Before St. Patrick’s Day, Mount Shasta residents could see their lawns and were eagerly awaiting signs of spring. A little over week later, they’re looking out on drifts of white, working frantically to keep their driveways shoveled.
On Friday morning, those in downtown Mount Shasta woke up to 40 inches of snow accumulated on the ground – an all time record for any day in March, said national weather observer Frank Christina. The old record, set on March 1, 1969, was 38 inches.
“Records are being broken left and right,” said Christina. “This is a monumental storm, especially for so late in the year.”
More than 13 inches of snow fell on Sunday, March 20, the first day of spring, and at least two more feet have fallen since Tuesday, when the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning, predicting snowfall at a rate of two inches an hour.
The extreme conditions have lead to some snow related rescues in the area.
On Sunday, March 20, Siskiyou County Sheriff's Deputies search and rescue team helped Astra Leopold, 65, get out of her home near McCloud. Snow was approximately eight to 10 feet deep, according to a press release from the Sheriff's Department. Because there is no electricity at her home, Leopold relies on a generator that only holds enough fuel for 22 hours. When she ran out, assistant search and rescue coordinator Charlie Nowdesha and four SAR volunteers rescued the trapped woman and transported her and her pets to a friend's residence.
Also on March 20, the Sheriff's Department rescued two "extreme campers," Mark Fritzke, 54, of Bayside, Calif. and Michael Egan, 49, of Arcata, Calif. According to a press release, the men were snowed in at the Gumboot Lake area in their Volvo, which was immobilized in deep snow. A Snowcat was needed to rescue them.
Mount Shasta public works director Rod Bryan said all of the city’s nine full time public works employees, plus some extra helpers are hard at work plowing snow to clear roads and keep town safe.
He reminded motorists to not park their cars on the streets while snow removal operations are taking place.
“Things are getting pretty tight out there," Bryan said Friday morning. “There’s a lot of snow, and it’s hard enough to move it without having to go around cars.”
At the Mt. Shasta Ski Park, an astounding 240 inches of snow have been measured at the top of Douglas, and 156 inches are at the base.
“Last year at this time, we had 156 inches at the top,” said marketing director Jim Mullins, adding that this is the most snow he’s seen at the Park in the five years he’s been there.
Poor visibility, power fluctuations and generally unsafe conditions led to the cancelation of the Rail Jam, which was scheduled for Saturday, March 26.
Though “inundated” with snow, Mullins said the Park has remained operational every day, however, the Coyote lift has been closed.
At the Ski Park, Mullins said they are expecting an additional 15 or 16 inches by tomorrow, March 26.
In Mount Shasta City, McCloud and Weed, snow is predicted for the next three days, until the National Weather Service predicts it will turn to rain late Monday evening. A little south in Dunsmuir, much of the precipitation has been slushy snow and rain.