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Author Topic: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth  (Read 9862 times)
garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #25 on: 03/18/11, 01:42 PM »

Where are you getting the monthly snowfall numbers for Baker? I don't see any seasonal or monthly snowfall totals on their website (except outdated info at http://www.mtbaker.us/1011/ski-area-info/snowfall-statistics/), I wish they would post current numbers each day. If I add up the NWAC telemetry, I get about 176" for March and 101" for the last 7 days (including today's 14") -- a pretty great week and half-month:


I got those snowfall totals from Kenny by phone. He said that while he had little confidence in the accuracy of some of the old records, he felt pretty comfortable with today's (modern era) data. I just took his word for it, I didn't try to double-check what he told me.
« Last Edit: 03/18/11, 06:31 PM by garyabrill » Logged
Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #26 on: 03/19/11, 08:44 PM »

More good snow news!! I noticed today that the snowdepth on Mt Shasta had suddenly reached 200" after a massive 4-foot dump, and decided to check the numbers at a bunch of other sites. It turns out that several more telemetry sites in the Cascade Range and nearby have exceeded the 200" snowdepth mark in the past few days:

The Upper Squamish River BCRFC site at 4500 ft on a ridge west of Mt Cayley (a Cascade volcano about 15 miles west of Whistler) topped 200" on March 10, then reached 239" on March 16, and now has 228". This site often has snowdepths within a few % of Mt Baker Ski Area (as it does now), and it receives about 50% more snowfall than Whistler Mountain's 5400 ft measurement plot, 20 miles to the east. Incidentally, Whistler's snowdepth reached 156" on March 16, which is 150% of normal and which it has only exceeded in two other seasons (1974 and 1999) since records begin in 1972. Whistler now has 533" of snowfall on the season, its 2nd highest total as of late March behind only 1998-99, and so this makes it back-to-back huge seasons for southwestern BC and Whistler. The 588" of snowfall in 2009-10 was its 2nd highest total ever, but is almost certain to be exceeded this season.

As per previous posts in this thread, Mt Baker Ski Area (4200 ft) topped 200" on March 10, then reached 253" on March 16 (over 150% of normal), and now has about 235", which is the most of any telemetry site in North America as far as I know. The ski area is not posting snowfall stats this season, but it must be over 650" by now. A depth of 273" is reported by Baker Ski Area atop Pan Dome at 5000 ft, however, the deepest base reported by any ski area in North America is at Mt Washington on Vancouver Island, with 281" now at their mid-mountain site (about 4500 ft) and which passed 200" way back on February 17, just as this month-long cycle of heavy snowfall in the Northwest began.

Brown Top SNOTEL (5830 ft, on the long ridge extending east from Mt Redoubt in the North Cascades) reached 202" on March 16-17, and now has 188" after some settlement.
Easy Pass SNOTEL (5270 ft, 8 miles east of Mt Shuksan) has no working snowdepth sensor, but its snow-water equivalent is now over 90", implying a snowdepth of over 220", perhaps near 240".
Buckinghorse SNOTEL (4870 ft, in the Olympics, 12 miles SE of Mt Olympus) has apparently had its snowdepth sensor (mounted much too low) buried by the rising snowpack, and so is stuck reading only 196" since March 10. But its snow-water equivalent is now over 80", implying a snowdepth of over 200", perhaps near 220".
Cayuse Pass SNOTEL (5240 ft, near the hairpin turn on SR 410 above Cayuse Pass) reached 202" on March 16, and now has 196".

And Paradise continues to hover near and above 200" for the past 9 days since March 10, with continuing new snowfall just offsetting the ongoing settlement of the snowpack. Snowfall for the season-to-date is reported at 658" as of this morning, with a depth of 208" on the NPS snow stake and 201" on the NWAC telemetry.

Over 400 miles to the south, on Mt Shasta the Old Ski Bowl site (7600 ft) topped 200" today (March 19), which is over 160% of normal. Nearly 4 ft of snow has fallen in the last 2 days -- plus another 2-3 ft of snow are expected in the next 2 days. It's great to have a long spring and early-summer ski season already ensured on Shasta, where the snowpack is so variable from year to year.

Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (8250 ft), topped 200" on March 16, and now has over 227", about 130% of normal. More than 2 ft of snow has fallen in the last 2 days -- plus another 3-4 ft of snow are expected in the next 2 days. If that snowfall occurs as forecast, Lassen's snowdepth will easily pass the Baker Ski Area site.

The maximum snowdepth at any site in Oregon remains Mt Hood Timberline Lodge (6000 ft) with almost 170" now, about 105% of normal. The Crater Lake Rim site (7050 ft) had 153" on March 17, but has been down since then. No other telemetry sites in Oregon are over 140", and sites in WA and northern CA are doing much better than Oregon as a percent of normal, but in general the Oregon Cascades are now at or above normal snowdepth. Timberline is reporting seasonal snowfall of 520", while Mount Bachelor is reporting 490" and Crater Lake has received 480" at park headquarters (6400 ft).


Overall for the Cascade Range, this now qualifies as a great snow season, and it's the first season since 2005-2006 to be above-normal for snowfall and snowdepth over the entire length of the range (700+ miles) from southwestern BC to northern California. It has definitely not been a typical La Nina season, except for the last month since mid-February which has looked like a classic La Nina-influenced weather pattern. The snowpack will likely continue building somewhat for the next month, until mid-April. There should be a lot of great route options for spring and summer skiing throughout the entire range this year.

