A fresh dusting of snow and the light of sunrise mix on Mount Shasta.
For the third time in the last few weeks the Mount Shasta area has gotten rain. This certainly seems to indicate the accuracy of the NOAA prediction that we are headed into a La Nina winter, which if true, will bring a lot of much needed rain and snow to the Mount Shasta area. The fact that three storms have come through and left a little snow on the mountain in September lends some creedance to the NOAA’s forecast for the winter.
On this third go around, the snow from the previous two storms had mostly melted off. A little bit still clung around the summit, along with the glaciers that clung to the upper flanks of the mountain.
A day or so before the rain, I had headed out into the Shasta Valley for sunrise. They sky was clear, which lent itself to an uneventful sunrise but the views of the mountain were great. This afforded a chance to see just how much snow from the previous storm was still there. It was mostly found in the crags and crevices above 12,000 feet but, here on the shadier northern aspect of Mount Shasta, it could still be seen clearly.
Incidentally, the sunrise offered an interesting view of Ash Creek Butte. The peak, one of the 5 highest summits around Mount Shasta is not as readily visible as the other high peaks around the mountain but it can be seen from many places in the Shasta Valley. On this particular morning, it lay just above the light horizon cast by the rising son. Interestingly, the Ash Creek Hoodoo was clearly visible, even from this great distance.
The morning of the storm, I headed out early, anticipating the shifting weather conditions might produce a lenticular. While I was correct and a lenticular did manifest, it was not nearly as large as I was hoping. Nonetheless, the sky was colorful and the bright yellow of the rabbit brush made for a spectacularly gorgeous morning. Now all that was left was to wait and see how much precipitation would actually fall.
In the end, the storm did not exceed expectations and only delivered a moderate amount of preciptiation. This translated into only a bit of dusting of snow on Mount Shasta. However, unlike the previous two storms, the temperatures were much colder so, though the precipitation was not high, the snow level on the mountain was low. Snow was visible on Mount Shasta well below 8,000 feet. This made for a beautiful sunrise, since the light snow offers the perfect contrast to the dark crags on the south side of the mountain. When lit by the sunrise, this always makes for a terrific spectacle and Tuesday morning certainly delivered on that potential.
By the end of the day, much of the dusting of snow had melted off or been blown away. However, despite its disappearance in the areas under 10,000 feet, its provenance remains a hopeful indicator of what may lie ahead over the course of the coming winter.