened after last week’s stormy weather. We’re having an unseasonably cool and rainy May this year, so Tioga Pass will likely close and reopen several more times depending on the weather. Remember to check road conditions before you travel!

Wet weather causes Mono Lake to rise

Friday, May 15th, 2015 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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After the storm clouds cleared last Friday, Black Point had turned white under 14 inches of new snow. Photo by Lisa Cutting.

After the storm clouds cleared last Friday, Black Point had turned white under 14 inches of new snow. Photo by Lisa Cutting.

With May only half over, we have measured almost three inches of precipitation in Lee Vining—surpassing the usual total for all of April-September. This May has already beaten the previous records of 2.23 inches measured in May 1989 and 2.74 inches measured in May 1994. It has also been cold, with over 16 inches of snow already beating the 14.6 inches measured in May 1994. At Cain Ranch, it is already the third-wettest May since 1931.

As Rush Creek above Grant Lake Reservoir nears record-low flows for May, record highs for precipitation are welcome.

A cold May with 400% of average precipitation is very good news for Mono Lake. Reduced evaporation helps slow the declining lake level, and direct precipitation on the lake a week ago raised the level about a tenth of a foot. It now stands at 6379.0 feet above sea level, about a tenth of a foot higher than it was on May 1st. Mono Lake is projected to drop a tenth of a foot this month, but it is now looking like it will remain steady, and it could even have a net rise if the last half of the month is wet.

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … tonight it will be closing

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass will be closing tonight at 8:00pm due to a snowstorm predicted for tomorrow and through the weekend. In addition, Sonora Pass (Highway 108) will be closing today at 4:00pm.

Since Tioga Pass was opened for the season on May 4, this closure is temporary, and Yosemite National Park will open the road when the weather clears. Remember to always check road conditions before you travel.

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … today it is open

Monday, May 11th, 2015 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass has reopened after last week’s storm that dropped 14 inches of snow in Lee Vining. The storm brought a little over two inches of water to the area, and even raised Mono Lake by about a tenth of an inch! All the water we can get in this fourth dry year in a row is welcome, though we’re glad that the pass has reopened so visitors and locals alike can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Since Tioga Pass opened for the season a week ago, any future closures for weather-related reasons will be temporary. Do keep in mind that Tioga Pass can close anytime during spring storms, so always check road conditions before you travel.

Mother Nature smiles on Mono Lake

Friday, May 8th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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The numbers are in: 14 inches of snow and 2.07 inches of water in the last 24 hours! It’s looking like the most precipitation in California, and it’s safe to say that this kind of precipitation in May is off the charts.

Mono Lake Committee consulting hydrologist Peter Vorster is literally jumping with joy: “In year four of this drought, it sure feels like Mother Nature is smiling down on Mono Lake right now.”

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Geoff and Jess carefully pour the melted snow gauge water into the measuring tube.

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There was too much water for our measuring tube so we split it up and combined the readings for a total of 2.07 inches of water from the storm. Photos by Arya Degenhardt.

Understatement of the year: we needed this.

Lisa is down at the lake measuring the level right now—we’re dying to know if (more…)

Whoa. Snow!

Friday, May 8th, 2015 by Arya, Communications Director
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May 8, 2015. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

Here’s a taste of what things look like in Lee Vining this morning … we’re working on our official NOAA weather reading right now, but wanted to share our excitement for the snow first.

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Lily reading the snow depth. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

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From the Conway Summit overlook. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

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