« Last Edit: 03/20/11, 03:35 PM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #27 on: 03/20/11, 02:03 PM »

Smoley Hokes! And it's not just the Cascades; there are great snow depths extending all the way south to Mt. Whitney with 136% to 181% of normal when I last checked a few days ago. Mammoth reports a pretty doggone good 167" at the base, 200" at mid-mountain and a whopping 260" at the top, with a trifling 55"new. Mammoth has had over 500" of snowfall this winter according to Howard Sheckter. I suspect some of the Tahoe areas are equally well-endowed - to borrow a term.

The fire hose has been washing the entire west coast at different times with a pretty good dousing of H2O.

You know when I first skied Whistler in 1968 we were told (it was written on a chalkboard) that the mountain had 33' of base. I doubted that could be true; still, there were a bunch of buildings on the flats below the Roundhouse and all that was showing of them were the chimneys/vent pipes sticking directly out of the snow?

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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #28 on: 03/20/11, 04:19 PM »

Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (8250 ft), topped 200" on March 16, and now has over 227", about 130% of normal. More than 2 ft of snow has fallen in the last 2 days -- plus another 3-4 ft of snow are expected in the next 2 days. If that snowfall occurs as forecast, Lassen's snowdepth will easily pass the Baker Ski Area site.

As expected, the continued heavy snowfall in California the past few days has sent Lassen Peak into the lead, passing Baker Ski Area overnight and reaching 239" of snowdepth early this morning, now the most of any telemetry site in North America. Mt Shasta Old Ski Bowl is up to 207".

Quite unusually for a La Nina season, the Sierra Nevada has had a huge snow year, although as is typical down there, much of the snowfall has come in isolated dumps of 5-15 ft per storm cycle, separated by long periods (weeks or even over a month) of sunshine and no snowfall. Another such storm cycle is underway this week as the storm track has shifted south of the Pacific Northwest, with 3-5 ft already fallen in the last 2 days and up to 6 ft of additional snowfall forecast for the Sierra over the next 5 days. A couple of telemetry sites in the Sierra have now topped 200":

The Meadow Lake CCSS site (7200 ft, north of I-80 and Lake Tahoe) reached 197" on March 17, leveled off for a day, and with renewed snowfall appears to have reached 229" last night, although the data has been very flaky and intermittent -- it's hard to tell the correct data from the spurious data (e.g. the 276" values).
Leavitt Lake SNOTEL (9600 ft, west of Bridgeport, well south of Lake Tahoe) topped 200" on March 18, and now has 218" (the 317" values are spurious).

These are normally the two highest-snowdepth telemetry sites in the Sierra Nevada, although they each average about 25-30% less snowdepth than the Lassen Peak, Lake Helen site which has the largest average snowdepth in California.

The Mammoth Ski Patrol's telemetry site at 9000 ft has 175" (see http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/ for lots of nice snowpack info and other stuff, including their Avalanche Path Atlas), while the nearby Mammoth Pass USBR site (9300 ft) has 174" as of this morning. The ski area is reporting 499" of snowfall for the season as of this morning -- so it's over 500" now for sure. The average annual snowfall at Mammoth (main lodge, 8900 ft) since 1969 is about 380", so it's already over 130% of normal snowfall with lots more snow on the way.

As for the Tahoe ski areas, the largest snowdepths and snowfall totals according the ski areas themselves (take with a large grain of salt -- no telemetry sites near the ski areas come close to these numbers):
Sugar Bowl has gotten 46-64" new the last 2 days, and now reports a 287" snowdepth at its summit -- no seasonal snowfall totals though.
Squaw Valley has gotten 38-48" new the last 2 days with a 190" upper snowdepth, and a snowfall of 570" at 8200 ft according to their Snowfall Tracker 2010-11.
Alpine Meadows has gotten 39-54" new the last 2 days, and now reports a 297" snowdepth at its summit -- no seasonal snowfall totals though. It's also "Closed - Too much snow to safely enjoy. (Extreme Avalanche Danger and High Winds)".
Sierra at Tahoe has gotten 19-45" new the last 2 days, and now reports a 208" snowdepth at its summit -- no seasonal snowfall totals though.

Kirkwood has gotten 56-62" new the last 2 days, and now reports a 198-247" snowdepth, with seasonal snowfall of 607-621". However, Kirkwood's snowfall and snowdepth numbers are the most suspect of any ski area that I've tracked, they often just don't add up (literally). There was an obvious instance of double-counting daily snowfall totals during the huge late-December 2010 storm cycle, which remained uncorrected later, and their base depths often mysteriously stay constant for days or weeks after a storm -- while those of all other nearby ski areas are shrinking as they must due to settlement. Unfortunately, Kirkwood's numbers are for entertainment purposes only and are nearly useless scientifically, which is a shame since they probably get the most snowfall of any CA ski area (about 470" on average, roughly the same as Sugar Bowl).

