Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Last week, some Silver City folks ventured up the Mineral King Road, did some clearing of debris, and assessed current conditions. In photo: Lookout Point Ranger Station, elevation 4,000 feet.  (Click arrows for additional photo.)Last week, some Silver City folks ventured up the Mineral King Road, did some clearing of debris, and assessed current conditions. In photo: The notoriously steep Highbridge Creek area (elevation 7,200 feet), about three miles from the end of the road in Mineral King valley.

Rainy weather forecast to continue

By: 
John Elliott

 

The on-again, off-again showers will continue for the next 10 days and there is more rain in the April forecast too. April showers bring May flowers but in the lower elevations of Kaweah Country the bloom is peaking now. 
 
Flower Watch
The Dry Creek bloom is peaking this week; the hilly terrain around Lake Kaweah is beginning its peak this weekend.
 
Look for showy hillsides covered with poppies, fiddleneck, popcornflower, and several varieties of lupine. In Three Rivers, a prolific bloom of blue dicks, also known as brodiaea, is busting out interspersed with the fiddleneck.  The intermittent rain is really giving a boost to these wild hyacinths that also come in several varieties and colors. 
 
Redbud trees are beginning their annual vibrant pinkish bloom. The redbud is actually an Eastern Redbud and is believed to have found its way to California with the Dust Bowl migrants during the Great Depression.
 
More Rain to Come
As of today (Friday, March 22), total rainfall at the 1,000 feet elevation level in Three Rivers is 18 inches; one location five miles up South Fork has a measurement of 24 inches for the season.
 
As more evidence as to how scattered these downpours can be, on Wednesday evening (March 20), the Dry Creek area  received three inches of rainfall while most locations around Three Rivers reported less than an inch.  
 
Rain Totals
From season to season, the statistics are even more dramatic. One year ago, the year-to-date total for March 22 was 11.60 inches; the season only yielded two more inches for the rest of the rainfall year. Two years ago (2017), the March 22 total was 29.58 inches and that rainfall year finished with 31.90 inches.
 
Currently, at Ash Mountain in Sequoia National Park, the year-to-date total is 21.13 inches.  
 
It’s a safe bet that the current season in all locations of Three Rivers will finish above 20 inches, the 30-year norm but will fall short of the 2016-17 total. The current snowpack at 7,500 feet remains at seven to eight feet, depending on location, although some settling has occurred at most exposures.
 
Road Conditions
As of Thursday, March 21, the Generals Highway connecting Sequoia to Kings Canyon was open to travelers after being closed for much of the winter. The highway had opened earlier in the week, but then quickly closed again due to a snowslide  in the Little Baldy area, which was promptly cleared. For updated conditions regarding park roads, call (559) 565-3341, press 1, then press 1 again.
 
Lake Take
Lake Kaweah is the final destination for all the runoff. As of Thursday, March 22, at 7 a.m. the lake elevation was 631.86 amsl (spillway is at 715 feet.); storage is 47,668 acre feet or 25 percent of capacity; mean inflow was 1,177 cfs with an outflow of 1,523 cfs. 
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