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Tracks in the snow

January 27th, 2010 by Mono Lake Committee Staff
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Deer tracks on the Lee Vining Creek trail. Photo by Rose Wilson

Deer tracks on the Lee Vining Creek trail. Photo by Rose Wilson.

This post was written by Rosanne Catron, 2010 Project Specialist.

Over the last few days the Mono Basin has really shown us a full range of weather and light—deep poconip, light dustings of snow, and brilliant sunshine glinting off the lake. Each morning I wake to a new story told in the windblown snow, the story of the little, quiet animals that creep about the basin at night while most of us are sleeping. There are the rabbit tracks in the alley, scooting from their cozy snow caves in search of food. Outside my door a pair of raccoons wanders almost nightly, leaving teeny, human-like prints in the snow. Best are the bird tracks, big and small, marking where they sheltered from the wind or alighted before heading for the trees. I never see these creatures—by the time I creak open the door they are long gone, scurrying at the sound of my footsteps. But I love knowing they were there before me—the footprints of deer on the Lee Vining Creek trail or the minuscule trace of mice feet and a dragging tail on the fresh snow behind the visitor center. One thing I’ll really miss come spring is the story these wandering footprints tell.

Low pressure snow shovel muscles

January 22nd, 2010 by Bartshé, Education Director
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We are all getting bulked up on the white stuff. Yesterday I spent six hours shoveling between my roof and the berm left by the snow plow. It’s a pleasure to see this much snow, and it’s the first time in a while that this much has fallen around Mono Lake. We measured 33.2″ from Monday to Friday this week at our weather station here in Lee Vining. Thursday’s storm (1-21-2010)  set all-time low barometric pressure records for the San Joaquin Valley, to Reno, to Las Vegas. I don’t know if there’s an official barometer for Lee Vining, but the pressure dropped to just above 983 millibars/29.04 inches on one local weather station, the the lowest I’ve ever seen it.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

A view to the north from the south-bound lanes of Highway 395, through the middle of Lee Vining.

SERCAL Conference – Mono Lake to figure prominently

January 21st, 2010 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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sercal image

Even though the snow continues and summer seems a long way off, Mono Lake Committee staff are busy planning for the California Society for Ecological Restoration Annual Conference, which will be held in Mammoth Lakes, May 19–22, 2010. Plenary speakers will include David Nahai, former General Manager of Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and our Executive Director, Geoff McQuilkin. Don’t miss … more »

More snow – Highway 395 closed overnight

January 20th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Greg Reis stands knee-deep in fresh snow near the Mono Lake Committee's weather station. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Greg Reis stands knee-deep in fresh snow near the Mono Lake Committee's weather station. Photo by Elin Ljung.

After a one-day break in the storms—a day of just a few flurries and a night of wind-drifting snow—the snowfall has returned and it means business!

It started accumulating before 9:00 am this morning, and by 1:00 pm we had 3 inches of new snow and by 2:00 pm we had 4 more inches!!! These are amazing hourly rates and we need to keep a close eye on our weather instruments to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed. Our internet rain gauge is measuring water content up to 0.15 inches per hour. There is a delay because a heater has to melt the snow, and we have to break through any snow bridges that form over the heated gauge.

Highway 395 closed just after 1:30 pm between Mammoth and Bridgeport—the plows just weren’t able to keep up—and our staff got home to Mono City (7 miles north of our office in Lee Vining) just in time. We are expecting high winds this afternoon and evening to bring blizzard conditions.

The highway will probably be closed overnight according to the Mono County Office of Emergency Services.

NASA study showing Mono Lake warming – update

January 20th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Ever since Bartshe wrote about a NASA study that shows Mono Lake is warming rapidly, we have done additional analysis, discussed it with Mono Lake experts, and tried to figure out what it means.

Dr. David Herbst of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory says that the NASA results “are consistent with elevated summer minimum air temperatures that have previously been documented.” He also found that Martis Creek, a creek north of Lake Tahoe with the best temperature record in the Sierra, has warmed 2 degrees C since the mid-1970s (in June, July, August). Nearby … more »

4:00 pm … snow still falling

January 18th, 2010 by Arya, Communications Director
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Yep, the snow is still falling—sometimes fast, sometimes with big heavy flakes, but always, falling. It’s beautiful, and exciting, and the roofs are shedding like little avalanches and here in the office we’re taking turns outside with shovels. Greg said it looked like there was one hour around lunch when it snowed 3 inches just behind the office. Santiago said in one 45 minute period we got 2 inches in front of the store. I got the lucky shovel shift with our awesome town plow driver: shovel out a pile, swipe with big plow blade, repeat.

Here are some photos … more »

9:00 am … snow is falling

January 18th, 2010 by Arya, Communications Director
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Lee Vining-ites woke from last night’s clear starry skies to slow encroaching snow this morning. The snow started coming down around 9:00 am, and now at 10:30, it’s definitely sticking and starting to accumulate. I went out and shot a couple of photos … we’ll see if this storm is worth doing before-and-after shots!

If you are traveling in the area please, please drive carefully. We’ve had two bad accidents close to town in the last week … and that was before the snow even started to fall. As I took these photos out in the street just now people were flying by way too fast—I try to remind myself that we carry our most precious cargo, the people we love and care about, in our cars.

10:30 am Monday January 18 -- HWY 395 looking north from the Mono Lake Committee.

10:30 am on Monday, January 18---Highway 395 looking north from the Mono Lake Committee.

Looking south.

… more »

Strong storms predicted to bring 10-20 feet of snow to the Sierra during the next two weeks

January 14th, 2010 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Howard Schekter, our local Mammoth weatherman, says

“THIS EVENT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO APPROACH OR RIVAL THE JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1998 EL NINO EVENT IN CENTRAL CA AND THE JANUARY 1995 TIME FRAME FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.”

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a Special Weather Statement that includes

“THE COMBINATION OF SNOW AND WIND IN THE SIERRA MAY CAUSE SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL DELAYS AND PERIODIC ROAD CLOSURES.”

The following email we just received from the USGS through our contacts with the Forest Service (original email appears to be from Chris Haile with CalFire). It has been reposted on several other blogs … more »

Register for 2010 Field Seminars

January 10th, 2010 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The complete listing of 2010 Field Seminars is now online. Registration for Field Seminars for Mono Lake Committee members begins on February 1 (already a member login here, become a member now here). Open registration begins on March 1. It’s time to begin making your summer and fall Field Seminar plans!

How do you find the listing of seminars? There are three ways to get there:

—Navigate to the Field Seminar page by mousing over “visit” at the top of the page. Click on “things to do” in the menu that drops down. Then click on “click here for the full list” under the Special Field Seminars heading on that page.

—You can also go straight to the Field Seminar page from the Mono Lake Website’s home page. Just click on this button on the right-hand side of the page:
field-seminars-2009

—Also, as you navigate through the Mono Lake Website, you’ll see this ad on the right-hand side of most pages. You can click on it to go straight to the seminar page!
ad10seminarscomingsoon

Booming Sooty Grouse early twenty ten-er

January 9th, 2010 by tdomf_e48ef
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Date of sighting: January 9, 2010

Booming up above Burger’s Retreat.  Earliest I’ve ever heard one in the Eastern Sierra.  It must be trying to bust some clouds for snow.

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