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Cascade Snowfall and Snowdepth 2004-2005


2004-2005 Snow Season Summary   (last updated June 2005)

See the main Cascade Snowfall and Snowdepth page for historical snowpack info.
Detailed Snow Season Reports: 2005-2006, 2004-2005, 2003-2004, 2002-2003; see also Previous Seasons, Normals & Info, and Cascades El Niño / La Niña
NEW: Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots

    Season Summary as of June 1, 2005: The 2004-2005 season will go down in the record books for the worst snowpack in the WA and northern OR Cascades since 1940-41, and the worst in southwestern BC in at least 12-25 years depending on location. As of March 15, this season was by far the worst ever following a month of warmth and severe drought, but the next month brought sustained heavy snowfall and a belated return to winter conditions, salvaging some portion of the spring skiing season in those regions. Surprisingly, Whistler Mountain set a new April snowfall record with 78", all in the first 18 days of the month, surpassing the 76" from 2003. However, no snowfall was recorded at that measurement site over the next 4 weeks, and despite the record month, total snowfall for the season is only 289" (70% of normal), the lowest since 1978-79. The 405" of snowfall (60% of normal) thus far at Mount Rainier Paradise is the lowest since the 1940-41 season, which recorded only 313" (the drought-stricken 1976-77 season had 413" as of June 1 and finished with 414"). However, total precipitation this season at Paradise is over 105" (94% of normal) due to heavy rainstorms in August, September, January, and May, so this certainly can not be labeled a drought season. The official June 1 snowdepth of 0" makes this the only season since 1941 that Paradise has had zero snowdepth on June 1 (average depth is 122"), and the maximum snowdepth of 95" reached on April 15 is the lowest seasonal maximum ever recorded back to 1916-17. Shockingly, this is the only season that Paradise has ever failed to reach at least 100", and both Mount Baker Ski Area and Mount Hood Timberline also failed to reach 100" anytime this season. In contrast, during a typical season those three sites reach almost 200" of snowdepth at some point during March or April. The only Pacific Northwest ski areas to endure the entire 2004-2005 season without lengthy closures were Whistler, Timberline, and Mount Bachelor, and as usual these are the only three areas remaining open into May and beyond (although Bachelor was finally forced to close on May 15, 2 weeks earlier than planned).
    In southern OR, the 2004-2005 season was well below normal but not nearly as bad as 2000-2001, as Crater Lake received 376" of snowfall (72% of normal) this season versus only 279" four years ago. In the northern CA Cascades, the season was generally above normal throughout but not quite as good as either of the last two years (although 2004 did have an early spring meltdown which 2005 has avoided). Heavy snowfall at higher elevations in May has now built the snowpack to well above normal on Shasta and Lassen, ensuring an excellent spring and early summer ski season. For the third straight season, Lassen Peak Lake Helen was the Cascades snowdepth leader, recording 174" during the March 31 snow survey with an estimated maximum of about 178" two days earlier. The central and southern Sierra Nevada enjoyed a banner year, the best since the huge seasons of 1994-95 and 1997-98, with snowfall and snowdepth exceeding 130-150% of normal at many locations. Several sites exceeded 200" of snowdepth during the huge storm cycles of early January and late March. Kirkwood recorded 640" of snowfall at its base and 804" on top through May 1, while the 607" at Mammoth Mountain through June 1 is the second-most ever recorded, with a shot at breaking the record of 617" if there is heavy snowfall in June. Several Sierra ski areas extended their seasons to Memorial Day, with Mammoth likely to remain open into July.
    See the semimonthly reports below for a detailed discussion of the season . . .

    The graph and table below summarize snowdepths at 10 important sites throughout the entire Cascade Range during the 2004-2005 season (record lows are shown in red in the table). These high-snowdepth sites are all located about 1000 ft below timberline and are representative of conditions in the subalpine regions on favored slopes (not rain-shadowed areas). Place your mouse over the links below to compare the same plot for previous seasons and with normal values for the period of record (this only works if you have a JavaScript-enabled browser). An archive of the semimonthly snowdepth stats and commentaries during the current season can be found below the graph.

Mouse-over links to change season graph, click to load season report: 2002-2003 | 2003-2004 | 2004-2005 | 2005-2006 | Normals



---- BRITISH COLUMBIA ---- ---------- WASHINGTON ---------- -------------- OREGON -------------- ------ CALIFORNIA ------


Mt Cayley
Squamish R.
4400 ft

Whistler Mtn
Ski Area
5400 ft

Mt Baker
Ski Area
4200 ft

Mt Rainier
Paradise
5400 ft

Mt St Helens
Swift Creek
3800 ft

Mt Hood
Timberline
6000 ft

Mt Bachelor
Ski Area
6300 ft

Crater Lake
Park HQ
6400 ft

Mt Shasta
Old Ski Bowl
7600 ft

Lassen Peak
Lake Helen
8200 ft
01 Nov 2004
20"



28"

22"

8"

28"

14"

23"

30"

32"
15 Nov 2004 25" 32" 10" 11" 0" 14" 10" 9" 25" 22"
01 Dec 2004 38" 34" 25" 25" 8" 28" 19" 15" 25" 21"
15 Dec 2004 64" 48" 40" 36" 22" 44" 48" 40" 58" 46"
01 Jan 2005 68" 51" 46" 47" 51" 45" 52" 59" 114" 101"
15 Jan 2005 67" 48" 58" 55" 67" 52" 58" 66" 118" 108"
01 Feb 2005 60" 50" 20" 39" 43" 40" 50" 51" 114" 117"
15 Feb 2005 64" 55" 38" 58" 54" 55" 61" 53" 113" 124"
01 Mar 2005 65" 55" 34" 43" 51" 43" 61" 51" 130" 142"
15 Mar 2005 58" 49" 15" 34" 44" 39" 57" 42" 121" 124"
01 Apr 2005 107" 92" 78" 89" 77" 74" 76" 81" 146" 174"
15 Apr 2005 122" 88" 79" 95" 84" 88" 80" 87" 144" 170"
01 May 2005 94" 69" 52" 54" 57" 65" 64" 67" 134" 162"
15 May 2005 67" 50" 20" 32" 33" 53" 46" 53" 131" 160"
01 Jun 2005 43" 26" 0" 0" 0" 25" 100" 126"
15 Jun 2005 15" 0" 0" 0" 3" 73" 100"
01 Jul 2005 0" 0" 0" 0" 0" 51" 70"
 
Seasonal Max 138" 102" 90" 95" 86" 89" 84" 91" 155" 178"
Date of Max 16 Apr
2005
06 Apr
2005
17 Apr
2005
15 Apr
2005
13 Apr
2005
14 Apr
2005
04 Apr
2005
08 Apr
2005
29 Mar
2005
29 Mar
2005


Semimonthly Snowfall and Snowdepth Reports for the 2004-2005 Season


    The tables below show semimonthly snowfall and snowdepth info at 43 measurement sites along the entire length of the Cascade Range, primarily on or near the Cascade volcanoes. The frequency of data collection varies at these sites, from hourly automated telemetry to manual daily or monthly measurements. Note that multiple sites or data sources are found at several of these locations, and their data values typically differ slightly from each other. The codes used below for Data Frequency read as follows: H = Hourly Snowdepth Telemetry, H* = Hourly Snow-Water Telemetry (snowdepth estimated), D = Daily Manual Snowdepth, M = Monthly Manual Snowdepth (Jan 1 - June 1 or less), A = April 1 Manual Snowdepth Only. See Information about Cascade Snowdepth Measurement Sites for more details about these sites including normal snowdepths throughout the season.
    The following measurement sites have been added to this list for the 2004-2005 season:

State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Information and Notes
WA Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side)4200 ft NRCS HExisting SNOTEL site with snowdepth, added retroactive to 2003-2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side)3200 ft NRCS HExisting SNOTEL site with snowdepth, added retroactive to 2003-2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass)4600 ft NRCS HExisting SNOTEL site with snowdepth, added retroactive to 2003-2004
OR Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side)4000 ft NCDC DLong-term daily weather site, added retroactive to 2002-2003
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC HExisting NWAC telemetry site, added to list
CA Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS DLong-term daily weather site, added retroactive to 2002-2003


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 November 2004)

