The temperate rain forests of New Hampshire

2006-06-30 04:41:55.000 – Neil Lareau,  Observer

The following I suspect will not so much surprise readers in the northeast as quantify what they already know.

It has now rained on 50 of the previous 60 days. During this period 30.24 inches of liquid water have fallen from the sky onto the summit, pooling on the ground, percolating downward through the rock, and congregating in streams to be conveyed toward the ocean. That is incredible.

Having back to back months of such monsoonal rains (17.90 inches in May and 12.34” thus far in June) is on par with some of the wettest spots in the contiguous US found in the temperate rain forests of the Olympic peninsula. Of course the difference is that it is unlikely that we will continue at such at precipitous rate (pun intended) for the entire year. Still, a walk through the northern forest reveals such abundance of chlorophyll that it would be easy to mistake your local for the windward slopes of the cascade ranges.

Mount Washington averages 101.91 inches of liquid water (snow melt included) a year. During the past 12 months we have recorded 123.88 inches. This is a notable, but not a huge, departure from average.

It is also worth remembering last October when 28.70 inches of liquid water was measured on the summit breaking the all time single month precipitation record that had been set in February 1969. Most of the intervening months have seen normal or below normal precipitation.

The truly incredible fact is that single day rainfall totals from hurricanes along the Gulf Coast can nearly equal our 50 day total. At about 8 lbs to the gallon, think about the weight of water that is held aloft in such a storm.


Neil Lareau,  Observer

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