The Northwest’s lack of snow last winter is old news. Yet the scope of that decline, and the recent snowfall trend, should raise a few eyebrows.
Figures posted by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) show Snoqualmie Pass received 104 cumulative inches of snowfall in 2014-15. That’s just 24% of the 66-year average, 429 inches.
December saw the most snowfall at Snoqualmie Pass, 34 inches – well below the December average of 94 inches. January through April, the pass received a paltry 46 inches, aided by a late-spring surge.
WSDOT records show the last winter to exceed 500 inches was 2007-08, while 600-inch winters, somewhat common half a century ago, last happened in 1998-99.
The trend: less snowfall. From 1950 through 1977, the yearly average snowfall never dropped below 500 inches.
Perhaps you remember harrowing winter drives over the pass, or banner ski seasons. They might coincide with these deep-snowfall figures: 1955-56 (828 inches), 1949-50 (696), 1973-74 (692), and 1963-64 (678).
Snowy months include December 1968-69 (192 inches), January 2005-06 (175), February 1989-90 (145), and March 2008-09 (143).
Older drivers and skiers might remember 1955, when 221 inches fell at Snoqualmie Pass in March alone!
See WSDOT’s updated snowfall tables.