Monitor Pass southeast of Lake Tahoe opens; latest opening in 13 years | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Monitor Pass southeast of Lake Tahoe opens; latest opening in 13 years

So little snow fell in the Sierra the winter of 2014-15 that the gate across Highway 89 to Monitor Pass was open on Jan. 16, 2015, and road crews were doing maintenance on the road.

After barely closing at all during some of the worst drought years, Monitor Pass opened on the latest date in the last 13 years on Monday, according to the California Department of Transportation.

California Route 89 between Highway 395 in Mono County and Highway 4 in Alpine County is a popular tourist route.

Monitor Pass was closed for the 2016-17 winter season on Nov. 30.

According to records dating back to 2004-05, Monday's opening marks the latest date that Monitor Pass has opened in the past 13 years, as well as the first opening day during the month of May. The previous latest-opening date of Monitor Pass occurred April 29, 2011, during the 2010-11 season.

The pass didn't close at all during the winter of 2014-15, according to the CalTrans Web site.

Heavy snow in the Sierra has delayed the opening of several passes over the mountains.

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CalTrans estimates there are still 50-foot snowdrifts to clear off parts of Highway 120 to Tioga Pass, the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.

As of Thursday, crews had reached Warren Creek and are dealing with 8-15-feet of snow on the highway.

Crews estimated there is 12-15 feet of snow on Highway 108 to Sonora Pass where they're 2 miles from the county line at 8,500 feet.

More snow fell in the region from this past weekend's storm. Natural Resource Conservation Service snow telemetry recorded 7 additional inches fell by Sunday, bringing the snow depth back up to 99 inches before warm weather returned on Monday.

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