    The 2004-2005 snow season certainly received a very promising launch, even long before the summer officially drew to a close. The first snowstorms of the new snow year arrived in late August and early September, depositing as much as a foot of new snow above 6-7000 ft in the Washington Cascades with lesser amounts to the north in BC and also as far south as Mount Hood. Then in the middle of the month, even though the calendar still said summer, an unseasonably cold storm system from Sept 17-19 brought accumulating snowfall as low as 5000 ft elevation throughout the Cascades of BC, Washington, and Oregon. About 2 inches of snow was recorded at Mount Rainier Paradise, with 3 inches at Mount Hood Timberline and 2 inches at Crater Lake Park Headquarters, while much greater amounts fell at higher elevations. This was the coldest and wettest September in the Pacific Northwest for many years, at least since 1997 and probably even earlier. September ski conditions on the permanent snowfields of WA and OR were by far the best since 1997.
    October continued the unusually cold and wet pattern of September, especially at the southern end of the range. The typical fair weather of early autumn was interrupted by two major storm cycles which each dumped heavy snowfall in the southern Cascades and Sierra Nevada during the 3rd and 4th weeks of the month. The first system was the bigger one with snow levels down to 4-5000 ft, as Mount Shasta received over 30", Crater Lake nearly 2 ft, and amounts of a foot reaching as far north as Mount Hood. The jackpot was in the central and southern Sierra, though, as Mammoth Mountain received 56" from Oct 17-20, enough for the ski area to open the next day for its earliest opening in 10 years. The next system a week later brought another 18-24" throughout the Sierra and southern Cascades as far north as Crater Lake, with much less farther north. For the month of October, Mammoth received a record 82" of snowfall (with data back to 1968), while the Central Sierra Snow Lab in Soda Springs received over 4 ft, the most in its nearly 60 years of record-keeping. Crater Lake didn't set any records, but its 56" of snowfall was over 250% of October's normal. Unfortunately, the northern Cascades from central OR through WA and BC largely missed out on the bounty. A modest system to start the final weekend of October brought less than a foot of snow. A major system ushering in November turned into a Pineapple Express, with snow levels rising from 3000 ft to 9000 ft and heavy snowfall changing to torrential rains for 24 hours, before belated cooling and a change back to snow briefly at its tail end. Only southwestern BC escaped the bulk of the warming, with Whistler receiving its first major dump of over 14" in the alpine and 6" all the way down to the village (2200 ft). California missed the good and the bad, since despite basking in the warm air there was little precip that far south from the main thrust of the system. The trailing cold front brought several inches of snow to the southern Cascades by November 3.
    As of November 1 (before the heavy rains and trailing snow), most mid- and high-elevation sites in the Cascades are reporting 12-30" of snowdepth. Only a few sites have historical data for this early in the season, making quantitative comparisons to normal amounts difficult (many of the percentage values listed below have been estimated by extrapolation). It appears that the snow season is currently running about 2 weeks ahead of normal in the north and over 4 weeks ahead at the southern end. However, the predicted weather pattern for the first half of November is not favorable for any major snowstorms in the Cascades, so things may soon fall back closer to normal. If El Niño conditions continue to develop and strengthen in the eastern Pacific, then the weather pattern may continue to favor southern Oregon and California throughout the early part of the season.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Nov 2004 15"
150%
—  
16", 30 Oct 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Nov 2004 20" 200% —   21", 30 Oct 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area Dno data     —  —   —  
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D02 Nov 2004 3" 200% —  
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 28" 400% —   28", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 7" 350% —   7", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 15" 300% —   15", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 0" 0% —  
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 18" 270% —   18", 01 Nov 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 16" 230% —   16", 01 Nov 2004
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 24" 400% —   24", 01 Nov 2004
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, Dno data     —  —   —  
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 4" 100% —   5", 31 Oct 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H01 Nov 2004 17" —   —   17", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 Nov 2004 13" —   —   13", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 22" 220% 42" 22", 01 Nov 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 3" 80% —   3", 01 Nov 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 16" 180% —   16", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 8" 270% —   8", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 2" 100% —   2", 01 Nov 2004
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 28" 350% —   28", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 15" 200% —   16", 31 Oct 2004
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Nov 2004 3" 100% 7" 4", 24 Oct 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Nov 2004 19" 250% —   19", 01 Nov 2004
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 5" 100% —   5", 01 Nov 2004
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 7" 140% —   7", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Nov 2004 14" 200% —   14", 01 Nov 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 8" 400% —   11", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Nov 2004 34" —   —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D31 Oct 2004 23" 330% 59" 26", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 15" 300% —   17", 26 Oct 2004
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 5" 250% —   7", 28 Oct 2004
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Nov 2004 4" 200% —   6", 26 Oct 2004
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Nov 2004 18" 900% —   22", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Nov 2004 30" 400% 55" 39", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Nov 2004 26" 1200% —   34", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Nov 2004 3" 1500% 21" 10", 28 Oct 2004
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M01 Nov 2004 32" 400% —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D03 Nov 2004 28" 700% 58"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 November 2004)

    Well, unfortunately the weather pattern developed as predicted during the first half of November, and there were no major storm systems over much of Cascades during the period. A large system did clip the northern edge of the region at the end of the first week, dumping up to 1-2 ft of snow in the Coast Mountains of southwestern BC, including the northernmost Cascade volcanoes. Another system arrived at the end of the second weekend, bringing high freezing levels of 8000-9000 ft and rain to most of the range, with cooler temperatures providing up to a foot of snow above 5000 ft in southwestern BC. Overall, during the first half of November all measurement sites in WA, OR, and CA lost significant amounts of snowdepth, while sites in BC gained a small amount. As of November 15, most mid- and high-elevation sites in the Cascades are reporting only 1-2 ft of snowdepth, with zero snow at lower elevations. The very promising early-season pattern of September and October has reversed itself, and it now appears that the snow season is running about 2 weeks behind normal in OR and WA, and close to normal in BC and CA. The predicted two-week outlook for the second half of November is not favorable either, with above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation expected.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Nov 2004 17"
75%
—  
26", 07 Nov 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Nov 2004 25" 115% —   42", 07 Nov 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Nov 2004 32" 120% —  
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —  
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 10" 45% —   28", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 2" 70% —   7", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 3" 20% —   15", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —  
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 9" 50% —   18", 01 Nov 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 3" 20% —   16", 01 Nov 2004
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 5" 33% —   24", 01 Nov 2004
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% 3"
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   5", 31 Oct 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H11 Nov 2004 8" —   —   17", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H11 Nov 2004 9" —   —   13", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 11" 46% 45" 22", 01 Nov 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   3", 01 Nov 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 9" 40% —   16", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   8", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   2", 01 Nov 2004
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 14" 127% —   28", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 2" 10% —   16", 31 Oct 2004
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% 7" 4", 24 Oct 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Nov 2004 6" 67% —   19", 01 Nov 2004
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   5", 01 Nov 2004
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 5" 40% —   7", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Nov 2004 10" 60% —   14", 01 Nov 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 5" 80% —   11", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Nov 2004 26" —   —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Nov 2004 9" 60% 66" 26", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 11" 80% —   18", 03 Nov 2004
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 1" 20% —   7", 28 Oct 2004
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Nov 2004 0" 0% —   6", 26 Oct 2004
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Nov 2004 15" 160% —   22", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Nov 2004 25" 140% 61" 39", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Nov 2004 20" 170% —   34", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Nov 2004 0" 0% 29" 10", 28 Oct 2004
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Nov 2004 22" 110% —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D16 Nov 2004 12" 120% 60"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 December 2004)

    The second half of November brought some relief from the lack of snowfall, especially at the northern end of the Cascade Range. A moderately-large system from November 17-19 dumped 1-2 ft of snow in the northern WA and southern BC Cascades, with much smaller amounts of only a few inches as far south as Mount Hood. This was just enough snowfall for the Blackcomb and Mount Baker ski areas to open for the season the following weekend (Nov 20-21), the first areas to open in the Pacific Northwest. Mount Bachelor also opened on a thin base two days before Thanksgiving, but Baker was forced to close that day as a major storm system approached. Unfortunately, this was another Pineapple Express, loaded with 3-4 inches of heavy rain at freezing levels up to 8000 ft. The trailing cold front brought cooling weather, but little snowfall. However, the weather pattern shifted by the weekend after Thanksgiving, as a series of smaller systems with cool temperatures finally delivered the goods. One system brought 8-12" of light dry powder on Saturday to WA and BC, while simultaneously a second more potent system dove south into California, producing 12-18" of powder from Lassen south along the length of the Sierra Nevada. Strong winds following that system scoured away much of the new snow at high elevations on Shasta and Lassen. November closed with yet another small system bringing 4-8" from Mount Hood north to BC into the first of December.
    Snowdepths as of December 1 are generally about half of normal throughout the WA and OR Cascades, while in southwestern BC they are closer to 80% of normal and in northern California they remain near normal at some sites. The early season Cascades snowdepth leader is the Upper Squamish River site near Mount Cayley in BC with over 3 ft on the ground, followed closely by the sites at the Crater Lake caldera rim and Whistler Mountain. Despite the recent gains, the Cascade snowpack is still running a few weeks behind schedule in most areas. Help may be on the way, though, as a major storm system with very low freezing levels is forecast for the first weekend of December. However, the two-week long term outlook continues to predict warmer and drier than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Dec 2004 33"
80%
—  
37", 18 Nov 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Dec 2004 38" 70% —   42", 07 Nov 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Dec 2004 34" 80% 47"
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D01 Dec 2004 12" 40% —  
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 25" 51% —   28", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 13" 90% —   15", 19 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 19" 70% —   20", 30 Nov 2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 8" 50% —   9", 30 Nov 2004
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 16" 50% —   18", 01 Nov 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 11" 30% —   16", 01 Nov 2004
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 13" 42% —   24", 01 Nov 2004
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 10" 40% 21" 10", 01 Dec 2004
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 6" 24% —   6", 01 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H11 Nov 2004 8" —   —   17", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H11 Nov 2004 9" —   —   13", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 25" 52% 81" 25", 01 Dec 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 5" 26% —   5", 01 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 19" 45% —   19", 01 Dec 2004
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 8" 30% —   8", 01 Dec 2004
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 5" 25% —   5", 01 Dec 2004
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 28" 61% —   28", 01 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 13" 40% —   16", 31 Oct 2004
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Dec 2004 12" 80% 27" 12", 01 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Dec 2004 7" 17% —   19", 01 Nov 2004
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 7" 30% —   7", 01 Dec 2004
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 12" 45% —   12", 01 Dec 2004
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Dec 2004 19" 60% —   19", 01 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 10" 60% —   11", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Dec 2004 36" —   —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Dec 2004 15" 47% 77" 26", 27 Oct 2004
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 16" 60% —   18", 03 Nov 2004
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 5" 30% —   7", 28 Oct 2004
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Dec 2004 3" 25% —   6", 26 Oct 2004
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Dec 2004 17" 100% —   22", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Dec 2004 25" 70% 72" 39", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Dec 2004 23" 110% —   34", 26 Oct 2004
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Dec 2004 5" 78% 40" 11", 28 Nov 2004
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M01 Dec 2004 21" 50% —   37", 26 Oct 2004
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D01 Dec 2004 19" 85% 80"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 December 2004)

