Roadside Naturalist: Effects of the Mono Winds

September 08, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Effects of the Mono Winds

Downed trees caused by Mono Winds near Mono Pass Trailhead

August 30, 2012
Tioga Road near Mono Pass Trailhead

Dramatic evidence of the regional phenomenon known as the Mono Winds can be seen just off the Tioga road near the Mono Pass Trailhead. Numerous trees are down in this area, having been blown down last winter. When a high pressure system is over the Great Basin, the clockwise movement of air pushes up and over the Sierra and picks up speed as it rushes down the western slopes. The rugged topography funnels some of that air, further increasing the speed and intensifying localized effects. The Mono Winds can easily reach 50 mph and in extreme cases exceed 100 mph. It is likely that the wind that knocked these trees down was funneled by the Tioga pass and continued down the Tioga road. Most of the downed trees are near the road and lying parallel with the road. The weather patterns that cause the Mono Winds occur from October to April but are most common in December and January. 

roadside naturalist

Last updated: September 9, 2012

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