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Zap
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #29 on: 03/20/11, 08:32 PM »

Amar,

Thanks for the latest snow data of the Tahoe and Eastern Sierra. Jill and I usually spend March, April and early May in The Sierra.  With both of our recent surgeries,  we're unfortunately missing it.  During recent years, we get Kirkwood season passes because of their deep snowpack and terrain.  I'm hoping the storm cycles keep rolling thru and buiding the bases for an extended spring/summer season.  I just might be able to be back on skis by mid June.  Wink
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telemack
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #30 on: 03/20/11, 09:46 PM »

Mid-June sounds like good spring skiing this year,and I'll go with you, too.   Grin
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #31 on: 03/21/11, 03:04 PM »

Updated totals for the leading CA telemetry sites:
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (7600 ft) reached 209" last night, and has now settled by a few inches to 204".
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (8250 ft) reached 241" last night, and has now settled by a few inches to 237", but remains just ahead of Baker Ski Area which has 233".
Meadow Lake CCSS site (7200 ft) appears to have reached 235" last night, although the data remains very flaky and intermittent.
Leavitt Lake SNOTEL (9600 ft) reached 225" this morning, and has now settled by a few inches to 221".

A couple of the Tahoe ski areas are now reporting summit snowdepths of over 300" (as always, some of the numbers are inconsistent from day-to-day, and no telemetry sites near the ski areas come close to matching these depths, except at Mammoth):
Sugar Bowl:  62-86" new the last 3 days, and still reports a 154-287" snowdepth (unchanged since yesterday).
Boreal:  83-90" new the last 3 days, and now reports a 175-300" snowdepth (it was only 100-200" yesterday ??).
Northstar:  42-52" new the last 3 days, with a 210" snowdepth at its summit.
Squaw Valley:  58-72" new the last 3 days, with a 250" upper snowdepth (yesterday was only 190" ??) and seasonal snowfall of 596" at 8200 ft according to their Snowfall Tracker 2010-11.
Alpine Meadows:  73-101" new the last 3 days, and now reports a 175-308" snowdepth.
Sierra at Tahoe:  36-66" new the last 3 days, and still reports a 208" snowdepth at its summit (unchanged since yesterday).
Kirkwood:  75-90" new the last 2 days, and now reports a 203-247" snowdepth, with seasonal snowfall of 627-641" -- the changes since yesterday don't quite add-up, as usual.
Mammoth:  63-100" new the last 3 days, with a 15-22 ft (180-264") snowdepth and 530" of seasonal snowfall.
The Mammoth Ski Patrol's telemetry site at 9000 ft has 188", and the nearby Mammoth Pass USBR site (9300 ft) has 195" as of this morning.

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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #32 on: 03/22/11, 03:42 PM »

Interesting that 4 out of the past 7 years at Mammoth have been over 500" and among the all time leaders (including the top 2 and likely the top 3 before this calms down):

http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/MMSA-SnowSummary70-Current.htm
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #33 on: 03/28/11, 12:11 PM »

The 2010-11 snow season continues to be fascinating, with periods of exceptional snowfall in both the Pacific Northwest and California over the last 6 weeks since mid-February. The just-concluded back-to-back-to-back huge California storm cycles (March 14-16, 17-22 and 23-27) brought 10-20 ft of snowfall to Shasta, Lassen, and the Sierra Nevada, but that appears to be the last of the heavy snowfall for California for at least the next 1-2 weeks as the storm track is shifting back into the Pacific Northwest over that period.

Updated totals for the leading telemetry sites, those which have exceeded 200" at some point this season:

The Upper Squamish River BCRFC site (4500 ft, west of Whistler and Mt Cayley) has settled to 213" as of March 25, well off its seasonal maximum of 239" on March 16 -- still the most of any Canadian telemetry site. Online data for all BCRFC telemetry sites appears to be down since March 25.

Mt Baker Ski Area (4200 ft) has 224" as of March 28 (about 130% of normal), well off its seasonal maximum of 253" on March 16. The ski area reports a base of 262" at 5000 ft atop Pan Dome, well off its seasonal maximum of 283" on March 17. The Mt Washington ski area on Vancouver Island reports 273" as of March 28 at their mid-mountain site (about 4500 ft), and has remained ahead of Baker throughout this season since late December, when it reported over 80" new in 3 days before Christmas, reaching a 205" snowdepth on December 25.

Brown Top SNOTEL (5830 ft, on the long ridge extending east from Mt Redoubt in the North Cascades) reached 202" on March 16-17, and now has 170" as of March 28 after continuing settlement with minimal additional snowfall since March 19.
Easy Pass SNOTEL (5270 ft, 8 miles east of Mt Shuksan) has no working snowdepth sensor, but its snow-water equivalent has held near 92" with minimal additional snowfall since March 19, implying a snowdepth of around 200-220" as of March 28.
Cayuse Pass SNOTEL (5240 ft, near the hairpin turn on SR 410 above Cayuse Pass) reached 202" on March 16, and now has 201" as of March 28 with continuing occasional snowfall offsetting the settlement.

And Paradise continues to hover near and just above/below 200" for the past 18 days since March 10, with continuing new snowfall slightly exceeding the ongoing settlement of the snowpack. Snowfall for the season-to-date is reported at 689" as of this morning March 28, already surpassing its average annual snowfall of 680" (the highest average of any measurement site in the world). The depth is 210" on the NPS snow stake (a new seasonal maximum and 120% of normal) with 203" on the NWAC telemetry as of March 28, just shy of the seasonal telemetry maximum of 204" on March 16.

Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (6000 ft) is up to 179" as of March 28, its seasonal high and about 110% of normal, with seasonal snowfall of 560". No other telemetry sites in Oregon are over 160", although Mt Bachelor Ski Area is reporting a base of 170-195" (at 6300 and 7700 ft), with 543" of snowfall and 17" new today. Crater Lake park headquarters (6400 ft) has a seasonal high of 156" (about 130% of normal) as of March 28 with 542" of snowfall, already surpassing its average annual snowfall of 524".

Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (7600 ft) reached 223" on March 24, and after settling by several inches, with renewed snowfall again reached 223" on March 26 and is now at 222" as of March 28 (about 180% of normal). The sensor is mounted much too low at this site at only 237" high, and many readings over the past few days have been this 237" value. If it resumes snowing heavily, the sensor may get buried like it did in 2006 when the snowdepth reached 284" (in a manual measurement on April 12), an all-time record for any site on Mt Shasta. (Yesterday's report from the Mt Shasta Avalanche Center staff assumes that the sensor is already buried and estimates the snowdepth at 245+" -- however, the data appears to indicate that the sensor may not quite be buried yet.)

Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (8250 ft) reached 274" on March 26 and now reads 269" as of March 28 (about 160% of normal). This is the most of any telemetry site in North America this season, but well below this location's record depth of 331" set on March 31, 1983 (a monthly manual snow course measurement, 20 years before the telemetry site was built). This site has two snowdepth sensors, the primary one mounted at 297" above ground and an auxiliary sensor (on another tower?) at 357" high -- the auxiliary sensor has been reading about 10" less than the primary one for the past few weeks, although mostly it's giving the 357" error value.

The Lassen Volcanic National Park visitor center (6700 ft) has a depth of 192" as of March 28. The visitor center has been closed since March 23 due to the heavy snowfall, and the webcam looking north out the window shows that the building has gotten nearly buried by snow:









The Meadow Lake CCSS site (7200 ft, north of I-80 and Lake Tahoe) appears to have reached 261" as of March 25 and showed 259" as of March 27, although the data remains very flaky and intermittent (most of the readings are 276", which is the height of the sensor above ground).

Independence Lake SNOTEL (8350 ft, 15 miles east of Meadow Lake CCSS site) reached 214" as of March 25, and has 196" as of March 28.
Stanislaus Meadow CCSS site (7750 ft, on Hwy 4, south of Lake Tahoe) reached 200" as of March 25, and has 186" as of March 28.
Leavitt Lake SNOTEL (9600 ft, west of Bridgeport, well south of Lake Tahoe) reached 237" as of March 25, and has 230" as of March 28.

The Mammoth Ski Patrol's telemetry site at 9000 ft reached 215" as of March 25, and has 199" as of March 28. The nearby Mammoth Pass USBR site (9300 ft) reached 195" as of March 21 and again on March 23, but the snowdepth sensor has been offline since then even as 3-4 ft of additional snow has fallen.


Several of the Tahoe ski areas plus Mammoth are reporting summit snowdepths of over 300" as of March 27, the end of the recent storm cycles (as always, some of the numbers are inconsistent from day-to-day, and no telemetry sites near the ski areas come close to matching these depths, except at Mammoth):

Sugar Bowl: snowdepth 178-303"
Boreal: snowdepth 275-375" ?!?
Northstar: snowdepth 132-231", season snowfall 404-634", and 109-166" new during the March 14-27 period.
Squaw Valley: snowdepth 95-265", season snowfall 441-689", which they say breaks their all-time record snowfall of 662", with 151-209" new during the March 14-27 period and 168-241" for the month of March.
Alpine Meadows: snowdepth 189-312", season snowfall 572-800" with a new record of 201" in March
Sierra at Tahoe: snowdepth 132-250", season snowfall 430-719", and 101-204" new during the March 14-27 period.
Kirkwood: snowdepth 229-273", season snowfall 691-713"


Interesting that 4 out of the past 7 years at Mammoth have been over 500" and among the all time leaders (including the top 2 and likely the top 3 before this calms down):

http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/MMSA-SnowSummary70-Current.htm

Mammoth has a snowdepth of 204-324", with season snowfall 606" and 151" new during the March 14-27 period, as reported by the ski area. Snowfall is 589" as reported on the Mammoth Ski Patrol's pages, with 148" new during the March 14-27 period.

Confusingly, Mammoth has two entirely different sets of long-term monthly snowfall stats, from the ski area (main lodge, 8900 ft) and the ski patrol (9000 ft snow study plot nearby). The numbers differ slightly (typically a few percent) but they are impossible to fully reconcile with each other (missing months in one set or the other, some months with large differences between the two sets, even though most are very close, etc). This year's 589" is a new record in the ski patrol stats, exceeding the 578" recorded in 2005-6, but the ski area recorded 668" that same year and widely reported that number as its all-time record snowfall.


(Edited to fix broken link.)
« Last Edit: 04/11/11, 04:31 PM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #34 on: 03/28/11, 03:05 PM »

That visitor's center is not short. Whole lotta snow! Thanks Amar!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/76248783@N00/2932740999
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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #35 on: 03/29/11, 01:38 PM »

Thanks, Amar.

Any thoughts about the climatology regarding the clustering of the heavy snow years recently at Mammoth?

