2017-05-31 09:09:08.000 – Taylor Regan, Weather Observer
With the end of May in sight, and June fast approaching, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what has been a truly exceptional month. With just one day left before June storms into view, here’s a brief summary of what the weather has brought to the summit over the month of May.
Figure 1. Lenticular cloud draped over Clay Col.
As it stands, with one day remaining in the month, our average temperature is slightly below normal (1.3 degrees below to be exact), at 34.2 degrees. With the remainder of the month projected to be mostly around average, this value shouldn’t change all that much. Interestingly, this figure includes the record-breaking daily highs of 58 and 64 degrees on the 17th and 18th of the month, respectively. While overall the month has been slightly cooler than average, the fragile flora of the alpine zone have still found just enough nutrients and sunlight to begin their brief period of bloom.
Figure 2. Diapensia just beginning to bloom around 4000’.
Winds this month have averaged 30.9 mph, which is just about on par with our historical average for the month of May. We’ve also seen winds breach the 100 mph mark, with a gust to 102 on the 3rd of May. On May 13-15, the “Mother’s Day Storm” brought a record breaking 33.3 inches of snowfall to the summit. This sets a new bar for single largest continuous period of snowfall in our history for the month of May, as well as shattering the previous 24-hour snow record for the month of May with 22.9 inches of snow falling over a continuous 24-hour period.
Figure 3. Mother’s Day wishes from the summit.
While the snow covered the summits for a few days mid-May, the staff was treated to beautiful views of sunrise and sunset, and reminders of the winter season we thought had been behind us. An interesting piece of trivia, for those who were wondering, is that the summit has seen a measureable amount of snowfall, in every month of the year. And while the snowfall total for this year’s May at 41 inches has been a bit above the average of 12.2 inches, it is still nowhere near the record monthly total of 95.8 inches set in 1997.
Figure 4. Sunset after the record breaking Mother’s Day snowstorm.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, the staff was even treated to a viewing of the Aurora Borealis to round out the month, which is quite a treat considering the perfect viewing conditions include near cloudless skies, absence of moon, an aurora, and nighttime. In fact, this viewing marks the first time in about six months that we’ve been able to glimpse the elusive Northern Lights from our perch on top of New England. Not a bad way to end the month!
Figure 5. Northern Lights and tower photo taken by Observer Ryan Knapp.
Taylor Regan, Weather Observer