    The first week of December finally brought some much needed snowfall throughout the Cascade Range, before disaster struck in the form of heavy rainfall. A northwesterly storm system with very low freezing levels moved in during the first weekend, bringing 1-2 ft of powder to southwestern BC and the Mount Baker area, while several inches fell as far south as central Oregon. Then the first major storm cycle since October moved ashore beginning December 6, bringing several feet of snow throughout the range. A pair of back-to-back systems hit California on December 6-8, each dumping 20-24" of snow on Shasta, Lassen, and the Sierra Nevada. Simultaneously, a major system pulled into central Oregon, especially along the usually drier east slopes of the Cascades where Mount Bachelor received about 4 ft during the same 3 days with several inches falling even in the towns of the High Desert. During this time, the main crest of the Cascades from northern OR to WA also got hit with 2-3 ft of much needed snowfall, but disaster was just around the corner. The tail end of this complex of storms (which included remnants of a Pacific typhoon) latched on to a warm tap of tropical moisture in southwesterly flow and turned into a monstrous Pineapple Express, the worst of several such systems throughout this early season. The fresh powder was immediately inundated by heavy rain as the freezing levels ballooned from 2000 ft to over 9000 ft within a few hours. Two days of torrential downpours from December 9-10 brought 4-6" of rain throughout the OR and WA Cascades, compacting and even washing away much of the fresh snowfall and dashing the hopes of skiers and ski resorts. Somehow, California's luck again held and it received only a small amount of rain following its big dumps, then basking in sun while OR and WA soaked. Southwestern BC caught a few hours of heavy rain, but its northerly latitude largely saved it from this particular Pineapple Express. After this calamitous turn of events, the pattern again shifted back to the generally fair weather which has dominated much of the past two months, with storms diverted far north into Alaska and BC. Temperatures cooled, and the southern edges of those systems brought a few inches of snow into WA and OR, while California's daily sunshine brought rapid snowpack settlement and soon turned the south-facing slopes to corn.
    Overall, snowdepths increased significantly throughout the Cascade Range during the first half of December, but hardly changed as a percent of normal. As of December 15, snowdepths are generally about half of normal (although highly variable) throughout the WA and OR Cascades, while in southwestern BC they are closer to 80% of normal and in northern California they remain near or slightly above normal. The early season Cascades snowdepth leader remains the Upper Squamish River site near Mount Cayley in BC with over 5 ft on the ground, followed closely by the sites at the Crater Lake caldera rim and Mount Shasta Old Ski Bowl.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Dec 2004 52"
95%
—  
53", 14 Dec 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Dec 2004 64" 81% —   70", 10 Dec 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Dec 2004 48" 84% 85" 52", 10 Dec 2004
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D15 Dec 2004 28" 65% —  
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 40" 59% —   60", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 20" 70% —   32", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 30" 70% —   38", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 11" 30% —   22", 09 Dec 2004
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 35" 70% —   40", 10 Dec 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 33" 65% —   45", 10 Dec 2004
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 22" 50% —   38", 09 Dec 2004
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 11" 31% 62" 34", 08 Dec 2004
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 13" 37% —   33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H11 Nov 2004 8" —   —   17", 01 Nov 2004
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 Dec 2004 32" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 36" 52% 141" 61", 09 Dec 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 4" 13% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 29" 45% —   44", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 22" 55% —   43", 08 Dec 2004
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 9" 25% —   33", 08 Dec 2004
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 44" 67% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 20" 40% —  
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Dec 2004 8" 36% 43" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Dec 2004 19" 33% —   35", 09 Dec 2004
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 15" 40% —   34", 09 Dec 2004
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 21" 55% —   36", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Dec 2004 48" 100% —   68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H14 Dec 2004 19" 65% —  
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Dec 2004 61" —   —   64", 10 Dec 2004
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Dec 2004 40" 85% 125" 54", 09 Dec 2004
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 31" 80% —   50", 08 Dec 2004
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 13" 45% —   24", 08 Dec 2004
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Dec 2004 8" 40% —   18", 08 Dec 2004
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Dec 2004 39" 150% —   53", 08 Dec 2004
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Dec 2004 58" 110% 114" 71", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Dec 2004 48" 125% —   65", 08 Dec 2004
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Dec 2004 1" 10% 46" 11", 28 Nov 2004
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Dec 2004 46" 75% —   60", 08 Dec 2004
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D13 Dec 2004 40" 100% 121"


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 January 2005)

    The third week of December remained primarily dry throughout the Cascade Range, except for the southern edge of a system tracking well up into BC which brought a few inches of snow to the BC, WA, and OR parts of the range. Thankfully, the weather shifted to a much more active and cold pattern just in time for Christmas. Santa delivered a potent storm system which dumped 18-24" on the North Shore of Vancouver and the Mount Baker area during Christmas Day as a front stalled overhead. Lesser amounts of about 6" fell farther north in BC and farther south throughout the WA Cascades, except for Mount Saint Helens which surprisingly received 12-20". Amounts dropped drastically to only 1" near Mount Hood, before increasing farther south in OR to 9" near Mount Bachelor and about 1 ft at Crater Lake. This was because the main thrust of the system dove south offshore pulling with it the bulk of the cold air, turning into a cut-off low off the CA coast which brought huge amounts of snow to parts of northern CA the next day at snow levels down to 2000 ft. Mount Shasta received over 3 ft of powder on December 26-27, while a few sites in the southern Klamath Mountains exceeded 4 ft in the unusual SE-E flow around the cut-off low. Lassen and the Sierra largely missed out on the snow due to poor orographics (they need W or SW flow for big snow), getting only 1-2 ft through December 29 as the storm lingered just offshore before finally moving east through southern CA.
    The next major storm arrived hot on the heels of the exiting system on December 29, again with most of the energy directed into CA and much more potent than the previous storm. This one also formed a cut-off low off the CA coast, but the bulk of the flow around it was SW and so it nailed the southern Cascades and much of the Sierra Nevada head-on. Shasta and Lassen received about 2 ft of snow, but jackpot was in the central Sierra near Lake Tahoe which received 4-6 ft in less than 48 hours, with several ski areas reporting 3-5 ft of new snow on the morning of December 31. Meanwhile, moisture wrapping around the back of this low brought a few inches of desperately needed snow far to the north in WA and OR. But this storm cycle wasn't quite done yet, as another low dropped out of the Gulf of Alaska as the New Year began, this time aiming for central Oregon but again with much of its moisture and energy headed farther south. This brought another round of heavy snowfall on New Year's Eve and Day, with 1-2 ft in the Sierra and southern Cascades up to Crater Lake and 6-12" as far north as Mount Saint Helens and Rainier in WA. The final portion of this huge storm cycle has formed yet another cut-off low heading down the CA coast on the evening of January 1, poised to bring another 1-2 ft of snow to the CA Cascades and Sierra by the end of the first weekend of 2005. Snowfall totals for the entire December 26-January 2 storm cycle are likely to exceed 7 ft at Shasta, 6 ft at Lassen, and 6-10 ft at upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada. A brief respite between storm cycles is forecast for the first working days of 2005, before another major cold storm system approaches at week's end.
    Overall, the snow season is still running well behind schedule for most of the Cascades, except northern CA and southern OR. As of January 1, snowdepths are about 70-90% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 30-60% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase rapidly in southern OR to near-normal at Crater Lake, then reach their climax in northern CA at over 150% of normal near Mount Shasta and remain well above normal near Lassen Peak. Compared to January 1, 2004, almost all sites in the Cascades have much less snowpack this year, generally 20-90" less (30-80% less). Oddly enough, Mount Shasta Sand Flat is the only site even close to last year's snowdepth, with exactly 101" again this year. Mount Shasta is by far the current Cascades snowdepth leader, as the site in the Old Ski Bowl has over 110" of snowpack. The only other Cascade sites close to these amounts are Crater Lake caldera rim, Lassen Peak Lake Helen, and Lassen Chalet, each with about 80-100". Heavy snowfall continues throughout much of the OR and CA Cascades on January 1-2, so some of the amounts given in the table below (generally recorded in the morning or afternoon of January 1 for hourly measurement sites) may have increased several inches by January 2.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Jan 2005 50"
75%
—  
53", 14 Dec 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Jan 2005 68" 70% —   70", 10 Dec 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Jan 2005 51" 82% 96" 52", 10 Dec 2004
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M05 Jan 2005 59" 73% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D01 Jan 2005 53" 94% —   53", 01 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 46" 52% —   60", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 27" 70% —   32", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 36" 65% —   38", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 13" 30% —   22", 09 Dec 2004
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 33" 50% —   40", 10 Dec 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 36" 52% —   45", 10 Dec 2004
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 27" 44% —   38", 09 Dec 2004
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 20" 38% 78" 34", 08 Dec 2004
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 27" 66% 62" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H04 Jan 2005 44" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 47" 52% 159" 61", 09 Dec 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 10" 28% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 38" 45% —   44", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 51" 90% —   51", 01 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 33" 67% —   33", 01 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 45" 57% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 27" 38% —  
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D02 Jan 2005 7" 22% 47" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Jan 2005 22" 30% —   35", 09 Dec 2004
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 25" 50% —   34", 09 Dec 2004
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 30" 58% —   36", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Jan 2005 52" 83% 86" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 31" 72% —   31", 01 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Jan 2005 79" —   —   79", 01 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Jan 2005 59" 92% 161" 59", 01 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 54" 100% —   54", 01 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 35" 83% —   35", 01 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Jan 2005 26" 84% —   26", 01 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Jan 2005 55" 165% —   55", 01 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Jan 2005 114" 160% 188" 114", 01 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Jan 2005 101" 180% —   101", 01 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Jan 2005 16" 107% 65" 16", 01 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M02 Jan 2005 101" 123% —   101", 02 Jan 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D03 Jan 2005 78" 135% 195" 78", 03 Jan 2005