I've noticed that heavy snow years are often grouped in six to seven year periods in the Paradise records. Wonder why?
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #36 on: 04/08/11, 02:13 AM »

The unusual and often spectacular 2010-2011 snow season continues delivering the goods into early April. Here are some more updated totals, as recent snowfall in WA and OR has brought most snow measurement sites to new seasonal maxima, and several more sites have reached the 200" mark:

BC:
The Upper Squamish River BCRFC site (4500 ft, west of Whistler and Mt Cayley) reached 226" as of April 6, below its seasonal maximum of 239" on March 16, but still the most of any Canadian telemetry site.

The Whistler ski area has 140" of snowdepth at 5400 ft (135% of normal), below the maximum of 156" on March 16, with 568" of total snowfall to date, its 2nd highest snowfall on record through April 7. This is likely to become only the 2nd season to break 600" at Whistler, trailing the record 673" of 1998-99. By the way, the current #2 snow season was just last year, with 588" in 2009-2010 (snowfall data exists back to 1972-73 at this site).

WA:
Mt Baker Ski Area (4200 ft) hit a new seasonal maximum of 258" on April 6 (about 150% of normal), exceeding its previous seasonal maximum of 253" on March 16, and currently the most of any telemetry site in North America. The ski area also reported a base of 283" at 5000 ft atop Pan Dome, matching its seasonal maximum of 283" on March 17. Seasonal snowfall was finally posted on their website with 682" as of March 17, and about 70-80" more has fallen since then for a total exceeding 750".

Marten Ridge SNOTEL (3520 ft, on the east flank of Mt Baker) reached a seasonal maximum of 192" on April 6, impressive for its comparatively low elevation.
Brown Top SNOTEL (5830 ft, on the long ridge extending east from Mt Redoubt in the North Cascades) reached 197" on April 6, just shy of its seasonal maximum of 202" on March 16-17.
Easy Pass SNOTEL (5270 ft, 8 miles east of Mt Shuksan) has no working snowdepth sensor, but its snow-water equivalent has reached 103" as of April 6, implying a snowdepth of around 240-250".
Buckinghorse SNOTEL (4870 ft, in the Olympics, 12 miles SE of Mt Olympus) has had its snowdepth sensor (mounted much too low) buried by the rising snowpack, and so is stuck reading only 196" since March 10. But it was apparently manually measured at 208" on April 1.
Lyman Lake SNOTEL (5980 ft, 11 miles NE of Glacier Peak) has also apparently had its snowdepth sensor buried by the rising snowpack, and so is stuck reading only 194" since April 1, despite another 3 ft of new snow falling.

Even Stevens and Snoqualmie, which have been struggling to reach normal snowdepths all season, are now solidly over 100% of normal. Stevens Pass reached a seasonal maximum of 139" at 4000 ft on April 6 (about 140% of normal), with 193" atop Skyline Express (5240 ft) and 188" nearby at Grace Lakes (4800 ft). Snoqualmie Pass reached a seasonal maximum of 106" at 3000 ft on April 6 (about 130% of normal), with 122" at the Alpental base (3120 ft) and 207" reported by the ski area atop Alpental (5400 ft).

Paradise reached a new seasonal maximum of 235" on the NWAC telemetry on April 6, far exceeding its previous maximum of 205" on March 29. Snowfall for the season-to-date is reported at 771" as of April 7, with a depth of 245" on the NPS snow stake (a new seasonal maximum and about 140% of normal). Paradise is almost certain to break the 800" mark for snowfall this year, which it has done in only 11 seasons out of 84 years which have total snowfall data (average annual snowfall is 680", the highest average of any measurement site in the world).

Paradise SNOTEL (5130 ft, SW of the old visitor center site) also reached a new seasonal maximum of 207" on April 6.
Cayuse Pass SNOTEL (5240 ft, near the hairpin turn on SR 410 above Cayuse Pass) hit a new seasonal maximum of 221" on April 6, exceeding its previous seasonal maximum of 204" on March 29.
Swift Creek SNOTEL (4440 ft, on the south side of Mt St Helens) has had problems with its snowdepth sensor since January (more and more flaky, then offline), but it was apparently manually measured at 182" on April 1. About 4 ft of new snow has fallen since then, so it probably reached about 220" on April 6.

OR:
Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (6000 ft) finally and just barely reached the 200" mark on April 6 (about 120% of normal), exceeding its previous seasonal maximum of 185" on March 29, with seasonal snowfall of 624" to date.

No other telemetry sites in Oregon are over 170", although Mt Bachelor Ski Area is reporting a base of 159-179" (at 6300 and 7700 ft), with 577" of snowfall. Crater Lake park headquarters (6400 ft) has a depth of 145" as of April 7 (about 120% of normal), below its seasonal high of 160" on March 29, with snowfall of 578" to date, far surpassing its average annual snowfall of 524".

CA:
In California, the huge March storm cycles (which brought 10-20 ft of snowfall to Shasta, Lassen, and the Sierra Nevada over a 2 week period) ended on March 27-28, followed by sunny weather and almost no additional snowfall through April 6. Snowdepths at many sites (which neared and exceeded 200" during the storms) have now settled by over 40" or even 50" through April 6, when a new system brought another 1-2 ft of snow to the Sierra.

Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (7600 ft) is down to 190" as of April 7, still about 160% of normal, but well off its seasonal maximum of about 230" from March 26-28. The sensor is mounted much too low at this site at only 237" high, and many readings during the maximum period were inconsistent and pegged at this 237" value. The Sand Flat CCSS site (6750 ft, just west of Bunny Flat) is at 145" as of April 7, down from its maximum of about 200" from March 26-28 (this sensor also apparently got buried, with 5 days of no data from March 24-29, and data resuming at 186" on March 29).

Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (8250 ft) is down to 234" as of April 7, still about 130% of normal, but well off its seasonal maximum of 274" on March 26 which was the most of any telemetry site in North America this season. The Lassen Volcanic National Park visitor center (6700 ft) is at 150" as of April 6, down from its maximum of 192" on March 28.

The Meadow Lake CCSS site (7200 ft, north of I-80 and Lake Tahoe) appears to have reached 261" as of March 25 and perhaps 259" as of March 27, but the data was very flaky and intermittent, then all telemetry from the site died completely. A manual snow course measurement showed 228" on March 31.
Independence Lake SNOTEL (8350 ft, 15 miles east of Meadow Lake CCSS site) is down to 167" as of April 6, off its seasonal maximum of 214" on March 25.
Leavitt Lake SNOTEL (9600 ft, west of Bridgeport, well south of Lake Tahoe) is down to 203" as of April 6, off its seasonal maximum of 237" on March 25.

Several other manual monthly snow course sites in the Sierra Nevada also exceeded 200" during the April 1 measurement, see the April measurements here. The overall California snowpack is at 170% of normal, so the 2007-2009 California drought is even more completely over than it was after last year's plentiful late-season snowfall.

The Mammoth Ski Patrol's telemetry site at 9000 ft is down to 160" as of April 6, off its seasonal maximum of 215" on March 25. The nearby Mammoth Pass USBR site (9300 ft) reached 195" on March 21 and again on March 23, apparently that is the height of the snowdepth sensor which got buried at the time. The true seasonal maximum was probably about 225-230" on March 25, which has settled to 176" as of April 6. Snowdepths are building again with renewed snowfall on April 6-7, with seasonal snowfall of 617" as reported by the ski area as of April 7.


Any thoughts about the climatology regarding the clustering of the heavy snow years recently at Mammoth?

I've noticed that heavy snow years are often grouped in six to seven year periods in the Paradise records. Wonder why?

I'm not sure what to say about the clustering effect, or even whether it's real. The brain is adept at "seeing" patterns where none really exist (compare seeing faces in the moon and on Mars and on toast, patterns in clouds, etc). I've never read of any weather pattern with such a time-scale that could be the cause. But I've seen the same thing you see in the Paradise snowfall data, too.

Here's a comparison of the annual snowfall stats at Whistler and Mammoth, which both appear to show similar clustering for certain several-year periods (blue line is the current mean, red line the running mean):





Since I first analyzed the Whistler and Mammoth data several years ago (these sites both had good monthly snowfall data available online unlike almost all other ski areas, and extending back 30-40 years), I've been fascinated by the comparison between the snowfalls at these two massive ski areas. Both have surprisingly similar averages and maxima, but statistically the data sets are very different. Mammoth has a median of 392" with a standard deviation of 138", while Whistler has a median of 394" with a standard deviation of 99". Mammoth has much more variability, with many more huge seasons (4 years over 600") and also far more disastrous years (3 years under 200", with a shocking low of 90") compared to Whistler which is much more consistent (only 1 year over 600" and none below 200").

There are roughly 900 miles and 13 degrees of latitude (37.6 to 50.1 N) between Mammoth and Whistler, and weather patterns which favor one with heavy snowfall tend to leave the other dry. So the fact that this year and last year have both been huge at both ski areas is very odd, especially since 2009-2010 was an El Nino winter and 2010-2011 a La Nina winter. It is highly unusual for these two locations to have near-record snowfalls in the same season as they are doing now, with both likely to end up with their second highest snowfall years.

And even more so this season, it's unusual for essentially every mountain measurement site between those points 900 miles apart to have above normal snowdepth as they do now. Seasonal maxima have reached about 120% of normal in this year's least favored parts of the WA and OR Cascades (Stevens, Snoqualmie, and Hood), but over 150% of normal in southwest BC, the Olympics, and northern WA Cascades, and as much as 180-200% of normal on Shasta and at many sites in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Rocky Mountains (north of New Mexico at least) has also had a banner snow year, as has the East Coast both in the lowlands and the Appalachian Mountains. That's the most remarkable thing about the 2010-2011 snow season, the vast geographic extent of much-above-normal snowfall in North America.

« Last Edit: 04/11/11, 04:32 PM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

AndyMartin
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #37 on: 04/08/11, 08:20 AM »

Amar (and Gary),
This is a facinating thread - thanks for finding all the data and collecting it all in one place.
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AndyMartin
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #38 on: 04/08/11, 08:25 AM »

Utah is also doing well, with Alta reporting 609" year to date and a base of 184" as of April 8. A lot more snow is in the forecast as well.
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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #39 on: 04/08/11, 06:48 PM »

Thanks, again, Amar. Really cool stuff. I don't think I'd have noticed the clustering if I hadn't also seen it in Rainier's data. I remember walking into the old visitor's center and seeing a board with the annual snowfall totals. To me Rainier's data also had the same pattern both for good and bad periods as we see on the Mammoth data.

