Mount Shasta had warmest summer on record in 2021, mountain snow is gone

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald
Teh top 10 warmest summers (June through August) for Mt. Shasta City.

As Labor Day brings an unofficial close to the summer, the mornings are beginning to feel nippy and fall-like in the Mt. Shasta area. This summer (June 1 through August) was the warmest on record in both Mount Shasta and Montague, according to Miles Bliss, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Medford, Ore.

Mount Shasta's average maximum temperature in 2021 was 71.5 degrees, Bliss said, beating out the previous record average of 69.9 degrees in 2017.

For the first time in memory, Mt. Shasta is totally devoid of snow on the western side.

Mt. Shasta was once described by Joaquin Miller as "lonely as God, and white as a winter moon." For the first time in recent memory, Mt. Shasta's western side is devoid of snow on Aug. 5, 2021.

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The three largest glaciers on the 14,179-foot peak were expanding as recently as 2008, according to a study published at the time by researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz. But a series of warm summers have caused Mt. Shasta's Whitney Glacier, the longest in California, to retreat 800 meters in the past 16 years, or about 25% of its length, said Dr. Mauri Pelto, an expert on glaciers and climate change. The "spectacular loss of snowpack" above 12,000 feet has helped reduce Whitney's total mass by nearly half.

Top 10 warmest summers (June through August) for Montague.

Montague's mean average temperature between June 1 and Aug. 31 was 74.7 degrees, topping the previous record of 75.1 set in 2000.

And while summers generally bring some precipitation-bringing thunderstorms to Siskiou County, the last time it rained any amount above 0.01 inches was on July 31 in both Mount Shasta and Montague, Bliss said.

Freelance writer Barry Kaye contributed to this report.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.