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Mount Washington records fourth-snowiest April ever

Union Leader Correspondent

May 06. 2018 9:32PM
This April was the fourth-snowiest on record at the Mount Washington Observatory. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

NORTH CONWAY — With 69 inches of snow, April 2018 was the fourth-snowiest April on record at the Mount Washington Observatory.

Snow atop the Rock Pile is a regular occurrence, said Tom Padham, a meteorologist and weather observer at MOWBS. He said the observatory, founded in 1932, tracks snowfall from July 1 to June 30.

“We’ll see how much more we can get in the months of May and June, but for the season we are at 344 inches of snow while our average is about 280 inches, so we’re 60 inches above average,” said Padham. The all-time record for snowfall is 566 inches, which fell over the winter of 1968-1969.

“Last year we were at 401 inches, so we actually had a pretty good winter,” said Padham, “and the year before, it was very much the opposite, with 219 inches of snow.”

The least-snowy winter at MWOBS was that of 1940-1941, when 122 inches of snow fell, said Padham.

April’s snowfall is significant, he said, but well short of the all-time high of 111 inches for the month in 1988.

Known as the “home of the world’s worst weather,” the summit of the tallest peak in the Northeast saw some notable extremes in 2018. Those included a so-called polar vortex, which Padham said resulted in an air temperature of 38 degrees below zero on Jan. 6, with a windchill of 97 below.

The temperature meant that Mount Washington on that date was the second-coldest place on earth, a mere two degrees warmer than Yakutsk, Russia, and Eureka, Nunavut.

“And just the next month, we tied an all-time winter-season high at 48 degrees on Feb. 21,” Padham continued, matching a temperature set on Jan. 13, 2013.

The latter part of February was also memorable at the observatory because it was among the first times during the 2018 meteorological winter — December through February — that there was little to no snow on the ground.

Padham, who has worked at the observatory for five years, said that was “pretty unusual.”

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