There’s snow on Mount Hamilton, and on the ridges to each side.
This is Mid-March. This is not usual. This is not exotic either. It is a rare thing though.
We sometimes get a little snow on Mount Hamilton. Occasionally, it will reach the lower elevations of the flanking ridges. This is more often a January or February thing. Often we have no precipitation at all after February. One year, we were having a horrible drought through winter and then had “Miracle March” where a downpour of rain happened (snow not so much).
But now, for the 3rd or 4th time? this month, there’s once again Snow on the Mountain.
Some years, March is quite warm. This year it has wobbled back and forth, but with a very cold 2 week cycle.
I thought of taking some photos of it, but really, what’s the point? I’ve taken the same photos in other months, so all that would change is the date stamp.
What this isn’t, is “Global Warming”. It isn’t warm. Instead of shorts and a shovel in the back yard I’m in long sleeves, long pants, and turning on the room heater at night. I can see snow out my window, though a couple of thousand feet higher. Still, it makes for very cold down slope drainage air.
Per the Wiki, Mt. Hamilton is 4,265 feet, 1300 M elevation. At the lowest in the morning, the snow looked to be a bit over 1/2 way up the mountain. Call it about 2500 feet. Maybe 3000 (though it changes through the day as it melts).
This isn’t impossible, just very rare. The Wiki goes out of their way to cite one year, not that long ago, that also had abnormally heavy snow in March:
Numerous times each winter temperatures drop low enough for Mount Hamilton (left) to receive as much as a foot of snow for a day or two.
These mountains are high enough to receive snowfall in the winter, perhaps up to a dozen times. Occasionally, when a cold, wet storm comes in from the Gulf of Alaska or Canada, Mt. Hamilton and the surrounding peaks get significant snowfall. In February 2001, 30 inches (76 cm) of snow fell, and in March 2006, the peak was left with over a foot (30 cm) of snow in one night.
The National Weather Service has had a cooperative weather station on the summit of Mount Hamilton almost since the time that the Lick Observatory opened. It has provided a glimpse of the extreme weather conditions that occur on the Diablo Range, especially in the winter months.
It can even be later. Back in 1967 there was a late snow in April. On April 1st. Just a couple of weeks away right now. So unusual that makes it to the Wiki as well.
But what is quite clear is that had we been warming so horribly as all the Climate-Doomsters shout at us, we’d not be having the same very unusual late snow this year. It would be rain instead.
Mt. Hamilton had a foot of snow on the ground on April 1, 1967
January is usually the coldest month on Mount Hamilton with an average high of 49.4 °F (9.7 °C) and an average low of 37.5 °F (3.1 °C). The warmest month is usually July with an average high of 78.2 °F (25.7 °C) and an average low of 63.1 °F (17.3 °C). Due to frequent thermal inversions during the summer, it is often warmer on Mount Hamilton than in San Jose. The record high temperature of 103 °F (39 °C) was on August 5, 1978. The record low temperature of 7 °F (−14 °C) was on December 21, 1990. The average days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher is 4.3 days. The average days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower is 50.6 days.
Annual precipitation averages 23.73 inches (603 mm). Measurable rainfall occurs on an average of 71.9 days each year. The most rainfall in a month was 12.13 inches (308 mm) in February 1998; no rainfall has been common during the summer months. The maximum rainfall in 24 hours was 6.87 inches (174 mm) on December 23, 1955.
Annual snowfall averages 10 inches (25 cm). The maximum snowfall in a year was 59.0 inches (150 cm) in 1955. The maximum snowfall in a month was 38.1 inches (97 cm) in February 2019. The 24-hour maximum snowfall of 14.0 inches (36 cm) occurred on February 18, 1990. The deepest daily snow depth was 18 inches (46 cm) in March 1976. Measurable snow has been recorded in every month from November through June.
I note in passing the max snow in a month was in 2019 and 24 hour max was 1990. Not 50 years ago… Looks to me like lots of cold snow since “global warming” was declared a thing… More than in the ’70s & ’80s when we were told it was just a couple of decades to thermal Armageddon…
So yes, it isn’t truly an Earth Shattering Snow until it happens in June, and that’s still a couple of months away. Yet the March and April 1 snow is so unusual as to be called out and cited in the Wiki (Cue the Wiki Langoliers to go gobble up that bit of history…)
The Wiki shows the average March Snow as 3.8 inches / 9.7 cm. Yet we’ve had a few snows this March and I’d guess they were well over that. (Seeing as a couple persisted for several days after the first onset).
Again, not all that exceptionally unusual, more like dead on normal. But certainly not what we ought to be seeing if there were any actual warming in evidence.
Nothing has changed in the Snows of Mt. Hamilton over the 50 years I’ve been watching it. We went through some low snow periods in the hot 1980s. Had more snow in the colder times before that, and have returned to more snow now, later in the season. It’s just a regular roughly 60 year cycle, now returned to cold and snow again.
I’ll be watching the mountain closely for the next month or two, and should any snow show up in May or June, I’ll certainly make noise about it. But frankly this repeated snowing in March is quite cold enough, thank you. The house heater just kicked on… and this is supposedly the hottest time of the day in early afternoon…