Winter in the high Rockies finally gets plowed

From the International Herald Tribune, a reminder of just what a significant winter we’ve had.

“So much snow still remains that the Park Service had to move the 75th-anniversary celebration of the highway, held last Friday, off the pass to lower elevations.”

From the EU Referendum:

The Going-to-the-Sun Road, which connects the two sides of Glacier National Park in the Northern Rockies, is usually open by the first week of June. But huge amounts of snow still blanket the high country, in part because of record snowfalls in Montana this year. Now, the opening was delayed to today, the latest on record by a day, except for World War II, when the road was not plowed at all.

Crews have been working on the Big Drift near the top of the road. At 70 feet deep, the drift was the plougher’s biggest obstacle. It was also next to a cliff, making snow even more challenging to remove. A storm in mid-June dumped three to four feet of snow in the mountains.

It’s not all bad news though – the farmers get more water – but the tourist industry is not having a good time of it. In Yellowstone National Park, some backcountry areas are blocked by snow and some rivers are high and muddy. “Our ongoing challenge is backcountry access,” said Al Nash, a park spokesman. “We have high flowing water, mud and, in shady areas, snow. It just isn’t accessible right now. It could easily be another month before we have access.”

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26 Responses to Winter in the high Rockies finally gets plowed

  1. DAV says:

    Lots of snow but not the only snow job. Global Warming —> Global Cooling. GW causes everything therefore everything is evidence of GW — and the only possible cause of GW are the CO2 spreaders known as homo sapiens carbonaceous. This lingering snow is evidence of GW we are causing. Anthony, why are you supplying the beleivers with yet more evidence supporting their belief?

    sorry about the fractured latin. Let’s see now: amo amas amat …

  2. Daniel Rothenberg says:

    Note to DAV and likely others – the linked article makes no mention of global warming or climate change. There is no attempt in the article to link this weather event to global warming. Anthony Watts filed the blog post under “weather.”

    This post isn’t even about global warming, and frankly, I can’t fathom how it could be construed as such.

  3. Daryl Ritchison says:

    I remember going to Glacier in 1995 and the Going to the Sun road had just opened that year in late June, not too much earlier than this year and hearing a campfire talk about how with Global Warming years like this won’t happen again. I just shock my head in disbelieve. I wonder if that ranger still works there. LOL.

  4. Bill Illis says:

    I note from Modis satellite pics that there is still snow on the ground in northern Siberia (despite the record temps recorded this year and winter by GISS.)

    Snow and ice in Red in this false-color sat picture from earlier today (orange is cloud cover.)

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008184/crefl1_367.A2008184061001-2008184061501.4km.jpg

  5. Bill Illis says:

    I thought some of you might find this pic of the NorthWest Passage from this afternoon interesting as well. No ships going through that for at least 6 weeks (maybe late August.)

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2008184/crefl1_143.A2008184192001-2008184192500.4km.jpg

  6. neilo says:

    Just for my information… is a big snowfall unusual in the Rockies at this time of year?

    We’ve been waiting for the snow here in Australia; now I know where it all went!

  7. Paul D. says:

    proof that global warming is not causing erosion of Louisiana shoreline!

    from a book called “Louisiana ” compiled by workers of the writers program of the Works Projects Administration in the state of Louisiana. copyright 1941 Louisiana Library Commission At Baton Rouge sponsored by Louisiana State University. Page 19 Quote: In Louisiana except for alluvial deposits at the mouth of the Mississippi, the shoreline is receding at a rate of from 6 to 125 feet a year, irrespective of hurricanes, which can cause a retreat of several hundred feet in a few hours. Two factors cause this recession: (1) the regional tilting brought on by the weight of the growing Mississippi delta, which causes the lands about it to dip more sharply and become submerged ; (2) the ease with which the low-lying shore is eroded, as is shown by the greater depth of recession on those portions of the shoreline which are more exposed to the prevailing winds and waves. Indeed, so noticeable and rapid has been the subsidence of the mainland that many of the old plantations have become a region fit only for trapping, hunting. and fishing. End Quote

    this was written before global warming? and before drilling in the marshes.

  8. Retired Engineer says:

    Another downside: our reservoirs are nearly full. Meaning no water restrictions. So all the East Coasters who moved here can water their Kentucky Blue Grass lawns again. And Xeriscapers are out (in the cold ?)

    Of course, there is still some good skiing, so please come to Colorado, have a good time, spend lots of money.

    And leave.

  9. crosspatch says:

    Interesting that there is no recent data on the current status of the glaciers of Glacier National Park. All I can find is data that is several years old. Generally when the data fits the agenda, it is quick to be reported. When the data is counter to the agenda, it is silenced. Hearing nothing generally means things are not going according to “plan”.

    Also, I have heard that the reason for glacial retreat since 1976 wasn’t so much temperatures as jet stream causing a different storm track causing less precipitation. We are back to the pre-1976 storm track and look what happens! Snow galore! I imagine we will be seeing some increases in the glaciers over the next several years.

  10. Brute says:

    Bill Illis,

    Re: Northwest Passage

    I thought it was open for shipping and water skiing?

    I watch this site also…….

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

  11. Ric Werme says:

    The only time I’ve been to Glacier was in 1974 on a solo 2700 mile bicycle trip. Unfortunately I was caught in a small window between the Going to the Sun Hwy being open to bicyclists to being closed to cyclists (narrow & dangerous so they ban bicycles instead of wider vehicles), to being open to bicyclists in the morning which I think is still the case.

    So I stopped by the no bicycles sign and hitched a ride in the back of a pickup driven by a drunk Indian. Gotta get back sometime and get some Kodachromes with my Olympus OM-1 to fill in that gap.

