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View Full Version : The Mt. Washington of the West



treant985
09-06-2007, 10:03 AM
I recall an earlier discussion about other places that might have a combination of bad weather like Mt. Washington does. Here's a good candidate: White Mountain, in California.

They had 25 years' worth of data online (1955-1980, but I think they've got more that just hasn't been entered), so I compared their averages and extremes to what they show on the MWO page.

Since they're at about 14500 feet, they tend to have slightly warmer winters but cooler summers:

MWO: MOUNT WASHINGTON, NH
WM: WHITE MOUNTAIN, CA

average highs:
Jan: MWO 14.0; WM: 23.2
Feb: MWO 14.8; WM: 23.0
Mar: MWO 21.3; WM: 24.4
Apr: MWO 29.4; WM: 28.3
May: MWO 41.6; WM: 36.2
Jun: MWO 50.3; WM: 46.4
Jul: MWO 54.1; WM: 54.2
Aug: MWO 53.0; WM: 53.0
Sep: MWO 46.1; WM: 47.6
Oct: MWO 36.4; WM: 39.9
Nov: MWO 27.6; WM: 30.9
Dec: MWO 18.5; WM: 25.6
YEAR: MWO 33.9; WM: 36.2

average lows:
Jan: MWO -3.7; WM: 7.7
Feb: MWO -1.7; WM: 6.7
Mar: MWO 5.9; WM: 6.8
Apr: MWO 16.4; WM: 9.9
May: MWO 29.5; WM: 18.7
Jun: MWO 38.5; WM: 28.7
Jul: MWO 43.3; WM: 36.4
Aug: MWO 42.1; WM: 35.5
Sep: MWO 34.6; WM: 30.0
Oct: MWO 24.0; WM: 22.9
Nov: MWO 13.6; WM: 14.7
Dec: MWO 1.7; WM: 9.5
YEAR: MWO 20.4; WM: 19.2

record lows:
Jan: MWO -47; WM: -25
Feb: MWO -46; WM: -21
Mar: MWO -38; WM: -35
Apr: MWO -20; WM: -19
May: MWO -2; WM: -15
Jun: MWO 8; WM: 2
Jul: MWO 24; WM: 12
Aug: MWO 20; WM: 13
Sep: MWO 9; WM: -5
Oct: MWO -5; WM: -20
Nov: MWO -20; WM: -28
Dec: MWO -46; WM: -30

This previous chart is one where the sample size makes more strict comparison difficult, but White Mountain still has some very interesting readings. Those lows at White Mountain for May, June, and July are the lowest confirmed by any site in the lower 48 for those months.

I don't know what their average annual snowfall is (my data just lists it day-by-day, and I didn't feel like summing 365 cells 25 different times, but I'll do it if anyone has to have it). So I compared their records for 24-hour snowfalls instead:

Jan: MWO 24.0; WM 30
Feb: MWO 49.3; WM 38
Mar: MWO 27.4; WM 16
Apr: MWO 27.2; WM 38
May: MWO 22.2; WM 26
Jun: MWO 5.1; WM 15
Jul: MWO 1.1; WM 12
Aug: MWO 2.5; WM 5
Sep: MWO 7.7; WM 12
Oct: MWO 25.7; WM 19
Nov: MWO 25.0; WM 12
Dec: MWO 37.5; WM 44

Especially in this previous chart should the difference between sample sizes be evident, since WhiteMountain has 25 years' worth of data, while Mt. Washington has about 75. But White Mountain's elevation helps it win out here for most months; check out that 12 inches in 24 hours in July!

And, finally, the wind data. Of course, almost nowhere has the constant winds like MWO has for much of the year, but White Mountain has been recording wind data for (only) the last 3 years or so: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/wea_monsum2Et.pl?stn=wmtn&mon=09&yea=07 .

Their highest wind over that time was 141.2 MPH, on April 16, 2006. They don't list average wind speed for all of the months, so here are their peak gusts for each month, over the last 3 years:

Jan: 129.9 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 173)
Feb: 127.1 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 166)
Mar: 132.7 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 180)
Apr: 141.2 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 231)
May: 98.8 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 164)
Jun: 130.6 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 136)
Jul: 72.9 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 154)
Aug: 99.5 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 142)
Sep: 90.4 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 174)
Oct: 92.5 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 161)
Nov: 133.4 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 163)
Dec: 117.2 mph (MWO's ALL-TIME RECORD: 178)

I don't know what conditions their anemometer is in, but it is a research station, so it seems like they'd place it correctly. It would be interesting to see what numbers White Mountain would put up over a 75 year stretch, so we could compare it more directly with Mt. Washington.

OK, that's the temps, snowfall, and some wind data. I think that the two mountains are very similar in their climate.

treant985
09-06-2007, 10:05 AM
For anyone interested, you can check White Mountain's current weather at: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=vef&sid=wmsrs&num=16800&raw=0&dbn=m . I think they update it every 10 minutes or so.

Bill O
09-06-2007, 10:19 AM
Thanks for sharing.

I bet White Mountain doesn't spend much time in the clouds like MWN. They probably have month long stretches with nothing but clear skies

Don't forget. White is also over 6 degrees farther south than MWN.

treant985
09-06-2007, 10:36 AM
Here's one thing I missed: it appears that the data from 1955-1980 was taken at about 12500 feet, but the wind speed data (and current info at that link I provided) is at a different station around 14250 feet.

treant985
09-06-2007, 10:41 AM
Also, the distance from the White Mountain, CA, research station is just 111 miles from the research station at Death Valley, CA. Amazing that only 111 miles separate the hottest spot in the country from one of the coldest (esp. in the summer months).