The Little Tahoma
Weather Facts and Figures
Annual average precipitation at Longmire: 87"
Average annual snowfall at Paradise: 635"
Maximum snowfall at Paradise in one year: 1122", winter 1971-1972
Minimum snowfall at Paradise in one year: 313", winter 1939-1940
Average summer low/high temperatures:
Weather at Mount Rainier is strongly influenced by elevation and the Pacific Ocean. It is characterized by mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers. If you're lucky, you'll visit on a sunny day, but be prepared for rain!
Why does it rain and snow so much at Mount Rainier? Air masses containing lots of moisture usually move from the Pacific Ocean, only 100 miles away, and travel toward Mount Rainier. When they reach the Mountain, they begin to rise along its slopes, and become much cooler. Cool air is unable to store as much moisture as warm air, and the moisture begins to fall toward the ground as rain or snow. Then the lighter, dryer clouds soar over the mountain and continue moving eastward across the continent. The east side of the mountain is much dryer than the western, rainy side, and eastern Washington is much dryer than western Washington.
Some people say that Mount Rainier makes its own weather. Because it stands very high and is separated from other mountains, it does experience very different weather from nearby areas. Paradise, on the south side of the Mountain, is famous for the amount of snow that falls--an average of 52 feet each year! Clouds often collect around the peak forming a cap on the summit. These clouds are often shaped like lenses, and are called lenticular clouds. They indicate strong winds at the summit.