I've sometimes thought that looking at spring/summer weather seems to show a pattern over several years that is even more perceptible than the one that may be showing up in winter. For instance, up until about three years ago the springs seemed to arrive early and the summers seemed to be warmer and especially drier than normal with long periods without rain. Then over the past three summers, each summer has been worse than the one before with last summer taking the cake.

I'm guessing here, but I kind of think that there are longer patterns in the range of 6 to 7 years that have to have more than just El Nino and La Nina to explain them. As a matter of fact (to use the term loosely) it may be that last spring and summer's bad weather presaged this winter's La Nina even before sea surface temperatures showed the approach of La Nina. Something, but what?
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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #40 on: 04/09/11, 04:52 PM »

Thought I'd add this to the thread concerning climatological NW snow depths as compared to the present (from NWAC):

http://www.nwac.us/data/CLISNO
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #41 on: 04/11/11, 04:57 PM »

Here's the actual CLISNO data for April 1, posted for posterity:

CLIMATOLOGICAL SNOWDEPTH INFORMATION
NORTHWEST WEATHER AND AVALANCHE CENTER SEATTLE WASHINGTON
DAY  1  MONTH  4  YEAR  2011

DATA IN INCHES, -99 DENOTES MISSING DATA

            CURRENT  CLIMATE  PER CENT   LAST  THRU 2010  THRU 2010
            DEPTH    AVERAGE  OF NORMAL  YEAR  MAX/YEAR   MIN/YEAR

HURRICANE   153      105      146        110   252/1999    42/2005
MT BAKER    230      173      133        173   311/1999    72/1934
STEVENS     108      101      107         84   192/1956    24/1941
SNOQUALMIE   82       85       96         51   170/1956     2/1992
STAMPEDE     82      100       82         58   183/1956    17/1992
MISSION      58       47      123         47    86/1983    20/1973
CRYSTAL      97       71      137         81   144/1999    16/1981
PARADISE    208      174      120        153   327/1956    66/1941
WHITE PASS   62       56      111         54   110/1997     0/1992
TIMBERLINE  165      164      101        155   300/1999    57/1981
MEADOWS     129      129      100        125   199/2008    49/2005


April 1 is normally the most important day of the year for snowpack and snowdepth measurements, since on average the snowdepth maximum occurs near April 1 at most mountain sites of sufficient elevation, throughout the western US and southwestern Canada. Most water resources predictions for the summer are based on April 1 snowpack data (snow-water content). Unfortunately, by random chance this year, April 1 was not a very good day for big snowdepths in WA and OR, coming after the huge rainstorm which dumped 4-8" of precip at snow levels reaching 7000+ ft on March 29-31.

Even though the rainstorm did not reduce snowdepths much, it did nothing to help them, and then immediately afterward was followed by heavy snowfall at much lower snow levels. Thus several sites look near or below normal in that table, when they no longer were so low even a few days after April 1. Snowdepths increased by 2-3 ft at those sites by April 6, putting all sites over 100% of normal. The continued snowfall since then will ensure that the April 15 CLISNO looks much more favorable when it comes out.

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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #42 on: 04/12/11, 07:42 PM »

It looks to me as though the area around Kyes Peak/Cadet Glacier is the big winner this year (although obviously not a weather station). There is so much snow Cadet Glacier can't even be spotted. The snow in this region looks far deeper than even Mt. Baker and environs.
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toby_tortorelli
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #43 on: 04/12/11, 08:37 PM »

Don't forget about little old Mt. Washington, Vancouver Island, BC. Currently reporting 652cm's or 257" base.
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AndyMartin
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #44 on: 04/15/11, 08:13 PM »

Looks like Crystal, Paradise and Timberline all hit seasonal snowpack highs today (Aptril 15). 241 inches at Paradise - nice!
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garyabrill
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #45 on: 04/25/11, 03:13 PM »

Should be able to bump up those seasonal records at many locations the next few days.....
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #46 on: 04/26/11, 09:45 AM »

The continued snowfall since then will ensure that the April 15 CLISNO looks much more favorable when it comes out.

Here's the actual CLISNO data for April 15, belatedly posted for posterity, and looking much fatter than the April 1 numbers:

CLIMATOLOGICAL SNOWDEPTH INFORMATION
NORTHWEST WEATHER AND AVALANCHE CENTER SEATTLE WASHINGTON
DAY  15  MONTH  4  YEAR  2011

DATA IN INCHES, -99 DENOTES MISSING DATA

            CURRENT  CLIMATE  PER CENT   LAST  THRU 2010  THRU 2010
            DEPTH    AVERAGE  OF NORMAL  YEAR  MAX/YEAR   MIN/YEAR

HURRICANE   177      109      162        111   252/1999    51/2005
MT BAKER    253      167      151        184   290/1999    56/1934
STEVENS     125       93      134         86   170/1956    17/1941
SNOQUALMIE  100       72      139         56   153/1974     0/1992
STAMPEDE    111       98      113         68   216/1964     9/1992
MISSION      57       45      127         51    79/1983    21/1990
CRYSTAL     112       73      153         86   130/1999    30/1981
PARADISE    240      172      140        163   302/1972    68/1934
WHITE PASS   80       45      177         53    95/1997     0/1992
TIMBERLINE  203      164      124        163   300/1999    71/1977
MEADOWS     157      127      124        131   194/2008    54/2005



Numerous sites did reach new snowdepth maxima on the 15th, primarily in the region from Rainier south to Hood, and these same locations are likely to be reaching new seasonal maxima this week. In fact, Timberline has just reached a new maximum of 208" in the last hour (exceeding its prior mark of 206" set later in the day on April 15), as has Crystal Green Valley with 162" (had been 159" on April 15). The Crystal base area and Mt Hood Meadows are each now within 1" of their April 15 maxima, so they may pass those later today, or by Thursday with the next incoming storm.

