If you’re traveling this summer, be prepared for very unusual weather here in the West. This past winter’s record snowfalls have delayed opening of roads, parks, and campgrounds. And if that isn’t enough to worry about, now that the weather is warming up there are worries about rivers flooding. Here are some of the current weather advisories:
At Grand Teton National Park: The Teton Range contains an unprecedented amount of snowpack for this time of year. Unusual conditions exist due to an unseasonably cool and wet spring following a record winter snowfall with 732 inches recorded at the Raymer plot on Rendezvous Mountain (elevation 9,300 feet). The normal transition from winter to spring to summer is substantially delayed, and the snowpack has not yet consolidated. Avalanche danger is expected to remain elevated during this slow transition period.
The Beartooth Highway from Montana to Yellowstone: After two weeks of delays caused by heavy, late spring snow conditions, U.S. Highway 212, known as the Beartooth Highway, opened to vehicle traffic at 9:00 a.m. on June 10. This year a majority of the road spent well past its traditional opening date buried under more than 25 feet of snow and ice. In advance of the scheduled May 30 opening, MDT had cleared a section from Red Lodge to Vista Point, though the road was opened and closed several times over the next few weeks due to adverse weather and snow conditions. At the same time Yellowstone crews were forced to pull resources from the Beartooth to focus on road clearing efforts over Dunraven Pass to increase visitor access that was being affected by other weather-related delays within the park.
Yellowstone National Park: Attention Campers – Due to high water and snow levels, check locally for the delayed opening date for Norris, Slough Creek and Pebble Creek campgrounds.
Cedar Breaks National Monument: After record snowfalls and an extremely slow spring melt-off, Cedar Breaks is finally open to the public starting June 17th. Rangers will offer guided snowshoe walks twice daily at 12pm and 2pm, while snow conditions remain favorable for the activity.
The June 23 NPS weather report: This hazardous weather outlook is for the western two thirds of Utah and Southwest Wyoming. Rivers across the Northern and Central outlook area will continue to flow at elevated levels. Some of these rivers remain near flood stage. It is important to note that although most area rivers and streams remain below flood stage at this time, flows through these waterways remain cold, swift and powerful. This combination is dangerous not just for children but adults as well. Hypothermia can quickly set in when exposed to water of these temperatures, significantly limiting your ability to rescue yourself.
The most important fact to take from this blog is to be prepared for these unusual conditions, which may persist for a good portion of the travel season. Happy Trails!