California Cooperative Snow Survey results are in for the month of April. After a few years of reporting not so great numbers, this time it is different. The Kern River Basin is sitting at 326% of normal! All the atmospheric rivers deposited a lot of moist snow into the southern Sierra Nevada. Although having this much snow is wonderful and needed across the landscape, what does that mean for fellow adventurers into the wilderness this season?
When hiking out into the wilderness this summer, assuming normal average temperatures, one may see snow “hanging around” longer than normal. As such the creeks and rivers could be flowing faster, higher, and for longer durations into the summer months. Though this may be great for having an increase in water sources, exercise caution when crossing. Additionally, besides the creeks taking longer to return to normal summer flows access to these areas may take longer.
More snow means it can take longer to melt. The longer it takes to melt could mean access to your higher elevation trailheads will extend further into the summer. For example, some roads typically open Memorial Day weekend (end of May). If all this snow melts at its normal rate, access may not happen to June and possibly early July!
You’ll want to keep all this in mind when planning your summer trip(s) into the mountains. Also, keep tabs on the road closures and openings too! Regardless it is great to have more snow and therefore water. After years of being dry and wildfires, the vegetation could use some rest and moist restoration.