Well, the streak of consecutive days of rainfall for Seattle came to an end yesterday. The rain began back on December 19th and lasted until January 14th and although some days only featured a scant tenth of an inch or so of rain, the total for the 27-day period was 13.22" of rain. More than a third of the annual average for this area in under a month's worth of time. And while Seattle residents like to point out that New York City and other big east coast locales average more rainfall per year than the Emerald City, such trivial details seem rather meaningless when it rains everyday.
While the resulting floods, landslides, and sinkholes were unfortunate, this massive amount of precipitation also had an adverse -- and completely unexpected -- affect on one of the local ski resorts. Last week, Mount Baker Ski Resort received 113 inches of snow in a 6 day period. That's over 9 feet of snow in less than a week! I can't help but envision what it would be like to get on a chairlift and literally be several feet below the snow surface--they'd need to dig a trench for the chairs to slip through!
But because of the tremendous avalanche risk, they were forced to close the mountain on Thursday. Most ski resorts out here spend much of the morning blasting away avalanches, but the operations at Mount Baker proved so overwhelming and the conditions so dangerous that they had to not only close the mountain down for the weekend, but they can't reopen the lifts until Wednesday.
Never have I considered the possibility of a ski resort getting too much snow and after the miserable drought we had last year, it seems like this is some sort of twisted joke being played on us by Mother Nature. The resorts lost a lot of money last year due to the lack of snow and now Mount Baker has to stay closed for nearly a week -- over a holiday weekend no less -- because of too much snow. That's just weird.
And as for the dry spell that hit the area, it barely lasted 24hrs. We woke this morning to more heavy rain and the local mountain passes are closed on account of heavy snowfall.
Anyway, the Mount Baker website has an interesting article on the hazards associate with riding in deep snow and the dangers of tree wells. Check it out right here.