Memorial Day weekend was not the typical BBQ under the sun sort of holiday with inversion at Grand Canyon. Rain, cold and snow may have dampened a few hikers but the intermittent inversions put on a Grand show. You just had to have patience.
Visitors constantly ask, when will it lift? I don’t predict the weather. But I tell them to find a place at the rim where they are safe and comfortable and have patience. The clouds will typically drift in and out revealing windows of view and sometimes the whole canyon.
Actually inversions seem to happen more often than I remember since 2008 when I began working at the canyon. I’ve seen them occur maybe two or three times a season during summer monsoons. Since we’ve opened May 15th partial inversions have happened frequently.
This past winter the canyon experienced two total inversions in December (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF8LUy1LJjs) and January (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBm7jgNX3hQ) when clouds entirely filled the canyon with only the tallest peaks sticking up out of a sea of fog. According to the National Weather Service total cloud inversions are a rare event that typically happen just once every several years. So what’s normal about weather?
I should have taken video as the rise and swirl changed so rapidly. But I was working. I’d take a photo, turn to talk to a visitor and in seconds the entire scene would change. If I carried the tripod this would have made for awesome time lapse.
Due to a low winter snow pack we really need all this moisture and hopefully it will reduce the risk of forest fire this year.
After the holiday weekend ended the weather, so far, returned to spring. I spent Tuesday on the Walhalla Plateau under patches of blue sky.
Have you ever seen the phenomenon of cloud inversion? Come visit Grand Canyon National Park during summer monsoon for a possible chance. But please have patience.
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