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Yosemite National Park Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Thursday, January 11th, 2018
 
Today: Mostly sunny. Breezy. Not as cool. Highs 51 to 61 at 5000 feet...44 to 52 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, west winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 60 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Breezy. Lows 33 to 43 at 5000 feet... 25 to 35 at 8000 feet. West winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 65 mph over higher elevations.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Highs 52 to 62 at 5000 feet...44 to 54 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, gusts up to 40 mph in the morning.
 
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
 
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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY
 
Hooting Owl Lecture Series Tonight
"Recent advances in studying Yosemite Valley rockfalls" by Greg Stock, Park Geologist
 
Yosemite has experienced many significant rockfalls this past year. Rockfalls present challenging – and sometimes tragic – situations, but they also offer opportunities to learn more about how and why rockfalls happen. This talk will describe how new analytical tools such as high-resolution photography, structure-from-motion photogrammetry, airborne and terrestrial laser scanning, cliff monitoring, and cosmogenic exposure dating provide new insights that improve our understanding of rockfalls and help the park reduce rockfall risk.
 
This inaugural Hooting Owl Lecture Series will take place on Thursday, January 11th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Wawona Community Center.  (G. Stock)
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Wawona Road Delays Update 1/11
Around South Entrance: There will be 30-minute delays (Mon.-Fri.) with single lane traffic control 6AM to 6PM as crews continue finalizing the remaining road punchlist items (striping, smoothness grinding, cleanup, etc.) around the South Entrance Intersection. Weather permitting the delays will continue through January 19th. The crews will also be working this coming Saturday with 15-minute delays in an effort to complete the remaining weather dependent Wawona Road work before the expected cold weather next week.
 
Between the Rostrum and the Wawona Tunnel: There will be up to 15-minute delays 6AM to 6PM on Thursday and Friday this week (1/11&12/18) as crews complete placing the final pavement markings along this area of the Wawona Road.  (M. Pieper)
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Flu Tips
There’s been a sharp increase in flu virus transmission throughout the United States. California has been one of the most affected states.  Follow these simplified tips to minimize your exposure to the flu virus:
- Stay home if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms 
- Cover your nose or mouth after sneezing or coughing
- Wash your hands with soap and water (vigorously for twenty seconds) or use an alcohol-based sanitizer
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects, such as your desk, computer keyboard, or other commonly touched items
 
For more information or the originally circulated alert from the NPS Office of Public Health, please contact George_Carroll@nps.gov.  (M. Doyle)
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Taste of Yosemite Local Rate
Yosemite Hospitality is pleased to offer a special rate for the local community to enjoy the Taste of Yosemite event held at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel. The local offer is available for Session 6: January 31-February 2. The gala dinner is held February 1st at 6:30 pm.
 
Call 888-304-8993 to book and mention you’re a “Yosemite local” to receive the offer. Must have a local address to receive offer. Tickets are non-refundable. Reservations must be booked by 1/25/2018. Lodging is not included with this offer. You can view the lineup of participating chefs at http://www.travelyosemite.com/things-to-do/specialty-events/food-and-wine-events/taste-of-yosemite/.  (L. Cesaro)
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Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update for January 10, 2018
 
New snow: 14 inches
Total settled snow depth: 10 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 47°F (January 7)
Low temperature:  17°F (January 7)
 
Ski Conditions and Weather: This week saw a welcome change from the dry weather that has dominated the winter so far.  Although the Tuolumne Meadows area did not receive the soaking that much of the rest of California did, the 14 inches of snow that fell over the course of the week vastly improved moods and ski conditions. Snow coverage is now good above 8,500 feet on all but southerly aspects. The Tioga Road is 100% snow covered from Ellery Lake to Tuolumne Meadows. There is a ski track through this stretch which makes the going easier.
 
There is significantly more snow at the higher elevations, than here in Tuolumne Meadows. We dug another snow pit yesterday at 9,500 feet on a north aspect and the total depth was 75 inches.  The wet new snow on top of the old faceted snow made for some arduous and challenging trail breaking the past few days. The forecast is for warm and dry through this weekend so the snow should settle a bit (as long as it is still freezing overnight), which will make for better ski conditions. The best opportunity for making turns is on north aspects above 9,500 feet.   
 
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
 
The snowpack is very dynamic as of this writing. This storm cycle, we saw rain as high as 8,600 feet elevation with 14 inches of new snow. Higher elevations saw even more snow but not necessarily enough to trigger the weak layers within the snowpack. Presently, the winds are increasing and loading leeward slopes which will temporarily increase the avalanche hazard. While touring this week we witnessed widespread whoomping and snow pits revealed weak layers deep within the snow pack on near surface facets and depth hoar. Skiers will have to make safe decisions this week especially when skiing in avalanche terrain. The Tioga Road corridor will pose fewer hazards. However, if temperatures warm in the afternoon, folks will have to be cognizant of rock fall and wet slides. Be advised too, that lakes below 8,600 feet may not be frozen beneath the new snow.
 
