January 29, 2016 – Californians are grateful. After years of drought the state is experiencing one of its wetter years. El Niño continues to bring wet weather patterns to the state. As of December 30th, the California Water Resources Board stated that snow pack in the Central Sierra Nevada (where our runoff comes from) was at 120% of normal for this time of year. There has been considerable precipitation since that date, with plenty more predicted in the forecast. These rains are providing much needed temporary relief from drought conditions. They also hold promise for a long 2016 river rafting season in the spring and summer when that snow melts, filling rivers and reservoirs. The combination of early cold storms followed by wetter storms has created a thick layer of base ice at higher elevations, skiers call this Sierra Cement. This compacted ice melts more slowly in the spring, extending optimum rafting conditions into mid and late summer. In addition, snowmelt caught in upstream reservoirs can be released later in the year, extending the season into Fall. We’ll be tracking snow pack measurements in the Sierra and will be updating our blog through the winter and spring. Looking forward to excellent rafting conditions on Cherry Creek, the Tuolumne and Merced Rivers in 2016.
In the meantime go skiing and snowboarding! Periods of clear weather between the storms are consistent and Sierra ski areas have been experiencing their best conditions in years. Watch your weather apps – and get it while you can!
Yosemite Photo by Chase Lindberg courtesy of Creative Commons