Yesterday was basically a 1980's adventure revival day as I stopped at the Cabazon Dinosaurs (http://lastadventurer.com/last-adventurers-fieldnotes/2012/1/23/cabazon-dinosaurs.html) and headed up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a little hiking. There's nothing really retro - or eighties about the tram these days, as it's a slick, modern rotating machine, but when I got to Long Valley, I had a very retrofabulistic moment (yes, I know retrofabulistic isn't a real word, but it sounds good, right?) when I looked around, and there was almost no snow. At that moment, my exact thoughts were: "Where's the snow?!?!?" As you can see from the photos, there was little to no snow at around the ~8500 foot mark that Long Valley sits at. As I walked along the valley, both East and West, I'd say the snow depths were running at ~1-3 inches, variable, mostly melted off, and what base layer remained was almost completely iced out. Keep in mind that these conditions were after the "winter" storm we received in the Southern California region, which obviously left no accumumulations at this elevation. From Long Valley up to Round Valley, there was spotty accumulation, mostly under deep tree cover and around the rocks of ~2-4 inches, variable; with an occasional "drift" of a foot or more (again, completely iced out). More often than not, even up to around ~9500 feet, there were bare spots of dirt, and no snow coverage whatsoever.
This is in start contrast to last year, 2011, when I was on the summit in April, and there was still a substantial amount of snow from Long Valley on (several feet), and from 2010 when I headed up the to the summit on Memorial Day in several feet of snow from Long Valley. While a storm is passing through today, the ten day shows nothing but sun. At this point, it looks like we will be experiencing a drought year, which, while good for peakbaggers, is bad for fire conditions. If you are planning on heading for the summit at this point, I'd strongly recommend microspikes/crampons due to the prevalance of ice on the trail and summit approach.
Pray for snow!