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 January 2005)

    The first week of 2005 brought a brief respite between storm cycles before another major cold storm system approached at week's end. This quickly brought 2 ft of light powder to the Mount Baker area on January 7 with lesser amounts of about 6" throughout the WA and OR Cascades. But once again, the system followed a similar pattern to the previous week's huge storms, diving south off the coast and sending most of its energy and moisture into California. By January 9, snowdepths at many sites from southernmost BC to northern CA had reached new seasonal highs. A total of 1-2 ft fell throughout most of the Cascade Range, with higher totals of about 3 ft near Mount Baker, Saint Helens, Crater Lake, and Mount Shasta, but almost nothing in southwestern BC. The real jackpot was again far to the south, as the central and southern Sierra Nevada was buried under 4-6 ft of additional snow. The final portion of the storm cycle headed farthest south, barely brushing the southernmost Cascades on January 10-11 as it dumped another 2-4 ft of snow on the Sierra, soaking coastal southern CA with more torrential rains and causing severe flooding and numerous large mudslides. High pressure built in rapidly following the final storm, clearing skies over much of CA. Meanwhile, far to the north a new system dropped southeast from Alaska towards eastern WA and Idaho, with a trailing cold front that brought another shot of much-needed snow to the northern Cascades. Several inches fell on January 12-13 from southwestern BC to northern OR, including down to sea level in parts of western WA, and maxing out at over 1 ft in the central WA Cascades near Stevens Pass. The new snow fell atop a layer of surface hoar formed during recent cold and clear weather, which had also rotted out the base of the shallow snowpack forming depth hoar. This resulted in several skier-triggered avalanches in the WA Cascades, including a fatal one at Alpental. Another system is just arriving off the Pacific on January 15 aimed primarily at Oregon, but snow amounts are unlikely to exceed 1 ft from this one. Unfortunately, the forecast for the third week of January calls for a major shift in weather patterns to a strong southwesterly flow. This is likely to bring another Pineapple Express to OR, WA, and BC, with several inches of soaking rains and snow levels soaring to 6000-8000 ft, while CA basks in sunshine and unseasonable warmth.
    Overall, the snow season is still running well behind schedule for most of the Cascades, except northern CA and southern OR. As of January 15, snowdepths are about 60-80% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 30-60% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase rapidly in southern OR to 70-90% of normal, then reach their climax in northern CA at over 150% of normal near Mount Shasta and remain near or above normal at Lassen Peak. Compared to January 15, 2004, almost all sites in the Cascades have much less snowpack this year, generally 20-90" less (30-80% less), except sites in northern CA which have roughly the same amounts as last year. Mount Shasta is by far the current Cascades snowdepth leader, as the site in the Old Ski Bowl has nearly 120" of snowpack.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Jan 2005 49"
65%
—  
53", 14 Dec 2004
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Jan 2005 67" 65% —   70", 10 Dec 2004
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC Mno data     —  —   —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Jan 2005 48" 68% 100" 52", 10 Dec 2004
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M05 Jan 2005 59" 73% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D15 Jan 2005 59" 85% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 58" 54% —   65", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 39" 85% —   41", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 45" 65% —   51", 07 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 29" 55% —   31", 09 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 38" 50% —   40", 10 Dec 2004
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 43" 50% —   46", 13 Jan 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 43" 59% —   47", 13 Jan 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 22" 34% 96" 34", 08 Dec 2004
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 26" 54% 70" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 Jan 2005 34" —   —   47", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 55" 49% 188" 61", 09 Dec 2004
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 13" 30% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 46" 40% —   47", 14 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 67" 95% —   71", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 44" 75% —   46", 13 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 52" 51% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 40" 45% —   41", 14 Jan 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Jan 2005 19" 49% 61" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Jan 2005 34" 39% —   35", 14 Jan 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 35" 55% —   39", 10 Jan 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 38" 60% —   40", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Jan 2005 58" 75% 108" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 36" 70% —   42", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Jan 2005 88" —   —   102", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Jan 2005 66" 83% 210" 81", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 62" 90% —   77", 09 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 33" 70% —   37", 09 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Jan 2005 25" 65% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Jan 2005 68" 170% —   73", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Jan 2005 118" 150% 245" 133", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Jan 2005 97" 150% —   109", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS Mno data     —  —   —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Jan 2005 27" 150% 99" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Jan 2005 88" 85% —   101", 02 Jan 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D10 Jan 2005 94" 125% 219" 94", 10 Jan 2005


Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 February 2005)

    The second half of January was a complete disaster for skiing in WA and OR, rapidly pushing the current season towards record-low snowpack for this date. The weather unfolded much as the dire forecasts predicted, as a huge Pineapple Express drenched northern OR, WA, and southwestern BC on January 17-20, with rainfalls amounts exceeding 8" for the period and freezing levels soaring to above 9000 ft. This was the warmest and wettest of 4 major Pineapple Expresses to hit the Northwest since November 1, but once again CA and southern OR largely escaped the heavy rainfall. Mount Rainier Paradise apparently set a record for rainfall on a single winter day on January 18 with over 6" (see my post on Turns-All-Year), and cities throughout the lowlands of WA and OR reached record high temperatures during the next several days of unseasonable warmth. All ski areas in WA were forced to close by this calamitous turn of events, along with several in northern OR and southwestern BC. Afterwards, the general pattern continued to be a persistent ridge of high pressure along the West Coast, splitting the jet stream and diverting most of the storms and precip into northern BC, with the northernmost Cascade volcanoes in BC just getting clipped by the snowfall along the systems' southern edges. The only major storm system to hit the region dove south into CA again (a familiar storm track this winter), bringing 2 ft of snow to Shasta, Lassen, and the Sierra from January 27-29, with only a few inches as far north as Crater Lake. The 30-day outlook for February posted by the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is grim, continuing the largely warmer and drier than normal pattern for the Pacific NW. However, a moderate storm system in northwesterly flow is predicted for the first weekend in February, which should bring 1-2 ft of desperately-needed snowfall at fairly low freezing levels to BC, WA, and northern OR.
    Overall, the snow season is still running far behind schedule for most of the Cascades, except northern CA. Snowdepths declined during the last 2 weeks of January at nearly all sites in the Cascades, often precipitously like Mount Baker Ski Area's plunge from 58" on January 15 to only 20" by the end of the month, with mostly bare ground around the measurement site. As of February 1, snowdepths are about 30-70% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 0-40% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase in southern OR to 40-60% of normal, then reach their climax in northern CA at over 130% of normal near Mount Shasta and remain near normal at Lassen Peak. Compared to February 1, 2004, almost all sites in the Cascades have much less snowpack this year, generally 20-140" less (30-80% less), except sites in northern CA which have roughly the same amounts as last year. Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak are by far the current Cascades snowdepth leaders, as the Old Ski Bowl and Lake Helen sites have nearly 120" of snowpack (see the note below about snowdepth gauge issues at the Lassen Peak site). In the WA and OR Cascades, this now appears to be the worst snow season since at least 1980-81 (see the new Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots with a custom plotting program and data back to the 1916-17 season).


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Feb 2005 63"
70%
—  
63", 01 Feb 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Feb 2005 60" 50% —   76", 17 Jan 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M29 Jan 2005 21" 36% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Feb 2005 50" 62% 110" 52", 10 Dec 2004
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M25 Jan 2005 39" 36% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D01 Feb 2005 27" 30% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 20" 16% —   65", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 20" 35% —   41", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 19" 25% —   51", 07 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 8" 12% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 34" 39% —   43", 17 Jan 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 31" 29% —   56", 17 Jan 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 25" 29% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 17" 22% 106" 37", 17 Jan 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 13" 22% 70" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 Feb 2005 27" —   —   47", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 39" 30% 200" 64", 16 Jan 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 0" 0% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 29" 20% —   50", 16 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 43" 50% —   71", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 18" 25% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 40" 34% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 30" 30% —   41", 14 Jan 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Feb 2005 2" 4% 64" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Feb 2005 23" 23% —   37", 16 Jan 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 24" 32% —   39", 10 Jan 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 29" 40% —   40", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Feb 2005 50" 55% 112" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 30" 49% —   42", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Feb 2005 76" —   —   102", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Feb 2005 51" 54% 218" 81", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 50" 62% —   77", 09 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 27" 54% —   37", 09 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Feb 2005 19" 42% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Feb 2005 67" 140% —   73", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M01 Feb 2005 110" 125% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Feb 2005 114" 130% 274" 133", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Feb 2005 95" 130% —   109", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M31 Jan 2005 75" 134% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Feb 2005 13" 59% 110" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M31 Jan 2005 117" 96% —   130", 28 Jan 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D27 Jan 2005 72" 85% 239" 94", 10 Jan 2005
    NOTE: Current data for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is from the manual snow course, which is about 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge (possibly wind-affected).