The final CLISNO update on May 1 is likely to be very high as a percent of normal, coming out just after this week's major cold storms.

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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #47 on: 04/26/11, 10:28 AM »

Revisiting the original topic of this thread: Mount Rainier Paradise remains several inches below its 240+" seasonal maximum of April 15 as of today. However, it did pass the 800" mark for snowfall on April 14, and was up to 838" as of yesterday according to the park's phone message today. With 13" more of new snow today (see the official daily NPS measurements for Paradise for the last month), that would put it at about 851" for the season, the 10th highest seasonal snowfall on record at Paradise in 84 years of snowfall data.

With the next storm likely to dump another 2-3 ft on Wednesday-Thursday, and given its average snowfall of 23" in May and 6" in June, it is very likely that Paradise will break the 900" mark this season, something which it has done only 7 times before (last time was 947" in 2007-8). That was my pre-season prediction, that Paradise would break 900" this year, based on its average snowfall in strong La Niña years of 915". A prediction that looked to be highly erroneous by the time mid-February rolled around and the snowfall total was still hovering near 450", but now looking much closer to the mark.

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Stefan
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #48 on: 04/27/11, 02:42 PM »

Amar,

You are the expert so I am asking this question to you.

How come when I read snotel data for Year-to-Date Precipitation, the accumulated precipitation amount will go down as well as up?  I understand going up...but whay does the Year-to-Date Precipitation go down from one reading to the next over several hours?

Here is an example:
http://www3.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/sntl-datarpt.jsp?site=991&days=7&state=washington

Thanks for helping me understand the data!

Stefan
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: Mount Rainier Paradise reaches 200" snow depth
« Reply #49 on: 04/27/11, 07:15 PM »

How come when I read snotel data for Year-to-Date Precipitation, the accumulated precipitation amount will go down as well as up?  I understand going up...but why does the Year-to-Date Precipitation go down from one reading to the next over several hours?

This FAQ from the Idaho SNOTEL site has info about precip gauge errors, see question #2: http://www.id.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/faq/snow_prec_faq.html
Quote
Q2. How can year-to-date precipitation decrease? For example, Trinity Mountain SNOTEL’s precipitation was 7.8 inches then the next reading shows 7.7 inches. Shouldn’t cumulative precipitation always be increasing?

Cumulative precipitation should only increase through a water year, however we allow small decreases in raw precipitation data (less than -0.5 inches) so that it passes through our automatic quality checks. This allows the data to be included in our data reports. For large decreases (greater than -0.5) the data is flagged suspect and will show up as a -99.9, those values are kept out of data reports. The reasons you might observe decreases include...

1. The voltages that our electronic pressure transducers use to measure precipitation and snow water can flutter up and down with temperature changes. This is particularly evident in hourly data, since diurnal temperature changes cause greater fluctuations than readings taken on consecutive midnights, when we measure daily data.

2. There might be an air bubble in the plumbing line leading to the transducer. Temperature changes cause the air bubble to expand and contract and this is another reason for measurement flutter. Bleeding the air out of all plumbing lines is one of our common field maintenance practices.

3. The data you are looking at hasn't been manually quality checked yet. We do weekly edits each Monday to smooth these kinds of flutter out of the daily data. Generally in a day or two the data will rebound to where it was and we'll edit out the low value the following Monday. The hourly data is raw and it does not undergo this weekly quality checking process so decreases remain in those data sets. If a precipitation decrease is observed in daily data that is more one water year old, it should be brought to the attention of the snow survey as it should be corrected.

4. The final case is there is something wrong at the site. There are various problems that can cause a precipitation gage to decrease. These include leaks caused by an animal such as a bear or mouse chewing a hole in the plastic plumbing, or a human vandalizing the gage with bullet holes. When a leak is suspected we schedule a repair trip to the SNOTEL site to fix it. Until the repair is made we edit the data using nearby sites or during the winter we'll estimate precipitation using the snow pillow.

Regarding the Hozomeen Camp site that you linked to, the answer is that the precip gauge at that SNOTEL site appears to be malfunctioning, and the NRCS SNOTEL staff is aware of the issue. If you look at the midnight (0000) values of the data, you'll notice that they are all exactly 38.7", regardless of what the adjacent values at 2300 or 0100 might be. The midnight values are checked and quality controlled by NRCS staff, and in this case they've clearly been manually edited to all be equal to 38.7".

This shows the last 30 days of midnight values only (http://www3.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/sntl-data0000.jsp?site=991&days=30&state=washington), and it looks like the problem began just before April 17, since all midnight values have been constant at 38.7" since then, despite continuing precipitation.

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