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World Record Snowfall

Although the Arctic is known as a snowy place, it is in fact a desert where very little snow actually falls. The snow that does fall, however, stays around a long time, giving the impression of much snow.

So where did the MOST snow fall?

The world record for the most snow in one year is now held by Mount Baker (elevation: 10,775 feet / 3,285 meters) in Washington State, USA. The Mount Baker Ski Area reported 1,140 inches (95 feet) / 2,896 cm (29 meters) of snowfall for the 1998-99 season.

The mountain also beat its own record for most snowfall in a month with 304 inches / 772 cm.

Snowfall can be difficult to measure because it settles, melts, or drifts from place to place. Strict standards must be observed - a flat surface is used to measure daily snowfall amounts along with a snow stake to measure depth.

The heavy snowfalls in Washington's Cascade Mountains are the result of several factors:

  • Winter is the wettest season on the mild Pacific Coast, and with the west-to-east weather patterns, storms strike the Pacific Northwest frequently.

  • Freezing levels average about 4,000 feet / 1,220 meters over the winter months. Near that altitude snowfall amounts increases very rapidly with just small increases in elevation.

  • Air full of moisture after its journey across the Pacific is forced up over the Cascade Range. It cools down quickly and drops it's load.

Click pictures for more information and credits.
Library: Snow, Environment, Arctic
Links: Environment, Cold Places, Arctic
News Story: Climbing Mt. Baker
Arctic Maps & Weather Reports

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A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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