Passing Snow Closes Schools and Grapevine

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By Patric Hedlund

Winter woke from a deep snooze this week and decided to make a token appearance before spring becomes official.

Monday, Feb. 27 began with dark clouds and about two inches of snow at the higher elevations in the Mountain Communities. By afternoon the Grapevine closed down for a few hours, before California Highway Patrol escorts began.

Local schools closed Monday, in concern for icy roads and student safety, then stayed closed on Tuesday, in the midst of brilliant sunshine—a perfect opportunity for restless students to get outside for sledding, snowballs and frolic. Community reporters and photographers also had fun, as you’ll see in this issue.

Road conditions on Frazier Park’s muddy trails were tricky for some vehicles, but there was little in the way of accidents reported. Shadowy mountain passes and bridges still retain the possibility of enough ice to require drivers to be alert and cautious as melt freezes in the night and late afternoons.

Historic Drought

There was not sufficient precipitation this week to take this winter off the list as being perhaps the driest in over 20 years. That will affect local aquifers.

California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) reported Monday that mountain snowpack is only 30 percent of historic readings for this date. That is just 26 percent of average April 1 measurements (which is typically when the state’s snowpack is at its peak before beginning to melt off with rising temperatures).

DWR Director Mark Cowin said state water project allocations to farmland irrigation and urban water supply agencies will drop to 50 percent of requests. That much is only possible because reservoirs are still stocked from last year’s record high precipitation levels.

Proposed but unbuilt developments such as Tejon Mountain Village would be affected by state water project allocations, but current residents and businesses in this area all rely on groundwater from local wells.

This is part of the March 02, 2012 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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