Summer Heat?

2010-09-06 22:25:38.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Does our summers heat stack up like these clouds?

In June, I predicted to my coworkers that this summer would break our stations all time high temperature of 72F. It seemed realistic at the time. Long term models showed several high temperatures that had us in the 70s. But as the days progressed and those once distant temperatures moved closer and closer, the maximum temperatures would slowly nudge back down to below the 70 degree bar. June passed, and nothing. July passed, and nothing. And then August passed, normally our warmest month up here, and after doing this months check, I can say, still nothing. We came close to the 70F bar with a high of 69F in July but we never quite crossed the line. And now that we are in September with the highest temperature for the month ever at 69F, a new all time high temperature seems out of the question. And for this, I am thankful. Not because it would mean a new number to memorize but because it would be a lot of paper work and website alterations as well as poking the flames of the general public’s general misunderstanding of how climate change works. So, problem averted, at least here.

So, we didn’t set an all time high record but how do we stand with temperatures overall? I have been reading several articles about all the heat this summer and some of the records it is setting both in the US and abroad. Just google “hottest summer on record” or a particular month and you’ll see what I mean. However, for the summit station of Mount Washington, although we have been warm, it is not our hottest summer on record. June’s average temperature was +0.1 degrees above normal, July was +3.0 above normal and August was +0.8 above normal. These were warmer than last years departures of -0.9, -2.6, and +1.7 for the three months. But back in 2008, we saw +3.2, +2.3, and -0.5 for the three months. So, 2010’s summer wasn’t record setting in the least. Since our weather records are still a work in progress as far as digitizing goes, I can’t quickly look up what summer was our warmest. But, I can clearly say this summer wasn’t the hottest since it wasn’t even the first or second hottest in the past decade.

So we weren’t exceptionally hot but how did we fare in other aspects? For monthly maximums, June saw 62F, July saw 69F (the only daily record high that was set for the three months), and August saw 62F. Monthly minimums saw 29F in June, 32F in July and 30F in August. As far as precipitation, we had 56 (out of 92) days with rain and 8 days with snow (mostly falling as hail). Snowfall for the three months (again, most of it falling as hail) totaled 0.6 inches, -0.5 inches below normal. Precipitation (rain + melted snowfall) totaled 22.32 inches over the three months putting us -2.14 inches below normal. Winds were above normal all three months with June being +2.4, July +3.2, and August +3.0 mph above normal. Each month saw less than 30% of their possible sunshine minutes. There were only 2 (of the 92) days that were defined as being “clear” up here. Of the remaining 90 days, only 12 were partly cloudy with the remaining 78 days defined as cloudy or completly obscured. And every single day saw some amount of fog.

So, the summer of 2010 on Mt Washington, NH could be summarized as being warmer than normal, drier than normal, windier than normal, and cloudy/foggy. It wasn’t record breaking (apart from the one daily high). It wasn’t exceptionally high or low in any aspects really. It was a bland summer and won’t really be anything memorable for us as far as weather goes. But weather isn’t what always makes this place memorable. It is the sights you see, the people you meet, and the connection we all have with the weather up here that sears this summer and this summit to memory. And I am looking forward to the coming months to see what new people and events will come my way that will continue to make this place so memorable to me and my coworkers. Cause, if I’ve learned anything up here, no two days (like snowflakes) are ever alike.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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