Life is good in Three Rivers and all of Kaweah Country this holiday season. Residents and visitors in Three Rivers can marvel at the snow-capped mountains yet not deal with the shoveling and treacherous driving.
Then again, one can always choose to make the hour’s drive up Generals Highway to the visit the winter wonderland firsthand.
There’s not a lot of snow yet at locales like Giant Forest or Lodgepole but there is — as of Thursday, Dec. 18 — two to three feet of the fluffy powder depending on elevation and exposure. That two-foot base has the local mountains off to the best start on a local snowpack since 2010.
That snow won’t be melting soon because the weather will remain cold, especially in the higher elevations. In Three Rivers, when low temperatures hover around 40 degrees, that can translate to the 20s and below in cold spots like Lodgepole at 6,800 feet.
The forecast for the next seven days includes at least a 20 percent chance for more rain (Three Rivers) and some fresh snowfall (Giant Forest and above) on three different days. For the holiday period beginning Friday Dec. 26, and continuing through Sunday, Jan. 4, the free Sequoia Shuttle will operate between Wuksachi Lodge, General Sherman Tree, Wolverton Snowplay Area, and Giant Forest Museum. Just park the car and sit back and enjoy the ride and the scenery.
After the past three consecutive dry years that had California in the grips of the worst drought anywhere in the lower 48 states, it’s a relief to see green grass and flowing water again.
In Three Rivers, the rainfall event on Friday, Dec. 12, dumped 2.47 inches. In the next several days, passing storms added another half-inch, bringing the season total to 6.26 inches. In comparison, last season’s entire total was 8.92 inches. For the date of December 19, the current total represents more than what was recorded in 2111, 2012, or 2013. But the 2014 total is still short of December 2010 when Three Rivers recorded 11.86 inches in a single month. That season total ended up being 32.05 inches.