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Wacky weather can hit anytime

I was hiking on Grizzly Peak a few days ago when I discovered what appeared a rather strange sight for a June morning. Although the sky was relatively clear, with a few scattered clouds, there was a continual showering of ice pellets from above. Looking up, the tree tops appeared to be covered with snow and ice. Any idea what created that much ice?

— Bernie P., Talent.

School is out and it may be summer in a lot of minds, but it's still spring and that means a mish-mash of weather patterns, which can create all sorts of interesting results in upper elevations such as Grizzly Peak's 5,922-foot reach.

"We've had some pretty extreme weather this spring," said Ken Cummings, regional manager for Forest Capital Partners. "A lot of cells come through and you will hear the weatherman say it's going to be partly this and partly that."

While the collection of ice might be unusual, it's not improbable.

"There can be isolated pocket cells of much cooler, wetter weather," Cummings said. "It's very possible there was a high level of condensation — snow and sleet — and you would be in and out of it in half a mile."

While summer hikers may not have to worry about ice dropping off trees on the upper reaches of Mount McLoughlin, that's also a likely spot for a touch of unexpected weather, Cummings said.

"A lot of people don't realize when they are hiking up McLoughlin in July that it can snow," he said. "They're in shorts and unprepared. When it's 85 degrees at ground level (in the valley) you might not be aware of the temperatures and troughs at upper elevations."

Just as snow and ice can build on trees this time of year, the coming warmer months can go the opposite direction.

"That's a problem during fire season," Cummings said. "You look at the higher elevations, and you see more super-heated air and that can really have an effect."

Email questions to youasked@mailtribune.com.