Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

They Call This Spring?

Coming in to work this morning, the radio station reported that snow chain requirements are up on highway 80 across Donner Summit, and that eastbound traffic is being held at Colfax! Wait a minute – this is supposed to be spring!

While reports say that the overall weather in much of the rest of the world is warmer than normal so far this year, here in northern and central California this has been anything but a warm May. One report on a Bay Area television station earlier this week suggested that by the end of the month one quarter or a third of the days of May will have seen some precipitation.

I’m not complaining though. I prefer cool and “interesting” weather to the boring and consistently beautiful and warm weather of summer in the part of the world, and I welcome the possibility of a very green and wildflower-filled summer in the Sierra this year!


May 26, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Yes, this is the coldest spring in 130 years except for a close call in the 1930’s! California seems to be permanantly downwind from the North pole. And the North Pole is downwind from warmer areas so it is melting. The amplitude is circulation is increasing so these sorts of patterns may become more commonplace. Watch out if we get into the hot part of a pattern in a month or two!


    Comment by Patrick Smith | May 26, 2010

  2. It should make things a little heavier for the Sierra backpackers. We’ll be seeing a lot of ice axes, crampons and gaitors this year.

    Comment by Steve Sieren | May 26, 2010

    • Steve and Patrick, thanks for finding the new address of the blog and posting! (I’m going to fully “flip the switch” on the “Dan’s Outside” blog this weekend.)

      Steve, you are right about the effect on backpackers. I get spoiled by the less-wet and warmer winters and have, on occasion, been able to cross some high passes w/o axe/crampons in July. But I don’t think that is going to be the case this year. To compensate, I think that we’ll perhaps have some stunning and long-lasting wildflowers this season right on into August. (And if I don’t do it first, someone will point out that this means we’ll also have stunning and long-lasting mosquitoes during the same period!)

      Patrick, the thought that this could be part of global circulation changes has crossed my mind. It isn’t possible to predict from a single season, but those who study such things point out that the effects of global climate change that involves warming do not necessarily lead to warmer and drier conditions in all locations. On a more short-term basis, some of the folks who try to predict a few months out are suggesting that we might have a rather warm late summer and fall.


      Comment by gdanmitchell | May 26, 2010

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