Weather Blog

The snow is officially gone at Stevens Pass, right on schedule

The snow is officially gone at Stevens Pass, right on schedule
Photo of bare ground at Stevens Pass ski resort on June 7, 2013. (Photo courtesy: Stevens Pass Ski Resort, stevenspass.com)

If three straight days of near 80 degrees wasn't enough of a sign that summer is getting close, perhaps the bare ground at Stevens Pass will drive the point home.

It looks like June 7 will go down as the date when Stevens Pass officially "melts out" -- as in has less than 2 inches of snow on the ground at its 4,080 feet elevation. It turns out that is right on average for the past 10 years, but according to UW Research Meteorologist Mark Albright, "if you think the hiking season in the Cascade Mountains is starting later now than it used to about 30 years ago, you would be right."

Records at the pass go back to 1980 and the median meltout date overall is June 2. But it has steadily been getting later as the years progressed.

In the 1980s, it was May 30th. In the 1990s, it was June 1.

For the 2000s, it's June 2, but if you back the last 10 years from 2004-2013, it's June 7.

However, compared to the past few La Nina winters, we're a bit early as in the 2010s, the average is June 18.

That date was heavily influenced by the winter of 2010-2011 where Stevens Pass didn't melt out until July 1 -- the record latest meltout. (Earliest meltout was May 1, 2005)

If you still want some snow though, you can find it if you just go a bit higher. Paradise Ranger Station on Mt. Rainier at 5,400 feet typically keeps snow until July 11 (although last year it had snow almost all the way through summer, holding on until August 26.) As of Friday, there are still 107 inches of snow on the ground.

Ordered list of meltout dates from latest to earliest for the 33 years from 1981-2013 at Stevens Pass, elevation 4060 ft., courtesy of Mark Albright:

Latest 5 meltout dates:
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1 Jul 2011
25 Jun 2008
25 Jun 1999
24 Jun 2012
23 Jun 1997
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20 Jun 2002
18 Jun 1984
17 Jun 1982
10 Jun 2010
7 Jun 2013 <--This year
7 Jun 2006
7 Jun 2000
7 Jun 1991
5 Jun 2009
3 Jun 1990
2 Jun 2003
2 Jun 1996 <--Median
2 Jun 1988
1 Jun 2007
31 May 1995
31 May 1989
28 May 1994
28 May 1986
28 May 1985
24 May 2001
23 May 1998
23 May 1983
17 May 1993

Earliest 5 meltout dates:
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15 May 2004
14 May 1987
9 May 1981
2 May 1992
1 May 2005