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Mt. Washington's Year of Records

It's no secret that New England's highest point can experience some intense weather. Every weather event that moves through New England is exaggerated to an extreme degree at the summit of Mount Washington. In 2023, there have been some interesting weather events and patterns. This has led to several new records that will have 2023 next to them.

Photo: Mt. Washington Observatory

First off, back in February, New England was struck by an extreme (albeit very short-lived) arctic blast. A very strong cold front dropped into the region, leading to the coldest temperatures many areas in New England had seen in years. Boston experienced its coldest temperature in 66 years when it dropped to -10°. On Mt. Washington, the lowest air temperature dropped to -46°, four degrees short of the all time lowest temperature ever recorded in New England (which was recorded at the Mt. Washington summit).

When the temperature struck this low, winds were gusting near 100mph. This led to an estimated wind chill of -108°. While there's no official record kept of wind chills across the United States (or world), this reading was the lowest wind chill ever reported by a weather station in the United States.

Fast forward a few months and Mt. Washington would see its second record of the year fall. In early June, a cutoff low sat around New England for over a week before finally pulling away. This led to very cool, cloudy and showery weather for New England. Of course, Mt. Washington had to take that a step further. The cool, showery weather down here translated to cold, snowy weather up there. 8.4 inches of snow fell by June 10, making June 2023 the snowiest June on record. This particular record dates back to 1932.

Mt. Washington observatory in June 2023. Photo: Mt. Washington Observatory

The summit would experience yet another record breaking month in July. The cutoff low in early June would be the beginning of what would become a very unsettled, wet summer for New England. This July would see nearly a foot and a half of rain fall, 17.08 inches. This would prove to be the wettest July on record. This beat the previous record of 16.85 inches in 1996. Only eight of the month's 31 days were completely rain-free.

This record July would catapult the summit toward yet another record to bear '2023' next to it. On August 9th, observatory meteorologists announced that the summer of 2023 is officially the wettest summer on record. The mountain has seen 37.85 inches as of August 9. This beats the old summer record of 37.8 inches recorded in 1998. This record will likely be smashed to pieces as rain keeps moving through New England and we still have over a month of summer to go (the first day of fall is September 23).

Those are Mt. Washington's four records that now have 2023 next to them. Being August, there's plenty of time to add more to this list.



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