Spring is Coming

2017-05-25 15:20:07.000 – Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

 

After seeing over 30″ of new snow on our last shift two weeks ago, it’s become much more apparent that spring is just around the corner across the high peaks of New England this week. On our way up the road on Wednesday, the very first alpine flowers of the season were starting to bloom near treeline at 4,000 feet. This is about the lowest point that we see these alpine flowers, which grow generally above 4,000 feet in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and then are found in much more abundance across the arctic and subarctic nearly 1,000 miles to our north in Canada.
 
 
These flowers are a vestige from the last Ice Age, when arctic tundra extended just south of the ice caps that covered much of New England. As the ice began to melt out and retreat north, so too did the arctic vegetation. Because of this the alpine flowers here give us a window into the climate of the arctic and also our past much closer to home. 
 
These rare flowers only bloom for a few short weeks here in the Presidential Range, and will likely be at their peak through about mid-June. The Alpine Garden, located just to the east of the summit on a plateau at 5,000 feet is especially beautiful this time of year. With the summit buildings now open to the public daily, now is a great time to plan your visit to Mount Washington!
 

 

Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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