Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weather Information

Update.--This blog entry has been superseded by a Web page for the Mt. Rainier NP weather data. Please update your links.

One of the most important factors when planning your trip to Mt. Rainier National Park is the obvious, the weather. To first-time and even the occasional visitors, but especially long-time and frequent visitors, it's important to know the weather in Mt. Rainier NP is so dynamic that forecasts are at best just that, best guesses, and even the latest forecast is only a close proximity of reality. It's the old adage of weather folks here, "Mt. Rainier makes its own weather."

So, it's the normal "be prepared for the extremes." But that said, recent data and forecast is a place to start to plan your visit, and this entry will provide some resources to find the most recent weather information and forecasts. These will be listed as Websites where you can search for the specific site(s) and data along with some general weather data.

When you get close to your visit to Mt. Rainier NP, the first place to start is the current weather and latest forecasts, which are explained in the book Northwest Mountain Weather. After that, you need some on-line resources with weather data, information and forecasts, which are as follows.

NOAA-NWS Cascade Mountain Forecast
NRSC Washington Snotel sites
NWAC Weather Center Mountain Data
USGS Mt. Rainier NP area Weather Sites

There are many more on-line government and commercial resources for weather data and information on or around Mt. Rainier NP, but the ones above will give you a good idea of what to expect and get the latest data and forecasts. The next thing is to understand are the seasons, especially if you plan to be there between late fall and early summer.

This is because it's not about the normal seasonal late spring to early fall weather when the temperatures are usually more moderate and somewhat more predictable, meaning it won't get too cold except at higher elavations in the backcountry. This is shown in the average monthly temperatures for Longmire, Paradise and Ohanapecosh.

At the bottom of the post are tables with additonal temperature data for Longmire and Paradise. This data are the average high and low temperatures and the extremes of high and low temperatures, along with the average precipitation and precipitation as snowfall, which is the precipitation related to the temperatures, meaning when cold enough for rain to fall as snowfall.

This can occur at anytime of the year, but not normally late spring to early fall and not always from early fall to late spring. This means it can get cold enough to snow anytime during the year and warm enough to rain anytime during the winter. This is seen in the rain as snowfall and snow water equivalent, the latter being snow reduced to water and converted to equivalent precitation.

What does all this mean? You have to bring clothes to be dry and warm anytime of the year, lighter in the late spring to early fall and heavier early fall to late spring.

Longmire Ranger Station
Latitude: 46 degrees, 45 minutes north
Longitude: 121 degrees, 49 minutes west
Elevation: 2,762 feet

MonthAverage highAverage lowWarmest everColdest everAverage rainAverage snow

Paradise Ranger Station
Latitude: 46 degrees, 47 minutes north
Longitude: 121 degrees, 44 minutes west
Elevation: 5,550 feet

MonthAverage highAverage lowWarmest everColdest everAverage rainAverage snow
FEB352262 -1210.688.7
MAR372265 -210.498.6
APR44 277026.754.1
JUN5637 86 134.74.3

That's all for now.

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