Record daily high …

2007-05-10 10:38:12.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

Hazy west view…

On April 1st of this year, the Observatory on Mount Washington reported a snow depth of zero, and in the comments remarks were made about how early this report had come. Comparisons were made to last year, when the same observations weren’t made until May 9th. Well, thanks to a great April, we are only now back down to a (second) zero snowpack, which is right in line with last year.

Dramatic snowmelt has come during this now record setting May heat wave. Today’s highest reading of 58 (so far) eclipses the old daily record of 55 degrees set in 1953. And though much of the summit snow has succumbed to the heat, and despite temperatures in the 70s and near 80 degrees along lower parts of the Mount Washington Auto Road, snow in the trees (~3000 feet) still averages around between 1 to 2 feet on the ground. And many of the area ski resorts still have noticeably white trails yet, as you can see from today’s posted pictures of Bretton Woods and Attitash.

Spring does come slowly to the Whites, but signs are now abundant, as have been mentioned on the site the last few days. In the notches, warblers are singing, and the trillium are just beginning to bloom. Shift change yesterday was accomplished in a four wheel drive truck, with minimal ice, and lots of mud. Observers made the trip in t-shirts and jeans for the first time since September.

Spring like weather is likely to take a brief hiatus during the shift, on the heels of some anticipated thunderstorms in the summits forecast. Spring in the White Mountains catches many off guard with varied trails and weather conditions. If planning on heading out during the coming days, perhaps to the summit, where State Park facilities are slated to open this weekend, be sure to pack accordingly for the likely spring hazards.

Lastly, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the ‘contraption’ on the observation deck. It’s simply an experiment from an engineering firm to test real icing load on some components of building design. The Observatory runs similar tests regularly, but few are this noticable!


Jim Salge,  Observer

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