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 February 2005)

    Conditions improved slightly throughout most of the WA and OR Cascades during the first half of February, as temperatures cooled closer to normal and a pair of modest storm systems brought some desperately-needed snowfall. A moderate storm system in northwesterly flow arrived during the first weekend in February, bringing 1-2 ft of snow at fairly low freezing levels to BC, WA, and northern OR, but only a few inches as far south as Crater Lake and only a trace in northern CA. The pattern then returned to the split flow and high-pressure typical of this unusual winter, before another cold front dropped through from the northwest during the second weekend. This again brought 1-2 ft of snowfall to the WA and northern OR Cascades, with lesser amounts in BC and southern OR. The first system provided enough snow for Mount Baker and Mount Hood Meadows Ski Areas to reopen, while the second did the same for Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain, but most other WA ski areas remain closed. Meanwhile, by the end of the second weekend of February, a cutoff low developed west of the northern CA coast, dropping a quick foot of new snow on Shasta and Lassen. This system is likely to spin in place and produce several feet of additional snow in the CA Cascades and Sierra during the third week of February, while a ridge of high pressure brings cool and sunny weather to the northern end of the Cascade Range into BC.
    Snowdepths increased during the first 2 weeks of February at nearly all sites in the Cascades, but overall, the snow season is still running far behind schedule for most of the Cascades, except northern CA. As of February 15, snowdepths are about 40-70% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 20-50% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase in southern OR to 50-60% of normal, then reach their climax in northern CA at over 110% of normal near Mount Shasta before falling back below normal at Lassen Peak. Compared to February 15, 2004, almost all sites in the Cascades have much less snowpack this year, generally 20-120" less (30-70% less), except sites in northern CA which have nearly the same amounts as last year. Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak are by far the current Cascades snowdepth leaders, as the Old Ski Bowl and Lake Helen sites have about 120" of snowpack (see the note below about snowdepth gauge issues at the Lassen Peak site). In the WA and OR Cascades, this is currently the worst snow season since at least 1980-81 (see the new Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots with a custom plotting program and data back to the 1916-17 season).


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Feb 2005 65"
65%
—  
70", 06 Feb 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Feb 2005 64" 51% —   76", 17 Jan 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M29 Jan 2005 21" 36% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Feb 2005 55" 60% 131" 57", 05 Feb 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M25 Jan 2005 39" 36% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D15 Feb 2005 39" 40% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 38" 27% —   65", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 39" 65% —   41", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 43" 45% —   51", 07 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 20" 25% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 38" 40% —   43", 17 Jan 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 36" 30% —   56", 17 Jan 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 42" 44% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 26" 30% 121" 37", 17 Jan 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 20" 33% 75" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 Feb 2005 37" —   —   47", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 58" 40% 236" 64", 16 Jan 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 8" 15% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 46" 30% —   50", 16 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 54" 55% —   71", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 26" 35% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 55" 43% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 45" 40% —   45", 14 Feb 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Feb 2005 11" 25% 80" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Feb 2005 30" 27% —   37", 16 Jan 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 36" 45% —   39", 10 Jan 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 43" 50% —   45", 13 Feb 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Feb 2005 61" 60% 131" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 40" 60% —   42", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Feb 2005 80" —   —   102", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Feb 2005 53" 50% 226" 81", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 54" 60% —   77", 09 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 30" 55% —   37", 09 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Feb 2005 21" 40% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Feb 2005 78" 140% —   78", 14 Feb 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M01 Feb 2005 110" 125% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Feb 2005 113" 115% 286" 133", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Feb 2005 95" 115% —   109", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M31 Jan 2005 75" 134% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Feb 2005 15" 60% 120" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Feb 2005 124" 90% —   130", 28 Jan 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D14 Feb 2005 80" 80% 266" 94", 10 Jan 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 March 2005)

    The second half of February reinforced the unusual but well-entrenched pattern of this season, with a strong ridge of high pressure blocking incoming weather systems from the Pacific and forcing them to weaken and split. From central OR to southern BC, the period was almost entirely dry, until a minor frontal system brought a few meager inches of snow on the final 2 days of the month. Farther to the south, a moderate system rolled through from February 19-21, bringing 1-2 ft of snow to the CA Cascades and Sierra with nearly a ft as far north as Crater Lake. The end-of-month system spawned another quick cut-off low off the CA coast, which quickly dumped 12-15" of powder overnight into February 28 and brought snowdepths up to or near seasonal highs in the CA Cascades. Another system is poised to bring a further shot of snow to northern CA during the first days of March, but then the strong ridge of is predicted to rebuild, with fair skies and warm temperatures expected over much of the Cascade Range during the first half of March.
    With the generally fair and dry conditions, snowdepths stagnated or decreased during the latter half of February throughout the BC, WA, and OR Cascades, but increased in northern CA with their two moderate snowstorms. As of March 1, snowdepths are about 20-60% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 0-40% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase in southern OR to 40-60% of normal, then reach their climax in northern CA at 100-130% of normal near Mount Shasta before falling back below normal at Lassen Peak. Compared to March 1, 2004, almost all sites in the Cascades have much less snowpack this year, generally 50-150" less (30-100% less), even at sites in northern CA. February 2004 was exceptionally snowy throughout the Cascades, while February 2005 was very dry. Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak remain by far the current Cascades snowdepth leaders, as the Old Ski Bowl and Lake Helen sites have over 130" of snowpack (see the note below about snowdepth gauge issues at the Lassen Peak site). In the BC and OR Cascades, this is currently the worst snow season since 1980-81 or 1976-77. However, at almost every measurement site in the WA Cascades and also many in southwestern BC, this season has now sunk to all-time record low snowdepths as of March 1, shattering previous low marks by 12-24" in some cases (record lows are shown in red below). The snowpack in these areas is similar to what it would be in late June or early July in a normal year. Of particular significance are the new record lows set at Mount Baker Ski Area, Snoqualmie Pass, and Mount Rainier Paradise, where weather records extend back nearly 80-90 years. Shockingly, the current March 1 snowdepth of 43" at Paradise is less than its average July 1 depth of 45". For a detailed historical perspective, see the new Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots, with custom plotting programs and data back to the 1916-17 season.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Mar 2005 67"
62%
—  
70", 06 Feb 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Mar 2005 65" 47% —   76", 17 Jan 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M02 Mar 2005 18" 24% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Mar 2005 55" 58% 133" 57", 05 Feb 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M25 Feb 2005 50" 35% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D01 Mar 2005 54" 51% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 34" 23% —   65", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 30" 45% —   41", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 38" 40% —   51", 07 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 11" 15% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 36" 36% —   43", 17 Jan 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 29" 25% —   56", 17 Jan 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 30" 30% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 17" 19% 121" 37", 17 Jan 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 18" 28% 75" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 Mar 2005 34" —   —   47", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 43" 27% 242" 64", 16 Jan 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 0" 0% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 41" 30% —   50", 16 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 51" 50% —   71", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 18" 25% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 43" 30% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 38" 31% —   45", 14 Feb 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Mar 2005 1" 2% 81" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Mar 2005 30" 25% —   37", 16 Jan 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 32" 35% —   39", 10 Jan 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 37" 41% —   45", 13 Feb 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Mar 2005 61" 55% 131" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 35" 49% —   42", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Mar 2005 82" —   —   102", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Mar 2005 51" 45% 238" 81", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 54" 55% —   77", 09 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 30" 47% —   37", 09 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Mar 2005 15" 28% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Mar 2005 88" 135% —   88", 01 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M24 Feb 2005 107" 98% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Mar 2005 130" 120% 322" 133", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Mar 2005 108" 116% —   109", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M25 Feb 2005 78" 105% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Mar 2005 18" 69% 137" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M01 Mar 2005 142" 95% —   144", 28 Feb 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D01 Mar 2005 92" 83% 294" 94", 10 Jan 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 March 2005)

