"A Flaky Winter in Yosemite"

"Even with California's volatile weather, where exceptions are the rule, the season has been the driest in 30 years. Without snow, hotels offer rock climbing and archery to frustrated skiers."

"Yosemite National Park -- Winter in the high country is usually a season of icy quiet. Birds leave, bears hibernate, and only a few hardy people on skis or snowshoes pass through en route to snow-covered granite domes.

But Christmas and New Year's Day came and went, then Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and still only auburn pine needles covered the ground. Chattering squirrels, normally tucked away in their winter nests, perched on top of 'Snow Play Area' signs, with no snow in sight.

Until a series of late January storms dropped more than 2 feet of snow — still far below the norm — many wondered if it was going to be the year the snows never came.

In this spine-country of grandeur and extremes, where people often mark time by natural events such as 'the year of the big flood,' this is the year of the weird winter."

Diana Marcum reports for the Los Angeles Times January 27, 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012