Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) July 02, 2011
Bikini tops and snows skis... at the same location? That is exactly what many travelers may be witnessing across the Midwest and Western US this 4th of July holiday, with late winter snowstorms covering Western mountain ranges from the Rockies to the Sierra Nevadas.
It’s been deemed a “trifecta day” by many vacationers, looking forward to being able to ski in the morning, do some mountain biking in the afternoon, and enjoy time out on the lake in the early evening. Even as the first full month of summer begins, ski resorts across the Midwest are opening ski lifts and slopes and expecting considerable activity.
Some resort owners say they fully expect to see skiers in shorts and bikini tops on many of their slopes, with temperatures expected to top in the upper 50’s for the next several days, including the July 4th holiday. Most resorts haven’t been able to remain open this late in the year since 1999.
So why the sudden last minute surge from Old Man Winter? It was primarily the result of record snowfall this season that simply has not melted yet. However a recent low pressure system of considerable strength has brought above average rainfall to much of California’s Central Valley and the Sierra in recent days. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the region, due to warming temperatures heading into the holiday weekend that could result in massive snowmelt and runoff, causing river and stream levels to rise significantly.
The downside is that for all the additional skiing opportunities and mild temps, there remains the very real threat of flooding or mud slides. Flood warnings are already in place for some areas of Yosemite National Park, with several popular campgrounds being shut down due to flooding concerns.
Parks and campgrounds across the area are advising campers and hikers to be careful and not to expect a simple hike across the ground, but rather to be ready to hike in snowy, muddy, and wet conditions. Much of the terrain above 8,000 feet remains covered under a thick blanket of snow, with many high level highways and mountain roads in the area still closed. Crews are working to reopen them as soon as possible, often having to remove as much as 15 feet of snow.
Ski resorts are making the most of the extended season, with some planning to stay open as late as July 24. California’s Alpine Meadows will be open for skiing on the 4th, for the first time since 1995 and for only the second time in its 50 year history.
In Colorado, visitors to one end of the state are being warned of waist high snow and the possibility of avalanches, while the other end of the state is enforcing camp fire restrictions due to extreme dry weather and forest fire threats.
Visitors to the area should, as always, remain alert and aware of rapidly changing weather conditions and be prepared to evacuate the area if events warrant.