Here’s The Alarming Amount of Ice California’s Longest Glacier Just Lost in the Heat Wave

Mount Shasta, the widely recognizable face of California’s far north, has lost almost all its defining snow cover for a second straight year.

Another summer of scorching temperatures, punctuated by the recent heat wave, has melted most of the mountain’s lofty white crown, typically a year-round symbol of the north state’s enduring wilds.

Satellite Images Show Mount Shasta’s Transformation After an Exceptionally Dry Summer

After one of its driest summers in years, satellite images show that Mount Shasta is blanketed in its signature snow once again after December storms swept across Northern California.

The images show the mountain nearly entirely devoid of snow in early September, after a very hot summer for the region compounded the lack of snowpack after two severely dry winters, dissipating the snowpack earlier than normal. Just four months later, the mountain appeared transformed, covered in snow once again.

Mount Shasta is Nearly Snowless, a Rare Event That is Helping Melt the Mountain’s Glaciers

Deep in the northern California wilderness, nestled among rolling hills and magnificent pines, the Mount Shasta volcano towers above the landscape as a lone sentinel beckoning to those around it. Rising to 14,179 feet, Shasta is one of the tallest mountains in the Lower 48. Given its height, snow cover is common year-round, especially after a snowy season or two. It is home to some of the largest glaciers in California and includes at least seven glaciers, some named after Native Americans in the 1800s. This year is testing the theory that snow and ice will always be found on Shasta.

Mount Shasta Hasn’t Been So Bare of Snow in Years. Is This the New Normal?

Mount Shasta has long symbolized the grandeur of California’s far north, its muscular flanks and thick cover of snow an enduring expression of nature’s bounty.

But this summer, the north state’s tallest peak is looking a little frail. Its slopes are drab and dusty, and most of the snow has melted away. Locals say they haven’t seen the mountain so barren in years, if not decades.