Sunday, May 27, 2012

On top of the world... or at least New England

Here I am measuring the wind  on the summit of Mount Washington today. It was a rare day with visibility over 70 miles as you can see (ValleyWX pic). 

I have taken the weather show on the road again, this time not too far from home, in New Hampshire. Today I went to the top of Mount Washington to visit the Weather Observatory. At 6288 feet, Mt Washington is the highest peak in New England. The weather can be downright treacherous, but on this day it was near perfect. The sun was shinning and the wind was light, by Mt W standards. Remember this was the location of one of the strongest wind gusts in the world, 231 mph in April 1934.
The wind regularly surpasses 100 mph, and temperatures are often below -18C (0F). On this day the temperature was 24C (76F) at the base, and 10C (50F) at the summit, relatively mild for a place where snow has fallen every month of the year. The wind speed at 12:50pm was 28 mph gusting to 36mph producing a windchill of 4C (40F). It was a thrill to climb the 8 mile Auto Road with our guide Mike. The location is a must see for anyone who is interested in weather. You can drive it yourself or save your brakes and your breakfast (the road is very narrow) and take one of the "coaches" or well equipped vans. Coaches have been carrying visitors up to the summit since 1861. At the time it was a horse and carriage but that has thankfully evolved. How lucky were we to have sunshine? Each year fog and clouds limit the visibility on over 300 days, most times under 1 mile. Today the visibility was over 70 miles allowing us to see all the way to Mount Orford in southern Quebec. More tomorrow when I head south to the Atlantic coast.
Locally across southern Quebec and New England, strong thunderstorms may fire up again by late Monday. On Friday night 2 tornadoes occurred northwest of Montreal. It will be an unsettled week as a warm front remains over the region.
Tropical storm Beryl is nearing the coast with 70 mph winds at this hour. Heavy rain, power outages and coastal flooding are likely tonight into Monday from South Carolina to northern Florida.

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