Turbulent skies over Mount Shasta.
The extraordinary storm conditions that have persisted for the last two months not only show no sign of abating in January, but are becoming even more powerful. This means that increasingly significant rainfall continues to pour down on the western United States. The Mount Shasta area is at the center of the incredible storm system and the effects are easy to discern when looking at the creeks, rivers and surrounding landscape. It is a blessing, after being in the throes of drought for the last few years.
A glorious inter-storm sunrise in the frozen Shasta Valley.
After Christmas, the Mount Shasta area had a significant rain storm that dropped a copious amounts of rain. It brought the return of the Shasta Valley reflecting pools and swelled the creeks and rivers that flow around the foot of Mount Shasta. Though it was cold, the freezing conditions weren’t to last long beyond New Years and a new storm system with even more rain was inbound.
Wednesday night the storm crashed through the area with powerful winds and a truly epic amount of rain. The wind was so fierce, I observed it driving the rain upward! The water fell from the sky all night and by morning, everything was incredibly waterlogged, far exceeding the mount of water that fell during the post-Christmas storm.
While the storm continued in Mount Shasta, a short jaunt north into the Shasta Valley revealed blue skies and a sky filled with magnificent lenticular clouds. The puddles and pools, already large from the first storm, were now swollen and multiplied beyond anything I have ever seen. This was by far the most water I have seen in the Shasta Valley.
The creeks and rivers were also in remarkable condition. I headed over to Parks Creek to check its status. While it was already engorged by runoff from the first storm when I had checked it a few days earlier, now it was a torrent. Rather than the normal, mild-mannered creek that flows through the rocky channel, it was now a raging river, with far more water than even the Shasta River might normally have.
Of course, the Shasta River was even larger, a truly impressive beast of a waterway at this time. While it is often hard to recognize it as a “river”, at least in its upper areas before it is charged with the numerous large springs that emerge in the downstream in the Shasta Valley, at this time there was no mistaking this as a large and powerful river.
Though the Shasta River flows mostly through private land, there are a few good places to observe it. Most of these are around the community of Edgewood. It is certainly worth heading out and seeing this unappreciated river, especially when it has such a strong flow.
At nightfall, I found myself in the valley again. Though the mountain was not totally visible, it was oddly quiet. Dark clouds brewed, promising yet more rain. This is what the thirsty land needs and it is a blessing that such is being provided. To provide some idea of how much impact these storms are having, Shasta Lake has risen 15 feet (at the time of this writing) since Christmas Day. It is rising roughly 3 feet per day over the last few days. I believe this trend will continue for a while yet.
While heading up to the animal hospital on Friday, I had to stop and take a few more pictures, as a new batch of lenticulars continued to dominate the sky over Mount Shasta. The mountain itself was visible, though partially covered by the storm that was bringing rain to the areas on the south side. The Shasta Valley always amazes me in the way it manages to stay dry while the entire region surrounding it is pelted with rain and snow.
This is the next 5 storms due to slam into the west coast over the next several days.
Here they are identified by Rogue Weather , a great resource for local weather conditions. That is quite an array of storm systems. It seems that we are not even close to the end of this wild weather.