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Mount Washington Observatory records freezing temps, snow

Winter arrives a bit early on Mount Washington.

Mount Washington Observatory employeeAdam GilMount Washington Observatory Facebook

Winter is officially three months away, but atop Mount Washington, it has already arrived.

Just as it's starting to feel like fall in New England,the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire recorded below-freezingtemperatureson Sunday.

In a post on its Facebook page, the observatory noted that day shift workers woke up to "a summit shrouded in freezing fog and coated in rime ice, with winds gusting in excess of hurricane force, and temperatures around 20°F."

The observatorysits at the 6,289-foot summit of Mount Washington,New England's highest peak.

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In a blog post on the observatory's website the night before, Mount Washington meteorologists wrote that they were in the midsts of the season's first cold snap.

Saturday night saw the coldest temperatures recorded on the summit since May 17, 131 days ago, according to the post, when it dipped to around 20 degrees.

New Englanders know that the weather here can change quickly and Mount Washington employees showed this to be true with another Facebook post Monday morning.

"It's quite astounding how quickly conditions can change on Mount Washington!" the observatory wrote.

Though milder weather returned Monday morning, employees noted that the sun showed exactly what was left behind by Sunday's stormy conditions: lots of rime ice.

Rime ice, according to the observatory,forms when "supercooled water droplets suspended in clouds, or in our case fog, freezes on contact to all exposed surfaces."

This is normal for Mount Washington, the staff wrote, where winter usually kicks off in September with the first measurable snowfall of the season.

October is technically the start of winter on Mount Washington, though, according to staff members. During that month, the summit sees an average snowfall of more than 17 inches. The first "shovel-able" snow of last year came on Oct. 18.

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