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Why are so many of the world's snowiest places in North America's Pacific Northwest?
The relatively mild Pacific Northwest experiences west-to-east weather patterns; storms strike the region frequently and winter happens to be the wettest season.
After air travels across the Pacific Ocean, it hits the coast filled with moisture, and encounters the Cascade Mountains. The air is forced up the range where it quickly cools down and drops the moisture.
Still, questions remain: what about snowfall on ranges that would seem to experience extraordinary totals, like the Himalayas, Alps or Andes? Many of these regions do not have measurement devices in place to gather reliable data.
Gathering snowfall data is a tricky business; complications include snowflakes drifting in the wind and snow collecting and freezing on the rim of the collection container, which prevents complete accumulation. Some devices are believed to collect only 20 percent of snowfall.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will be deploying new and hopefully improved snow gauges at 15 spots across the globe, however it will miss a number of important snowfall regions, including the Himalayas.