Winning Winter In Wonderland

By Lisa Lynn Morgan

Winters are stunningly beautiful in the desert. Add a layer of fresh snowfall to this already otherworldly scene and forget about it. Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist, Patrick Evans, has been a local weather wizard for desert folks for decades, so we asked him what this coming winter might look like. “We’re in an El Nino cycle,” he explained. “This often means wetter winters for Southern California, and that can lead to the higher likelihood of snow events in the high desert. The elevation is often right on the cusp of freezing, but when cold systems come through, we get that beautiful frosting of white!”

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Whatever winter brings us this season, please heed the safety guidelines provided by our park experts. With the number of annual visitors clocking in at 3.1 million over the last two years, and close to 800,000 rugged acres within the Park’s gates, stellar experiences and lifelong memories will be made by many. Please make sure they are all good ones.

From Joshua Tree Nation Park
Winter temperatures can drop well below freezing. Hypothermia can be a hazard even at temperatures above freezing. Always carry extra layers of clothing during the cooler months.

The short days of winter lead some hikers to miscalculate how much time they need to complete a hike. Around the winter solstice, plan to be back at the trailhead by 4 pm.

Hypothermia is a life-threatening emergency where the body cannot keep itself warm, due to exhaustion and exposure to cold, wet, windy weather.

Symptoms are uncontrolled shivering, poor muscle control, careless attitude. Look for signs of the “umbles” – stumbling, mumbling, fumbling, grumbling.

Treatment: Remove wet clothing and put on dry clothing, drink warm sugary liquids, warm victim by body contact with another person, protect from wind, rain, and cold.

For more Park safety guidelines, go to or scan the QR Code, and stay happy out there!

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