    The first half of March brought more of the same, unusually warm and dry weather throughout the length of the Cascade Range. If anything, the dryness increased in severity, as the only precipitation during the first half of the month came from a weak system during the first 2 days, which brought 2-4" of snow throughout the range from southwestern BC to southern OR, with greater amounts of about 1 ft in northern CA on Shasta and Lassen. This raised snowdepths to seasonal highs at several sites on Shasta and Lassen as of March 2, but then clear skies and warm high pressure returned for the next 2 weeks, bringing rapid settlement and considerable melting at lower elevations. This marked the end for several ski areas struggling to remain open in southwestern BC, WA and northern OR, and by March 15 only Whistler/Blackcomb, Timberline Lodge, Mount Bachelor, Mount Ashland, and Mount Shasta Ski Park were still running lifts in the Cascades and Coast Mountains. Forecasts for the latter half of March predict a change to a cooler and wetter weather pattern, possibly bringing the first significant snowfalls in over a month to the BC, WA, and OR Cascades. However, major relief from this disastrous ski season and impending drought seems unlikely during the spring, as 30-90 day seasonal forecasts continue to predict warmer and drier than normal conditions.
    Overall, snowdepths decreased at all sites throughout the Cascade Range during the first half of March. As of March 15, snowdepths are about 20-50% of normal in southwestern BC, but drop to only 0-30% of normal throughout WA and northern OR. Snowdepths increase in southern OR to 30-50% of normal, then reach their climax in northern CA at 90-100% of normal near Mount Shasta before falling back below normal at Lassen Peak. Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak remain by far the current Cascades snowdepth leaders, as the Old Ski Bowl and Lake Helen sites have over 120" of snowpack (see the note below about snowdepth gauge issues at the Lassen Peak site). The region of record-low snowdepths has expanded farther north into BC and and farther south into OR, even reaching Crater Lake and now covering a 500-mile length along the Cascade Range. The snowpack in these areas is similar to what it would be in late June or early July in a normal year. Many sites have shattered previous March 15 minimum snowdepths by as much as 18-36" in some cases (record lows are shown in red below). Of particular significance are the new record lows set at Mount Baker Ski Area, Snoqualmie Pass, Mount Rainier Paradise, and Crater Lake Park HQ, where weather records extend back nearly 80-90 years. For a detailed historical perspective, see the new Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots, with custom plotting programs and data back to the 1916-17 season.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Mar 2005 59"
53%
—  
70", 06 Feb 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Mar 2005 58" 40% —   76", 17 Jan 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M02 Mar 2005 18" 24% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Mar 2005 49" 49% 137" 57", 05 Feb 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M25 Feb 2005 50" 35% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D14 Mar 2005 38" 33% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 15" 9% —   65", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 21" 30% —   41", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 24" 20% —   51", 07 Jan 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 0" 0% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 31" 30% —   43", 17 Jan 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 16" 15% —   56", 17 Jan 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 18" 17% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 0" 0% 121" 37", 17 Jan 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 15" 22% 75" 33", 09 Dec 2004
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 Mar 2005 28" —   —   47", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 34" 20% 242" 64", 16 Jan 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 0" 0% —   17", 09 Dec 2004
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 31" 20% —   50", 16 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 44" 40% —   71", 09 Jan 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 5" 6% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 39" 26% —   58", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 28" 20% —   45", 14 Feb 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Mar 2005 0" 0% 81" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Mar 2005 24" 19% —   37", 16 Jan 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 18" 20% —   39", 10 Jan 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 27" 30% —   45", 13 Feb 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Mar 2005 57" 50% 131" 68", 09 Dec 2004
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 29" 40% —   42", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Mar 2005 73" —   —   102", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Mar 2005 42" 36% 241" 81", 09 Jan 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 48" 45% —   77", 09 Jan 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 21" 35% —   37", 09 Jan 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Mar 2005 3" 6% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Mar 2005 66" 90% —   88", 01 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M24 Feb 2005 107" 98% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Mar 2005 121" 105% 334" 146", 02 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Mar 2005 87" 90% —   114", 02 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M25 Feb 2005 78" 105% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Mar 2005 0" 0% 144" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Mar 2005 124" 75% —   153", 02 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D17 Mar 2005 73" 62% 305" 103", 02 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 April 2005)

    WOW! The latter half of March brought a major shift in the weather pattern and a spectacular reversal in the fortunes of skiers in BC, WA, and OR. A continuing series of storms brought heavy precipitation and generally cool temperatures, a sustained combination not seen in these areas since the early fall. The first storm system of the changing weather pattern rolled through the northern end of the Cascade Range on March 16, bringing the first major snowfall in over a month to southwestern BC and WA with 5-14" from Whistler south to Mount Hood, tapering off to only an inch farther south. This was followed over the weekend by an impressive combination of systems which brought heavy snowfall all the way from BC to the southern Sierra. Whistler received over 2 ft of snow by Monday, while at the other end of the Cascades both Shasta and Lassen got 1-2 ft with snow levels lowering to 4000 ft, with amounts increasing farther south to about 3 ft near Lake Tahoe. Unfortunately, as has happened several times during this bizarre season, a wedge of warm air got pulled north simultaneously into OR and WA by a frontal system, raising snow levels above 5-6000 ft with snow turning to heavy rain. The trailing cold front did rapidly lower snow levels to 2000 ft by Monday, bringing 4-12" of snow to WA and northern OR. As the northern end of the range cleared under cool high pressure, another powerful storm came ashore in northern CA on the evening of Monday March 21, bringing 2 more ft to Shasta and Lassen and 3-4 more ft for the central Sierra over the next 3 days, with about 1-2 ft farther north in the OR Cascades.
    As this storm cycle concluded, the blocking pattern and split upper-level flow over the Pacific which had largely persisted since December finally broke down completely. For the first time since the fall, a single consolidated westerly jet stream was formed, and it dominated the weather for the last week of March. The fire hose was now aimed squarely at the region which needed it desperately, the Pacific Northwest. The first major system arrived on the weekend of the 26th, bringing 1-2 ft of snow to the WA Cascades as snow levels miraculously stayed below 4000 ft, even below 3000 ft at Snoqualmie Pass aided by easterly pass flow. Farther south in OR, snow levels soared to well over 6000 ft and the state was drenched by torrential rains. Relief came quickly, however, as the next much colder system arrived on Sunday-Monday and dumped another 1-2 ft at low snow levels throughout the WA, OR, and CA Cascades, with amounts peaking at 3 ft in the southern OR Cascades. This was followed by more frontal systems on 1-2 day intervals with snow levels generally at 3000-4000 ft, with the latest one welcoming in April Fools' Day with about 18" at Whistler and Baker, with much lesser amounts farther south tapering to a few inches in OR.
    Snowfall totals since March 16 are quite impressive: Whistler Mtn, 70"; Mt Baker Ski Area, 101"; Snoqualmie Pass, 65"; Mt Rainier Paradise, 91" (including 65" in 5 days from March 26-30); Mt Bachelor Ski Area, 68"; Crater Lake Park HQ, 73"; Mt Shasta Old Ski Bowl, 60"; Lassen Chalet, 75" (some values approximate). Snowdepths increased greatly at all sites throughout the Cascade Range during the second half of March. As of April 1, snowdepths are about 40-90% of normal in southwestern BC, 30-70% of normal throughout WA and OR, then increase rapidly to reach their climax in northern CA at 100-120% of normal near Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. Although the current snowpack in BC, WA, and OR remains well below normal, it is nevertheless a vast improvement over the exceptionally grim situation as of March 15. Many ski areas in BC, WA, and OR which had been forced to close prematurely during the bad times of January-March managed to reopen by April 1. At lower elevations throughout the range, snowdepths have struggled to recover even during the recent storm cycles and remain far below normal. Lassen Peak remains the current Cascades snowdepth leader with nearly 15 ft at Lake Helen, followed closely by Mount Shasta with over 12 ft in the Old Ski Bowl. The region of record-low snowdepths in BC, WA, and OR has now largely vanished, except for parts of southwestern BC and Vancouver Island, along with a few scattered sites in OR and WA. Orchid Lake in BC, which is historically the highest-snowdepth site in Canada, remains at a record low of 79" despite the large recent increase in snowdepth (record lows are shown in red below). The 89" snowdepth at Mount Rainier Paradise is the lowest on April 1 since 1941. For a detailed historical perspective, see the Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots, with custom plotting programs and data back to the 1916-17 season.
    Although amelioration of the impending drought crisis has only just begun, the recent storm cycles and heavy snowfall have probably extended the upcoming spring ski mountaineering season by 1-2 months on many routes and peaks throughout OR, WA, and southwestern BC. Quite promisingly, the current cool and wet weather pattern is likely to persist for some time, at least through the first week of April and perhaps much longer. The updated monthly outlook for April from the NWS Climate Prediction Center (released March 31) predicts a strong likelihood of above normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, whereas the original March 17 version of the same outlook did not. The likelihood of above normal temperatures has also decreased significantly in the updated version (see this combined graphic and also a large version).


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Apr 2005 91"
79%
—  
91", 01 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Apr 2005 107" 74% —   107", 01 Apr 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M01 Apr 2005 53" 69% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Apr 2005 92" 90% 210" 92", 01 Apr 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M30 Mar 2005 79" 48% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D01 Apr 2005 51" 42% —   67", 09 Jan 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 78" 45% —   78", 01 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 50" 70% —   55", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 71" 60% —   71", 01 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 27" 30% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 62" 61% —   62", 01 Apr 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 49" 45% —   52", 30 Mar 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 49" 49% —   50", 30 Mar 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 25" 29% 186" 39", 30 Mar 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 31" 45% —   37", 30 Mar 2005
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 Apr 2005 67" —   —   72", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 89" 51% 342" 89", 01 Apr 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 15" 28% —   21", 30 Mar 2005
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 72" 45% —   77", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 77" 60% —   81", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 23" 30% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 74" 45% —   74", 31 Mar 2005
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 51" 36% —   55", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Apr 2005 20" 50% 103" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Apr 2005 49" 39% —   54", 30 Mar 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 39" 39% —   45", 30 Mar 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 56" 56% —   64", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 Apr 2005 76" 65% 199" 83", 30 Mar 2005
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 50" 68% —   60", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 Apr 2005 108" —   —   118", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Apr 2005 81" 66% 314" 90", 30 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 80" 75% —   89", 29 Mar 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 36" 55% —   43", 29 Mar 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Apr 2005 14" 26% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Apr 2005 90" 115% —   98", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M31 Mar 2005 133" 109% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Apr 2005 146" 120% 394" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Apr 2005 111" 111% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M01 Apr 2005 95" 119% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Apr 2005 3" 17% 164" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M31 Mar 2005 174" 98% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D31 Mar 2005 120" 115% 380" 131", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current data for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is from the manual snow course, which is about 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge (possibly wind-affected).