Wildlife: A well-adapted winter traveler, the pine marten was seen “swimming” through the powder near Tuolumne Meadows. The usual winter residents the mountain chickadee, brown creeper, red-breasted nuthatch, Clark’s nutcracker, and flocks of red crossbills have been active as well. 
 
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 8 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no phone service in Tuolumne Meadows at this time. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared, and please make good decisions while traveling in the wilderness this winter. Follow our blog: https://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm. Safe skiing! Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers  (L. Pilewski) 
 
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RECENT NEWS
 
Pile Burning
Pile burning will be conducted throughout the park over the next few weeks after the recent precipitation received. There may be short term smoke impacts isolated to the burn pile areas.  (J.  Peach)
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House for Rent
3 bedroom 2 bath home on East Whitlock Road available starting February 1st. $1500 per month not including utilities. One year lease preferred. No pets/smokers. Call Virgia at 731-695-5048 for more information.  (W. Bryan)
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Half Dome Village Ice Rink Updated Hours
The Half Dome Village Ice Rink has updated hours of operation. Ice skating tickets are available at the Half Dome Village Tour & Activity Desk adjacent to the Registration Office. The Yosemite Winter Club hockey league and ice skating lessons will be starting soon.
 
Hours of operation as of 1/9/18:
Mon-Fri:  1:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Sat/Sun:  12:00 pm to 9:00 pm  (L. Cesaro)
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Sierra Nevada Network Fall/Winter Newsletter Available
The Sierra Nevada Network Inventory & Monitoring Program conducts natural resources inventory and monitoring in Yosemite National Park, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, and Devils Postpile National Monument. Check out the Fall/Winter issue of The Sierra Nevada Monitor, our biannual newsletter. 
 
You may download the newsletter at https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/DownloadFile/593784  to learn about:
- How snow, water, and fire challenged 2017 fieldwork
- A winter birding event in Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
- Celebration of moving beyond protocol development
- Managing for persistence in Devils Postpile National Monument
- Detecting rare aquatic animals with eDNA in Yosemite National Park
- Field project news
- The latest on Inventories 2.0 
 
Thank you to Monica Buhler, Colleen Kamoroff, and Caren Goldberg for contributed articles. For more information about the Inventory & Monitoring Program, contact Program Manager Sylvia Haultain at 559-565-3788, or Sylvia_Haultain@nps.gov.  (L. Mutch)
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YARTS Free Day
The next YARTS free service day will be Monday, January 15th. The buses will only stop and pick up at the Visitor Center on that day and the schedule has been modified, so please plan ahead. Also, please expect buses to be at capacity or standing room only. The free day schedule can be found online at www.yarts.com or www.facebook.com/rideyarts.  (C. Kelly)
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Yosemite Medical Clinic Holiday Closure
Yosemite Medical Clinic will be closed Monday, January 15th in observance of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a federal holiday. As usual, ambulance response will be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by calling 911.  (C. Griffin)
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Looking For RV Space
Glenn Gibbons (Arch Rock) and Mitzi Thornley (RMS) have been notified they will need to vacate their long time RV space at Indian Flat Park in for re-development by April 1st.  Government space or housing is not a possibility. They live in a 28ft 5th wheel that needs full hook ups (Electric, Sewer, Water), and hope to pay $600.00 monthly. They will assume full responsibility for prepping the space for occupancy. If you have or know of such a space, please contact Mitzi Thornley at 209-379-1060or via email at mitzi125@msn.com.  Short and long-term arrangements are being considered.  (M. Thornley)
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Room For Rent In Mariposa
One bedroom available in a large house in Mariposa. Non-smoker, employed, male or female. Must like cats (the house has several well-behaved cats). Bedroom is unfurnished, has private bath. $500/mo + shared utilities (estimate $200-300/month). First & last; cash or PayPal only. Contact Cheryl at cherylaoife@sti.net or 436-9150 (leave a message).  (H. Huppe)
 
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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS
 
Art Center Demolition
The AAC demolition is completed except for the sand removal under the building. This will require a contract modification and so the project is on hold until the modification is completed by PWR, likely in late January - early February. Completion of the sand removal is expected by early February.  (D. Miller)
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Museum/District Building Electrical Rehab Project
This project will rehabilitate the electrical system in the Museum/District Building by installing grounding in the existing electrical circuits. The Contractor mobilized on Monday, December 18th and the project is expected to run for 6 months. The 8 parking stalls to the west of the building between the sidewalk on the south and the south end of the fence to the north will become the Contractor's staging areas.  Please do not leave any vehicles parked there on Sunday night. Thank you.  (K. White)