Jesse Ferrell

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Mammoth California Snow: 186 Inches, 164-MPH Winds

December 20, 2010; 11:11 AM ET

UPDATE 12 PM TUESDAY: The final total at Mammoth is (drum roll please) 15.5 feet, or 186 inches in four days. Does this break any of the records listed at the bottom of this report? The only one possibly in jeopardy is the 3-day snowfall record, if it is confirmed.

Mammoth doesn't keep daily records for the summit, but yesterday's 21" at the base was 17% of the 4-day total; if we subtract that percentage from the summit total, that gives us about 154" in 3 days, which would break the record 132" that was previously held by the January 2008 Kirkwood storm. Believe it or not, I have blogged about several wind gusts near 164 mph in California during the winter -- but the worst was 183 mph in 2006.

UPDATE 8 AM TUESDAY: 77 inches at Aspendell; waiting for a new report from Mammoth. Onthesnow says they had 61 inches in 24 hours and 114 inches in 48 hours. Kirkwood is reporting an 80-inch total. Heavy rain with Flooding is also occurring in California, and western blogger Ken Clark says it's not over yet. This photo from Mammoth says it all:

UPDATE 3 PM: 13.5 feet (162 inches) of snow has fallen at Mammoth Mountain, helping set a new record for snowiest December, and 74" has piled up at Aspendell. Here's a photo of Mammoth's "sun deck" early this morning:

Mammoth mountain is now reporting an incredible 150 inches (12.5 feet) of snow from this weekend's storm! Other totals include 80" at Kirkwood and 73" at Tahoe. For more on this storm, check out our news story on and Ken Clark's blog.

In addition, Mammoth gusted to 164 mph yesterday, according to the NWS. The data is a little suspicious because the sustained winds dropped out and were low during much of the period, but the NWS also says that Alpine Meadows recorded 155 mph (with 124-mph sustained winds, equivalent to a strong Category 3 Hurricane, not bad!)

Here are some U.S. snowfall records for comparison. Amazingly, we are nowhere near them yet.

According to Chris Burt, author of "Extreme Weather", the highest snowfall in the continental U.S. include 84" at Crestview, CA in 24 hours, 129" in 3 days at Laconia, WA,* 194" (over 16 feet) in four days in Norden, CA, and 189" in 6 days at Mount Shasta, CA. *May have been broken by the 2008 Kirkwood, CA storm, but I am not sure if ski reports are considered for snow records because they sometimes estimate.

Jesse Ferrell


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About This Blog

Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.