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 April 2005)

    The first half of April continued the stormy pattern of late March, and the first four weeks of spring have been the most winter-like period of the year in the Pacific Northwest. A continuing series of storms brought nearly constant snow accumulations to the region, with only brief dry periods in between. A weak frontal system moved through over the first weekend of April, bringing 6-12" of snow throughout the length of the Cascade Range and down to the Sierra Nevada above 3-5000 ft elevation by Monday, with a maximum of 12-18" in southwestern BC. Continuing snowfall brought a few inches per day during the first week of the month, but the next potent system again dove south to CA from April 8-9, bringing a foot of snow to southern OR and northern CA, with lesser amounts farther north and the jackpot of 1-3 ft farther south in the Sierra Nevada. There was a brief respite between systems, before yet another system brought 1-2 ft over the entire length of the range from April 11-13, with maximum amounts on Rainier and Hood. High pressure then built in from the south, while another system took aim at the northern end of the range by the middle of the month. Heavy snowfall at higher elevations overnight into the 15th brought some sites such as Mount Rainier Paradise to new seasonal snowdepth maximums.
    Snowdepths increased slightly during the first half of April at higher elevation sites in the Cascades of OR, WA, and BC, but decreased at low elevation sites and in northern CA. As of April 15, snowdepths are about 60-90% of normal in southwestern BC, 40-80% of normal throughout WA and OR, then increase rapidly to reach their climax in northern CA at 100-120% of normal near Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. At lower elevations, snowdepths remain far below normal throughout the range. Lassen Peak remains the current Cascades snowdepth leader with about 14 ft at Lake Helen, followed closely by Mount Shasta with 12 ft in the Old Ski Bowl. The past month of heavy snowfall and generally cool temperatures has probably extended the upcoming spring ski mountaineering season by 2-3 months on many routes and peaks throughout OR, WA, and southwestern BC. In other words, it will probably be mid-May to early June before the current snowpack melts back to the miserable levels last seen on March 15.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Apr 2005 93"
85%
—  
99", 06 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Apr 2005 122" 87% —   131", 06 Apr 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M01 Apr 2005 53" 69% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 Apr 2005 88" 87% 253" 102", 06 Apr 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M30 Mar 2005 79" 48% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D15 Apr 2005 69" 65% —   70", 04 Apr 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 79" 47% —   88", 06 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 54" 80% —   59", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 79" 70% —   84", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 26" 35% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 51" 55% —   64", 02 Apr 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 36" 35% —   52", 30 Mar 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 39" 41% —   55", 02 Apr 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 16" 22% 201" 39", 30 Mar 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 36" 51% —   37", 30 Mar 2005
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 Apr 2005 66" —   —   72", 04 Apr 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 95" 53% 386" 95", 15 Apr 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 3" 7% —   21", 30 Mar 2005
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 75" 50% —   77", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 84" 70% —   86", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 17" 25% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 88" 54% —   89", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 60" 45% —   62", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 Apr 2005 6" 22% 109" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 Apr 2005 54" 43% —   55", 14 Apr 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 36" 40% —   45", 30 Mar 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 56" 60% —   64", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 Apr 2005 80" 75% 227" 84", 04 Apr 2005
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 49" 75% —   60", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 Apr 2005 119" —   —   121", 14 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Apr 2005 87" 77% 349" 91", 08 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 81" 80% —   89", 29 Mar 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 35" 65% —   43", 29 Mar 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 Apr 2005 11" 25% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 Apr 2005 86" 140% —   98", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M31 Mar 2005 133" 109% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Apr 2005 144" 125% 423" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Apr 2005 104" 115% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M01 Apr 2005 95" 119% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 Apr 2005 4" 36% 186" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Apr 2005 170" 100% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D15 Apr 2005 108" 114% 427" 131", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 May 2005)

    The second half of April brought an end to the sustained heavy snowfall of the previous month. The final major storm system of that bountiful weather pattern arrived on the weekend of April 15-17, bringing 1-2 ft of snowfall to southwestern BC but pouring rain below 6000-7000 ft in WA and OR. A few high-elevation sites recorded several inches of snowfall especially at the tail end, but overall the system caused the first major declines in snowdepths in over a month. The unusual split in the jet stream which was so persistent throughout this winter redeveloped around April 18, and the latter half of the month was warmer and drier than normal. Most storm systems and precipitation were again shunted far to the south into CA, while generally partly-mostly cloudy skies prevailed over much of the Cascade Range with only a few isolated days of clear high pressure. The split flow pattern shows no signs of dissipating into the first part of May.
    Snowdepths decreased throughout the Cascade Range during the warm and dry second half of April, especially at lower elevations, and the rapid spring meltdown continues unabated into early May. As of May 1, snowdepths are about 50-80% of normal in southwestern BC, but only 20-50% of normal in WA and northern OR, then increase to 40-60% of normal in southern OR and reach their climax in northern CA at 100-130% of normal near Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. Lassen Peak remains the current Cascades snowdepth leader with over 13 ft at Lake Helen, followed closely by Mount Shasta with 11 ft in the Old Ski Bowl. At lower elevations, snowdepths remain far below normal throughout the range and many sites have no snowpack. The region of record-low snowdepths in BC, WA, and OR has again increased in size since April 15, encompassing parts of southwestern BC and Vancouver Island, along with numerous sites in OR and WA (non-tying nonzero record lows are shown in red below). For a detailed historical perspective, see the Historical NWAC Snowdepth Data & Plots and Paradise & Crater Lake Snowfall/Snowdepth Plots, with custom plotting programs and data back to the 1916-17 season.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 May 2005 75"
72%
—  
102", 17 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 May 2005 94" 72% —   138", 16 Apr 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M30 Apr 2005 14" 24% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 May 2005 69" 79% 271" 102", 06 Apr 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M25 Apr 2005 91" 58% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D28 Apr 2005 48" 47% —   70", 04 Apr 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 52" 37% —   90", 17 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 27" 50% —   59", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 53" 50% —   84", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 0" 0% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 31" 34% —   64", 02 Apr 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 6" 7% —   52", 30 Mar 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 13" 16% —   55", 02 Apr 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 0" 0% 201" 39", 30 Mar 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 17" 23% —   37", 30 Mar 2005
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H01 May 2005 49" —   —   72", 04 Apr 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 54" 34% 397" 95", 15 Apr 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 0" 0% —   21", 30 Mar 2005
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 53" 40% —   77", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 57" 50% —   86", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 0" 0% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 65" 43% —   89", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 38" 28% —   62", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 May 2005 0" 0% 110" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 May 2005 30" 26% —   55", 14 Apr 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 9" 10% —   45", 30 Mar 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 38" 43% —   64", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D01 May 2005 64" 60% 228" 84", 04 Apr 2005
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 28" 47% —   60", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H01 May 2005 104" —   —   121", 14 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 May 2005 67" 67% 355" 91", 08 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 63" 68% —   89", 29 Mar 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 20" 43% —   43", 29 Mar 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 May 2005 0" 0% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 May 2005 66" 150% —   98", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M26 Apr 2005 127" 118% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 May 2005 134" 125% 423" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 May 2005 90" 110% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M29 Apr 2005 73" 133% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D26 Apr 2005 0" 0% 186" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M26 Apr 2005 162" 100% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D26 Apr 2005 88" 110% 428" 131", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current data for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is from the manual snow course, which is about 30" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge (possibly wind-affected).

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 May 2005)

