Signs of Spring

2019-04-19 15:30:09.000 – Thomas Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


 Photos taken by Weather Observer Ryan Knapp of the progression of our melting snow pack ahead of the weekend rain. 

Signs of spring are finally working their way into the surrounding valleys here of northern New England, with most of our snow melted here in the North Conway area. Spring birds have been here for the last few weeks, and we even had a few sightings here on the summit of Mount Washington! With rain currently falling as of this writing and temperatures in the 40s, it makes us wonder: are we done with the snow here on the summit?
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker photographed on the summit by intern Chloe Boehm April 8th, 2019

Although snow can fall any month of the year on the mountain (and it has over 1” even in June-August) we typically do not see any snow from very early June through the middle of September. Some years this season can be far longer, and taking a look at the longer range models there isn’t much in the way of snow on the horizon. Things could certainly change in May (I’ve witnessed nearly 3 feet of snow from a storm Mother’s Day 2017) so we’ll absolutely keep our Eastern Mountain Sports winter gear handy!

This weekend’s rain and warmth will likely leave the immediate summit with just patches of snow and ice leftover. Due to our high winds this isn’t too out of the ordinary, most of our snowfall settles lower down on sheltered portions of the mountain. In the Great Gulf and Tuckerman Ravine in particular there is still plenty of snow, and this will remain the case through at least early June unless we see a very rainy and warm May.

 Our next chance for at least some wintry precipitation will be Wednesday-Thursday next week, although details are likely to change in the coming days. Image courtesy of Tropical Tidbits.

In the shorter term, after the weekend rain and warmth another system tracks across the area Tuesday through Thursday, with temperatures likely falling just below freezing and at least some mixed precipitation. Snow totals will be pretty meager due borderline temperatures and also the thermal profile favoring sleet or freezing rain over snow at this time. Sometime the following weekend, April 27th-28th there is also the potential for some snow above roughly 4,000 feet. At this point we’re really getting ahead of ourselves though. The big picture message is there doesn’t appear to be any more major winter-like storms on the horizon through the end of the month, and what snow we do see here on the summit likely won’t substantially add or rebuild our summit snow pack. April looks to be our first real spring-like month for the mountains of New England!


Thomas Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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