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Yosemite National Park Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Thursday, January 4th, 2018
Today: Mostly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers. Near the crest, chance of snow showers in the morning, then slight chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Snow level above 8000 feet. Highs 52 to 61 at 5000 feet...44 to 52 at 8000 feet. Southwest winds around 25 mph with gusts to around 40 mph over higher elevations.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of rain after midnight. Lows 33 to 43 at 5000 feet...24 to 34 at 8000 feet. South winds around 25 mph with gusts to around 40 mph over higher elevations.
TomorrowMostly cloudy. Near the crest, slight chance of snow in the morning, then slight chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Slight chance of showers in the afternoon. Snow level 7500 feet. Highs 50 to 59 at 5000 feet...42 to 50 at 8000 feet.
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
Hello & Goodbye To Mike Gauthier Today
Mike Gauthier will be at Sal's this Thursday to say hello and goodbye before moving on to his new position as Superintendent of Nez Perce National Historic Site. Stop by and say hello if you're in El Portal!  (R. Madrid)
Half Dome Village Ice Rink Night Skating Now Available
The Half Dome Village Ice Rink is closed today January 4th due to a mechanical issue with the Zamboni. Reopening is anticipated on January 5th. Please note that the ice rink will now offer night skating. Purchase ice skating tickets at the Half Dome Village Tour & Activity Desk adjacent to the Registration Office.
Hours of operation as of 1/5/18:
Mon-Fri:  3:30pm to 9:00pm
Sat/Sun:  12:00pm to 9:00pm  (L. Cesaro)
Seeking Housemate in Midpines
Spacious 2000 sq. ft. house has 1 bedroom available.  Large open living room, dining room,  & kitchen.  Two refrigerators, dishwasher, oven, microwave, dining room table set provided. Electric HVAC, plus wood burning stove.  Shared separate laundry room with washer and dryer. Huge deck on 2 sides of the house with views of distant hills. Storage for gear, bikes, etc.. Sits on 7+ acres of beautiful rolling hills and trees just off Colorado Road and East Whitlock, 10 min. from Mariposa.  $400/month plus electric & WiFi.  No smokers.  Credit check.  Email or call 510-207-5951.  (M. Hodges)
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update for January 3, 2018

New snow: 0 inches
Total settled snow depth: 3 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 56°F (December 29)
Low temperature:  17°F (December 30)

Ski Conditions and Weather: The average high temperature for the month of December was 47°F, which is 7 degrees warmer than average for our weather plot here in Tuolumne Meadows. Total snowfall for the month was a paltry five inches with an even more meager water content of 0.17 inches. Thankfully, the wet storms that came through in November have resulted in there still being some snow in the Yosemite high country. Above 9,300 feet there is still 24-30 inches of snow on the ground.  Around Tuolumne Meadows, at 8,600 feet, the snow depths are 3-6 inches, with areas of bare ground.

The ski touring at the higher elevations is pretty darn good. Hard snow and good coverage means one can cover some ground without the typical effort of breaking trail. We got out this week and patrolled the drainages that head north of the Cathedral Range. Visitors arrived to Tuolumne Meadows over the holidays from Yosemite Valley and Lee Vining via skis, snowshoes, and by foot. One can travel without snow equipment along the road corridor, due to packed out snow. Waterproof boots, gaiters and ice cleats are advisable.  However, we strongly recommend that visitors planning to travel off of the road above 9,000 feet have skis or snowshoes especially on north facing aspects. Ice axe and crampons are recommended for the higher mountains and passes.
The Tioga Road is closed for the season. There are closed gates to the east in Lee Vining Canyon and to the west, east of Crane Flat. It is 15 miles from the Lee Vining gate to Tuolumne Meadows. The road is bare pavement for the first 5 miles to Saddlebag Road, and then mostly snow covered from there to Tuolumne Meadows.      
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 avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. The snow that has been sitting on the ground during the dry spell of December has gone through changes more indicative of the continental climate of the Rocky Mountains than the maritime climate of the Sierra. The shallow snowpack and clear nights have resulted in a sugary consistency of the snow crystals (known as faceted snow) which could pose avalanche hazard if they are subsequently buried beneath future snowfall.  Although the current hazard is low, wilderness travelers should keep this in the back of their mind for the future.
Wildlife: Since we’ve been here this winter, large flocks of pine siskins have been scouring the lodgepole pine canopy for pine cone seeds. A pair of common ravens and a red-tailed hawk has been lurking around the meadows.
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: Happy New Year!  Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers (L. Pilewski)
Don Coffman Retired
Don Coffman finished up his last day as Fire Marshal on December 31st. Please forward your communications to fire inspector Blake Scott at, 379-1852 or to FMO Kelly Martin at, 372-0325. Don will be returning as a volunteer in 2018 to assist the Fire and Aviation Branch until a new fire marshal is hired. His cell phone number is 770-4755.
Yosemite Conservancy seeks Theater and Sales Coordinator
Are you a creative and reliable individual seeking public engagement opportunities? Do you believe theater plays an important role in helping visitors connect to Yosemite? Come run the Yosemite Theater program and work with visitors in the Valley Visitor Center bookstore. Work with great people, express yourself both creatively and administratively, and offer visitors unique interpretive experiences in the theater. Looking for friendly, good humored, team player who is organized and can confidently solve problems independently. Can train for the rest. Position is year round, subject to furlough and includes generous benefits. Visit for position description and application instructions.  (A. Ripple)
Room(s) for Rent
Two rooms for rent in a beautiful, large 4+ bed/2.5 bath home, nestled in the hills off the 140, near the border of Mariposa and Midpines. Home is on 5 quiet acres, surrounded by great views which you can see from bedroom windows. $550/month per room, plus a portion of utilities. Discount for both rooms. Email if you're interested.  (K. Indigo)
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)
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)