Mt. Washington observed a record-breaking snowfall in June 2023, setting a new monthly record with 21.34 cm (8.4 inches) of snow halfway through the month.
With half of the month still to go, Mt. Washington has already marked the snowiest June on record. As of Tuesday, June 13, 2023, a remarkable 21.34 cm (8.4 inches) of snow has settled on the peak, with 10.67 cm (4.2 inches) coming down on June 7 alone. This is a notable increase from the average, according to Accuweather meteorologist Dan Pydynowski. The mountain has had a mean of 3.3 cm (1.3 inches) for the whole month since records began 91 years ago.
The year 2023 has so far proven to be a year of climatic extremes for Mt. Washington, known for having the “world’s worst weather”. In February, local authorities advised hikers to stay away from the peak as the summit of the 1 917 m (6 288-foot) mountain experienced wind chills plummeting to -78 °C (-108 °F). This marked the coldest ever recorded on earth, with the National Weather Service alerting that the troposphere could temporarily dip below the summit of the mountain. This means the top of the mountain was located in the stratosphere.
Jay Broccolo, the director of weather operations at the Mount Washington Observatory, gave a stark warning to hikers prior to the storm. He explained that exposure to such extreme cold could cause rapid body heat loss. Even taking a glove off could lead to a loss of movement in fingers within a minute as the body pulls blood away from extremities to preserve warmth.
In a Facebook post, the Mount Washington Observatory pointed out that while the volume is unusual, some snow in June is not unprecedented for Mt. Washington. The last snowstorm of the season generally occurs towards the beginning or middle of the month. However, Mt. Washington has experienced cold temperatures and occasional snowflakes throughout the year. This has, unfortunately, proved fatal for unprepared visitors. Hikers have succumbed to hypothermia on Mt. Washington and in the surrounding Presidential Range as late as August.
1 Mount Washington records snowiest June in 91 years of recordkeeping – AccuWeather – June 13, 2023
Featured image credit: Mount Washington Observatory
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