    At any rate, I’ve been wondering when glaciers might start advancing there, but figure A) it’s probably too early see the faces relative the surrounding terrain and B) we might need a few years of heavy snow to build things up a bit. I may well be wrong on both counts. A proper glacier would be advancing and all the snow would help keep the face from melting.

    Anyone know if there’s anything interesting to report about glaciers in the Rockies or Cascades? I have heard that the two arms of the glacier in Mt St Helens have joined up but that glacier has a rather atypical history.

    Hmm, July 2nd might have been the day I was there. I got to Missoula on the 3rd.

  12. doug w says:

    I was at Chinook Pass, located 10 miles east of Mt. Rainier in Washington, last Sunday. The pass opened on June 5 and there is still 5 to 10 feet of snow covering the surrounding trails and meadows.

    Thats about a month later than usual for the melt this year in Washington passes. It has only warmed up to summer temps during the last ywo weeks. Gotta wonder how bad the grape and fruit industries fared. Not a word about from our governor, who is an accolyte of Gore.

    Going to the Sun is an awesome road. It and other National Park roads could not be built today. It took an act of Congress just to repair the roads washed out at Rainier two winters ago.

  13. Tom in Florida says:

    The natural pattern for glaciation is a rapid warm up which increases available moisture which creates extra snowfall which increases albedo which rapidly causes cooling. When the snowfall amount is such that it doesn’t all melt during summer, the glaciation period begins. Unfortunately for our northern dwelling friends, history shows periods of glaciation are the much longer than warm periods. Glad I moved to Florida already.

  14. Austin says:

    The thing to remember is that the old record was set using old equipment, not today’s very large and modern hardware to clear the snow. Its very likely that this year’s record is far beyond the old one.

  15. A Montanan says:

    Here is a paper that talks about Glaciers in Montana…

    http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/cirmount/wkgrps/ecosys_resp/postings/pdf/pederson_etal2006.pdf

    In this paper it says…

    “Selkowitz et al. (Selkowitz et al. 2002) have demonstrated that Glacier NP snowpack is significantly correlated with indices of ocean–atmosphere interactions, specifically the PDO.”

    Since the PDO was strongly negative this past winter, it is not surprising to me that there has been more snowpack on top of Montana’s mountains this past spring.

  16. Robert Wykoff says:

    On June 23, the Road into the town of Jarbidge, Nevada (from the south) was finally plowed as well.

  17. Anthony, if you nick copy verbatim, as we all do, it is customary to acknowledge the source with a back link. It’s called Netiquette!

    Part of your much deserved success is due to other bloggers linking to you – which makes you part of the blogosphere community. Not a good idea to forget where you came from!

    REPLY: Thanks, usually I do, got busy and distracted. Fixed

  18. Klockarman says:

    Here in Oregon, Timberline Lodge (elev. 6,000′ ) on Mt. Hood currently has a 99″ base snow pack, has had 859″ (over 71′ ) of snow since 9/1/2007. They average 400″ of snow each winter.

    http://www.timberlinelodge.com/ski_ride/conditions.php

    It’s been an unbelievable winter for the ski resorts, and the biggest total snow fall in 40 years or so.

    Anecdotal evidence for sure, but Gore keeps saying, “Our planet has a fever.” The local newspaper keeps assuring us that despite the really cold winter and spring that AGW really does exist.

  19. You are a gentleman!

  20. Harry Goff says:

    Excuse me – I am in the Southern hemisphere (Perth, Western Australia) where it is bloody cold right now. Isn’t it supposed to be your summer up there at the moment? If so what the hell is happening?

  21. Ric Werme says:

    A Montanan (21:18:21) :

    “Here is a paper that talks about Glaciers in Montana…”

    It also references the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and Bill Gray.

    Its heavy reliance on dendrochronology is not surprising, but they use it solely for reconstructing wet and dry periods, not for temperature. Quite refreshing and so non-hockey stick.

    The paper was written in 2004, I imagine the authors must be pretty happy with how things went this year.

  22. John F. Pittman says:

    I remember a bus trip to Yellowstone, where I was to do some primitive camping. It was in mid 1970′s 21:00 in Cheyanne. It was snowing and starting to stick, Exchanged my ticket for Yellowstone to go see my brother in California instead. It was June 21 Summer soltice that year with snow sticking to the roads. Great decision. A cold front came through and the west coast was cold that week. I like primitive camping, but too much slush from melting snow can make the hiking difficult.

  23. Steve Keohane says:

    In the Central Rockies, Independence Pass opened a week late with 30′ of snow cleared from the road, and Aspen Mtn. re-opened for a weekend two weeks ago. Many accesses to the wilderness areas are still closed due to snow. I think the last significant snow was the first week of June with snow at 8000′. In ’94 when I had 60″+ in my backyard by May, the snow didn’t stay around this long at higher altitudes.

  24. Bruce Cobb says:

    This post isn’t even about global warming, and frankly, I can’t fathom how it could be construed as such.
    Surely you jest. Anything the warmists think can possibly be used (and that includes both increased and decreased snowfall) to “prove” manmade global warming is used. That’s why they changed their tune to “manmade warming causes climate change”. That way, anything that happens, no matter what is our “fault”. However, if it doesn’t fit neatly into their AGW propaganda, then, conveniently, it’s “just weather”.

  25. Don B says:

    A Montanan, (21:18) I already posted this on a later thread, but on page 19 of your referenced study of Glacier National Park is shown that the bulk of Sperry Glacier’s post-LIA shrinkage happened by 1945. No typo, 1945.

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