A beautiful morning view from Mount Shasta, looking south towards the Castle Crags.
Amazingly, we are now halfway through January, 2022. The time has flown for me, as my workload has never been fuller than it is right now, and yet, I know things are definitely going to get busier as we charge deeper into the year. Yet, it has already been a busy winter here in Mount Shasta. December started off warm but it turned white swiftly and maintained a steady amount of precipitation for most of the month and a week into January. The result was a white Christmas and a solid foundation to the snowpack. Of course, the snow that fell at higher elevations was building on a base that was laid down by the good amount of rain we had in October and early November. All in all, it has been a good start to the winter.
Now that we have entered a somewhat dry and warmer spell, this is a good opportunity to pause and evaluate the snowpack. First, however, a quick look at some of the activity that has been happening around the mountain:
Though there has not been as much activity in the sky over Mount Shasta, it has been a really beautiful week. However,, the last few days have seen generally clear skies, so I am eagerly awaiting the next big weather system rolling through. In the meantime, I headed up to Bunny Flat to evaluate the snowpack. Things certainly looked good up there, with a snowpack that looked rather deep. It certainly has a way to go to be a great setup for next summer but it feels like, even right now, if the winter were to end, we have more snow on the mountain than we did last year. A few images from Bunny Flat certainly show how much further we are along than last winter.
Both sets of images were taken mid January though the latter shows an obviously deeper snowpack. This map on the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s website supports that assessment. Even though it does not show Mount Shasta’s snowpack in particular (I am not sure why not), the map does show surrounding gauge stations and they are all, generally, above average for this time of year.
There was nothing special going on at Bubby Flat, but it is always beautiful.
Yesterday I had to drive to Weaverville and so crossed over Lake Shasta for the first time in a while. It was frustrating to see the “lake” at Lakehead is still just a river. I checked the lake’s water level and found it has risen 15 feet since the beginning of the year. That is certainly a positive development but the Central Valley Water Project continues to release water from the lake at a seemingly high rate for this time of year. I have no idea what is going on downstream (if anything)…
Despite the slower-than-desired filling of the lake, it is still a great start to the winter. Now we need another storm to sweep through and keep building the snowpack!