    The split flow weather pattern of late April continued into the first part of May, aiming the majority of precipitation into California. A series of minor systems from May 4-8 brought 3-4 ft of snowfall to Mount Shasta at snow levels above 8000 ft, resulting in a major avalanche cycle. This was capped by a major low pressure system with much colder air which pounded the CA Cascades and Sierra Nevada on May 8-10, bringing another 1-2 ft of snowfall throughout the region above 5-6000 ft with up to 1 ft as far north as Crater Lake. The weather pattern then shifted back to a single unified westerly flow aimed directly at the Pacific NW, with several minor systems bringing continued precipitation during the second week of May but with seasonal temperatures maintaining snow levels above the measurement sites. This pattern is likely to continue throughout the third week of the month.
    Snowdepths decreased throughout the BC, WA, and OR Cascades during the first half of May, and many more measurement sites at mid elevations lost all of their remaining snowpack. At high elevations above 6000-7000 ft throughout the range and especially in the CA Cascades, the continued heavy snowfall has maintained snowdepths at nearly the same values as May 1. As of May 15, snowdepths are about 50-60% of normal at higher measurement sites in southwestern BC, but only 0-40% of normal in WA and northern OR, then increase to 40-60% of normal in southern OR and reach their climax in northern CA at 130-150% of normal near Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M17 May 2005 53"
57%
—  
102", 17 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 May 2005 67" 59% —   138", 16 Apr 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M30 Apr 2005 14" 24% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D15 May 2005 50" 60% 271" 102", 06 Apr 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M15 May 2005 48" 37% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D28 Apr 2005 48" 47% —   70", 04 Apr 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 20" 17% —   90", 17 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   59", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 28" 30% —   84", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 5" 8% —   64", 02 Apr 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   52", 30 Mar 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 0" 0% —   55", 02 Apr 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 0" 0% 201" 39", 30 Mar 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 0" 0% —   37", 30 Mar 2005
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H15 May 2005 31" —   —   72", 04 Apr 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 32" 22% 397" 95", 15 Apr 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 0" 0% —   21", 30 Mar 2005
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 31" 25% —   77", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 33" 35% —   86", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 53" 40% —   89", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 14" 15% —   62", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D15 May 2005 0" 0% 110" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 3" 3% —   55", 14 Apr 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   45", 30 Mar 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 19" 30% —   64", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 May 2005 46" 55% 236" 84", 04 Apr 2005
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 3" 10% —   60", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H15 May 2005 90" —   —   121", 14 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D14 May 2005 53" 66% 367" 91", 08 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 49" 70% —   89", 29 Mar 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 3" 10% —   43", 29 Mar 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H15 May 2005 0" 0% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A15 May 2005 52" 200% —   98", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M26 Apr 2005 127" 118% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 May 2005 131" 150% 450" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 May 2005 80" 150% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M29 Apr 2005 73" 133% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D15 May 2005 0" 0% 186" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 May 2005 160" 130% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D26 Apr 2005 88" 110% 447" 131", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 34" greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (01 June 2005)

    The third week of May brought continued precipitation and cooler temperatures, which resulted in the first significant snowfalls at measurement sites such as Whistler and Paradise in a month. A somewhat wintry westerly flow sent a pair of systems through the Pacific NW, bringing 1-4 ft of snowfall above 6-7000 ft throughout the range from BC to northern CA, and several inches of snow down to 5000 ft in the WA and BC Cascades. High pressure rebuilt somewhat during the last week of the month, bringing clear skies and warm temperatures into Memorial Day weekend. The strong westerly flow appears poised to return bringing additional systems and precipitation into the Pacific NW during the first week of June, with fair skies but cool temperatures in northern CA. As of June 1, snowdepths are about 40-50% of normal at higher measurement sites in southwestern BC, but most sites in WA and northern OR have lost all remaining snowpack. Snowdepths increase to 40-50% of normal at higher elevations in southern OR and reach their climax in northern CA at 140-200% of normal near Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak. At high elevations above 6000-7000 ft throughout the range, the heavy May snowfall has maintained significant snowdepths and the mountains continue to look wintry white.


(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M01 Jun 2005 37"
49%
—  
102", 17 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H01 Jun 2005 43" 51% —   138", 16 Apr 2005
Callaghan Creek (east of Mt Cayley) 3400 ft BC RFC M31 May 2005 0" 0% —  
Whistler Mtn, Pig Alley (N of Garibaldi) 5400 ft Ski Area D01 Jun 2005 26" 40% 289" 102", 06 Apr 2005
Orchid Lake (south of Mt Garibaldi) 3900 ft BC RFC M01 Jun 2005 16" 16% —  
Grouse Mountain (North Vancouver) 3700 ft Ski Area D28 Apr 2005 48" 47% —   70", 04 Apr 2005
WA Mt Baker Ski Area (NE of Mt Baker) 4200 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   90", 17 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Wells Creek (north side) 4200 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   59", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, MF Nooksack (NW side) 5000 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   84", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Baker, Elbow Lake (SW side) 3200 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   33", 16 Jan 2005
Rainy Pass (far NE of Glacier Peak) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   64", 02 Apr 2005
Park Creek Ridge (E of Cascade Pass) 4600 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   52", 30 Mar 2005
Stevens Pass [see also NRCS site] 4000 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   55", 02 Apr 2005
Snoqualmie Pass 3000 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% 201" 39", 30 Mar 2005
Crystal Mtn Ski Area (NE of Rainier) 4400 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   37", 30 Mar 2005
Chinook Pass (east of Mt Rainier) 5600 ft NWAC H06 Jan 2005 45" —   —  
Mt Rainier, Sunrise (NE side) 6400 ft NWAC H24 May 2005 35" —   —   72", 04 Apr 2005
Mt Rainier, Paradise (south side) 5400 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% 407" 95", 15 Apr 2005
White Pass [see also NRCS site] 4500 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   21", 30 Mar 2005
Pigtail Peak (N of Goat Rocks) 5900 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 2" 2% —   77", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Saint Helens, Swift Creek (S side) 3800 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   86", 13 Apr 2005
Mt Saint Helens, June Lake (SE side) 3300 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   47", 16 Jan 2005
OR Mt Hood, Timberline Lodge (S side) 6000 ft NWAC H, D15 May 2005 53" 40% —   89", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood Test Site (south side) 5400 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   62", 14 Apr 2005
Mt Hood, Government Camp (SW side) 4000 ft NCDC D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% 110" 24", 09 Dec 2004
Mt Hood Meadows Ski Area (SE side) 5200 ft NWAC H, D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   55", 14 Apr 2005
Hogg Pass (near Santiam Pass) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   45", 30 Mar 2005
McKenzie (NW of Three Sisters) 4800 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   64", 30 Mar 2005
Mt Bachelor Ski Area (north side) 6300 ft Ski Area D15 May 2005 46" 55% 236" 84", 04 Apr 2005
Cascade Summit (NE of Diamond Peak) 4900 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   60", 29 Mar 2005
Crater Lake, Caldera Rim (SW side) 7100 ft NWAC H29 May 2005 76" —   —   121", 14 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D01 Jun 2005 25" 50% 378" 91", 08 Apr 2005
Crater Lake, Annie Springs (SW side) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 22" 49% —   89", 29 Mar 2005
Fourmile Lake (east of Mt McLoughlin) 6000 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   43", 29 Mar 2005
Mt McLoughlin, Billie Creek (SE side) 5300 ft NRCS H01 Jun 2005 0" 0% —   27", 09 Jan 2005
CA Medicine Lake (west side of caldera) 6700 ft CCSS H*, A01 Jun 2005 14" 130% —   98", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Horse Camp (SW side) 7900 ft CCSS M26 Apr 2005 127" 118% —  
Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H01 Jun 2005 100" 170% 450" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M01 Jun 2005 48" 200% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Brewer Creek (east side) 6200 ft CCSS M29 Apr 2005 73" 133% —  
Lassen Peak, Manzanita Lake (NW side) 5800 ft NPS D01 Jun 2005 0" 0% 186" 31", 11 Jan 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M01 Jun 2005 126" 140% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
Lassen Chalet (SW of Lassen Peak) 6700 ft NPS D26 Apr 2005 88" 110% 447" 131", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 20% greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.

Snowfall and Snowdepth Info (15 June 2005)

    Regular snowpack reports have ended for this season, since nearly all measurement sites throughout the Cascades have no snow left. Despite the unusually bleak state of the snowpack at elevations up to 6000-7000 ft, heavy spring precipitation has brought significant snowfall to higher elevations and a moderate amount of snow remains up there for summer skiers. On Mount Shasta, the spring snowfall has produced an exceptionally deep snowpack at upper elevations above 9000 ft, the deepest in early summer since at least 1998.
    The following 6 sites are the only ones out of 43 in these reports which are now reporting nonzero snowdepth (Crater Lake Rim certainly has nonzero snowdepth, but telemetry stopped on May 29):

(Italicized numbers are estimated, grayed values are no longer current)
State /
Prov.
Measurement Site Location   Elevation
Data Source
and Frequency

Date of
Measurement

Snow
Depth

Percent of
Normal

Seasonal
Snowfall

Year to Date
Max. Depth
BC Tenquille Lake (east of Mt Meager) 5500 ft BC RFC
H, M15 Jun 2005 23"
46%
—  
102", 17 Apr 2005
Upper Squamish River (NW of Cayley) 4400 ft BC RFC H15 Jun 2005 15" 28% —   138", 16 Apr 2005
OR Crater Lake, Park HQ (SW side) 6400 ft NPS H, D15 Jun 2005 3" 13% 387" 91", 08 Apr 2005
CA Mt Shasta, Old Ski Bowl (south side) 7600 ft MSAC H15 Jun 2005 73" 240% 450" 155", 29 Mar 2005
Mt Shasta, Sand Flat (SW side) 6800 ft CCSS H, M15 Jun 2005 16" 120% —   122", 27 Mar 2005
Lassen Peak, Lake Helen (south side) 8200 ft CCSS H, M15 Jun 2005 100" 230% —   178", 29 Mar 2005
    NOTE: Current value for Lassen Peak Lake Helen is estimated (based on the manual snow course) to be 20% greater than the automated snowdepth gauge, which may be wind-affected.



Data on this page provided by:
        Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, Mount Shasta Avalanche Center, Oregon & Washington Snow Surveys (NRCS),
        California Cooperative Snow Surveys, British Columbia River Forecast Centre & Snow Surveys,
        Western Regional Climate Center, National Climatic Data Center, Environment Canada National Climate Archive,
        Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks,
        Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Mount Baker Ski Area, Stevens Pass Ski Area, and Mount Bachelor Ski Resort.

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Amar Andalkar   Seattle, WA, USA   <About the Author / Contact Me>
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Last modified Saturday, March 11, 2006