As we set to swelter in temperatures near 100, Tioga Road workers muscle through snow

Crews are slowly clearing snow on Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.
Crews are slowly clearing snow on Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park. National Park Service

As the Northern San Joaquin Valley barrels toward a wave that will bring temperatures to near triple digits, workers near Yosemite are struggling with snow that’s as high as a basketball hoop.

The National Weather Service predicts a high of 96 degrees on Sunday and 98 on Monday in the Modesto area. That’s an increase of more than 25 degrees from the mild temperatures the region has seen early in the week.

The heat won’t come all at once; forecasters predict highs of 76 on Wednesday, followed by 84 on Thursday and 90 on Friday. Overnight lows are expected to dip into the upper 50s and lower 60s.

Forecasters also say that by the weekend, the weather in the mountain areas will hit the 60s, making for increased snow melt and colder, faster area waterways.

Where the snow isn’t melting is Tioga Pass. The Highway 120 entrance into Yosemite, which typically opens in May, is under massive snow drifts after the near-record snowfall of the winter that has continued into spring.

Crews continue to plow through the accumulated snow, making progress of about a mile per day through drifts that are as high as 10 feet, the National Park Service said Tuesday. Forestry crews are working alongside them to remove dead or diseased trees that might fall onto the road.

There’s no estimated time of reopening Tioga Pass. Last year, it opened on May 18, the latest that had happened since 2011. But the Park Service said that in years with snowfall accumulations similar to this year’s, the opening date has been pushed back into June or even July.

Keep that in mind as you turn on the fans down here in the Valley.