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Crater lack snow pack

A snow measuring stick at Crater Lake National Park is seen surrounded by bare ground and little snow earlier this week. At park headquarters, only 4 inches of snow cover the ground.

How dry is it?

Monday night, grass was showing outside the Steel Visitor Center at Crater Lake National Park.

Based on park records, the on-ground snow total of 4 inches at the park’s weather station Tuesday morning was the lowest in recorded history, since record keeping began in 1931. The previous record on Jan. 7 was 14 inches in 1990; while the normal on-ground total for Jan. 7 is 70 inches.

Light snow fell Tuesday, but the park measured 5 inches of new snow Wednesday, upping the on-ground total to 9 inches, still well below the average 72 inches.

More snow is predicted today but no significant accumulations are expected until Saturday when 5 to 9 inches is possible.

Park ranger Dave Grimes said the dry spell had positives.

“The good news is that our sunny skies and warm weather conspired to bring a record number of people to the park over the holidays,” Grimes said. During the holiday season, when additional ranger-guided snowshoe walks were added to those normally offered on weekends, 668 visitors took the walks.

“It’s been crazy busy,” Grimes said, noting on some days the park had enough personnel to offer three walks for 90 people.

“The walks have been really popular,” he said, noting the lake had been visible until Tuesday. “If people wanted to play, they had to come up to the park.”

Park officials said December’s snowfall, 24.4 inches, was the fourth lowest on record for the month. Most of that, 14 inches, fell Dec. 6.

“We still have five months of winter left so we might be able to catch up,” Grimes said. “Hopefully, things will pick up.”