Posts tagged: weather
ENVIRONMENT — If you are a camper, backpacker, paddler or angler, you're probably looking back, as I am, with fond memories of October's fall color spectacle against blue skies.
It was fantastic, with perhaps a record dearth of rainfall to spoil the experience.
Not great for everyone, but we take the lemonaide when it comes.
We were sleeping under stars and an brilliant full moon without need for a tent in the middle of the month
Like all seasons, October glory is finally waning into something else, as this photo suggests from Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
PARKS — The first serious bout of winter-like weather has temporarily closed Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road today at The Loop on the west side of the park.
Weather conditions along the higher elevations of the Going-to-the-Sun Road today have included very windy conditions — 30-40 mph at Big Bend — slush and icy conditions on the road, cloudy and limited visibility, and snow accumulations of more than 8 inches at Logan Pass.
Camping conditions suck.
UPDATED: 2:55 p.m.
CAMPING — Idaho Panhandle National Forests staffers are scrambling to assess tree damage at developed forest sites after a visitor was killed in the Stagger Inn Campground northwest of Priest Lake by a damaged tree related to thunder storms on Sunday night.
Kyle L. Garrett, 48, of Sandpoint, died when a 200-foot-tall tree uprooted and fell on his tent, according to the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office. A 52-year-old woman was also injured and was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
The Stagger Inn is a small primitive campground at the Roosevelt Grove of Ancient Cedars in Pend Oreille County just west of the Idaho state line.
Other campgrounds are being evaluated before the Labor Day holiday.
Here's the info from Panhandle Forests spokesman Jason Kirchner:
High winds throughout the Idaho Panhandle last night caused numerous trees to weaken and fall resulting in one fatality at the USDA Forest Service’s Stagger Inn Campground in Pend Orielle County, Wash. Investigation into the accident is being led by the Pend Orielle County Sheriff’s Department. Due to these hazardous conditions, and in advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Idaho Panhandle National Forest has begun a widespread assessment of its developed recreation sites to identify additional areas where storm damage may have weakened trees. Rapid assessments of campgrounds, picnic areas and other developed recreation sites will determine whether temporary closures are needed to provide for public safety until crews are able to remove hazardous trees.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident at our campground and are making every effort to ensure that last night’s storm damage has not left hazard trees in our developed recreation sites,” said Idaho Panhandle National Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth.
To ensure a rapid and comprehensive response to last night’s storm damage the forest has activated an Incident Management Team, like those used to manage wildfires and other emergencies, to quickly assess and manage hazards discovered in recreation sites across the forest. Assessment will focus only on developed sites, such as campgrounds and picnic areas. Further assessment updates, including any temporary closures will be posted at www.inciweb.org.
It is vitally important for forest visitors to understand that hazardous trees may be present anywhere on the national forest. Visitors are encouraged to take a hard look at their surroundings when recreating throughout the forest, and especially when selecting a campsite. Hazardous trees are not always readily apparent, but some obvious indicators of dangerous trees include damage to roots, branches or trunk; insect infestations; leaning trees; or dead trees. These types of trees are especially hazardous when the wind is blowing.
WILDERNESS — I'm just back from four electrifying days of backpacking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, catching up old news for which I had a front row seat.
Mudslides bury North Cascades Highway — Hikers stranded Monday as storms leave the vital summer passage closed over the mountains between Mazama and the Skagit Valley. The Washington State Department of Transportation says eight mudslides have buried SR 20.
Lightning pounds North Cascades — Lightning maps showed more than 7,400 strikes occurred from 9 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range and in Southeastern Washington, including the Glacier Peak Wilderness where I was hunkered three nights in a row wishing I had ear plugs. Much of the thunder was concentrated in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Franklin counties, Forest Service officials say.
Other river restrictions are in place in other parts of the state.
WILDLIFE — Researchers are documenting how climate change is dealing a skimpy hand to the chipper pika, the “rock rabbits” of the high mountain talus slopes, as reported in this Idaho Statesman story.
Remember, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied endangered species protections for the pika in 2010.
WINTER SPORTS — The photo above comes today from Revelstoke Mountain Resort, a day's drive north in British Columbia, where the ski area operators were stoked to wake up and see the first snowfall of the season in the Canadian Rockies area.
Revelstoke Mountain is Canada’s Newest Ski Resort, claiming to have the most vertical in North America – 5620ft!
MOUNTAINEERING — Safely below the snowline, I was hiking in the Alps near Chamonix, France, last week when 9 climbers were killed by an avalanche on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in western Europe. It was particularly eery for me and my family, since we had just shared a train ride with a South Africa couple who had just climbed the peak — and we had shared breakfast on a previous day with a man who was headed up to climb.
The tragedy in bringing international attention to what appear to be increasing danger and unpredictibility in snow-country climbing and backcountry skiing.
Following the tragedy in the Alps as well as another on Mount McKinley, the New York Times has published this report citing veteran climbers pointing out that today’s conditions are combining to create a volatile highball of risk.
OUTDOOR WEATHER — It's June 6, 2012, and the folks at Schwetizer Mountain Resort above Sandpoint are reporting … SNOW.
Check out the mountain's video weather report about a twist that's keeping huckleberry blossoms in their buds.
La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have upgraded last month’s La Niña Watch to a La Niña Advisory.
NOAA will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.
“This means drought is likely to continue in the drought-stricken states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center. “La Niña also often brings colder winters to the Pacific Northwest and the northern Plains, and warmer temperatures to the southern states.”