View Full Version : Mount Washington this morning

01-14-2004, 11:02
The official low on Mt Washington this morning was -44.7, which is 2.3 degrees shy of their coldest on record since 1933. Wind chills this morning also reached -100. The nearby valley locations of Whitefield and Berlin (next to Gorham), which last week had 3 or 4 consecutive mornings in the -30 to -36 range (as well as Saranac Lake, NY), may not get that cold this week because the winds may not die down enough (although possibly Friday morning). The coldest temps to hit the northern NH valleys are normally in the center of polar high pressure with deep snow and calm winds - radiational cooling with a resulting inversion (warmer on the ridge-tops). This is why the NH state record is a valley location (around -50) instead of the summit of Washington. But as long as you have winds on the surface and aloft (pressure gradient) and the center of high pressure doesn't pass close enough over head, the coldest temps stay aloft, such as the Washington summit this morning, and possibly the rest of the week.

01-14-2004, 11:44
Boy I would hate to be caught in that. You would certainly Die!

TJ aka Teej
01-14-2004, 14:04
The official low on Mt Washington this morning was -44.7
Here's the link to the Mt Washington cam for the deck where thruhikers pose and for other cams like the North view that shows the AT going left to right. Click around for current weather, achives, photo gallery, and lots more. Great site, save it to your favs!

steve hiker
01-14-2004, 14:26
Their wind meter broke AGAIN last night. The winds picked up on Mt. Washington and the wind meter at the observatory went down. Happened about a month ago, too.

Will a world record windspeed go unrecorded because the Mt. Washington folks won't invest in a real wind meter? Sooner or later it's gonna happen, if they don't get serious about their equipment.

01-14-2004, 14:34
They've already got the record of 230 mph. Pretty tough for any instrument to stand up to that. They were real lucky the 230 mph didn't break the instrument then.

steve hiker
01-14-2004, 14:55
If we can go to the moon we can build a reliable wind meter.

steve hiker
01-14-2004, 14:58
Another thing I'm not too impressed by the -44 reading. Readings of -70 have been recorded in Wisconsin, and at 6,000 feet Mt. Washington is closer to an arctic climate than the Midwest. I expect to see readings of -80 or lower and 300+ mph winds!

01-14-2004, 15:43
Another thing I'm not too impressed by the -44 reading. Readings of -70 have been recorded in Wisconsin, and at 6,000 feet Mt. Washington is closer to an arctic climate than the Midwest. I expect to see readings of -80 or lower and 300+ mph winds!

Wisconsin's state record low is officially -54 on Jan. 24, 1922 in Danbury (elevation 908 feet). Several sources list Mt Washington's -47 in 1934 as the NH state low, but I know I've seen otherwise somewhere. I'll look into that.....

buddha small b
01-14-2004, 16:23
If you would like to read a good book on cold weather survival (while waiting for the trail to thaw) pick up a copy of Minus 148' by Art Davidson. It details their winter ascent of Mt. McKinley. brrrrr.......:sun buddha-small b

The Old Fhart
01-14-2004, 16:36
As the person who maintained the instrumentation on Mt. Washington for 4 winters I can tell you the current type of anemometer used is not the spinning 3-cup you normally see but rather a Pitot Tube with no moving parts. It is a standard jet aircraft item that uses the differential pressure to give a reading in inches of water that is converted to miles per hour. From the top of the tower to the weather room it is pneumatic (2 tubes) where it is converted to an electrical signal and then converted to an RS-232 signal that connects to a computer that logs the data and sends it to the web page. ( mountwashington.org ) The maximum wind on April 12, 1934 was 231mph and this was recorded with a very rugged rotating type anemometer. The NWS National Weather Service had to check the unit for accuracy after the big wind for it to become a record. This is why the reports of higher winds in Guam a few years ago were thrown out. The instrument could not repeat the readings and the wind was probably about 180mph.
As to the temp, the state record is, I believe, -50 and Mount Washington's record is -47. Generally when there is no wind the valleys are colder than the summit of Mount Washington as cold air settles.

steve hiker
01-14-2004, 17:07
So Old Fart why does this anemometer keep breaking? Is it the tubes that catch the wind that get knocked out or the electric signals to the computer that get scrambled?

The Old Fhart
01-14-2004, 19:50
It seems that the people who were in charge of the Observatory thought that the summit operation was a drain on the whole organization and wanted to basically run the Mount Washington Observatory as a gift shop in North Conway. They decided that I wasn't needed and I haven't been on the summit for this and the last winter seasons. All the people on the summit are non-technical and most can't use simple power tool, say nothing about understanding complex systems. Because they haven't contacted me about the problem I can't be positive what the problem is but third-hand info I've got indicate there is a heater problem in the Pitot which should be fairly simple to fix if you knew what you were doing. When I was on the summit I actually bought spare parts so the downtime could be held to a minimum and even with having to replace the pitot tube because of a defective heater we never lost any observations. While this may sound simple, to remove the pitot required the assembly to be hoisted 12 feet above the top of the tower using a specially made boom. Winds had to be less than 20mph and milder temps.
Many of us who had worked on the summit are extremely frustrated, as a lot of you are, at the problems and the questionable data from makeshift temporary fixes. There is a chance that things may improve and some of the research scientists who were driven away will return if they see an atmosphere (puns are my specialty) friendly to research.

01-15-2004, 09:40
On days like this, I can't help but wonder what happened to global warming. :confused:

Flash Hand
01-17-2004, 02:36
On days like this, I can't help but wonder what happened to global warming. :confused:

its only a politicans gameplan trying to win election.....

Flash Hand :jump

01-17-2004, 09:21
Either the Weather channel or Fox News yesterday said it was even colder up north than on the planet Mars!

Hmmmm...The weather commentaters never say anything but I wonder how our Canadian cousins to the north are taking it because it must be brutal for them. They are easy to spot down here in Florida though because when the daytime temperatures drop to the 50's you'll see the Floridians tanned and bundled up, while the Canadians are all white and frolicking in the surf :jump
A hardy bunch.