View Full Version : Worst weather than MWO

02-14-2009, 11:57 AM
We all know there are some places out there with worse weather than MWO, but usually they don't have enough observations for us to make any real comparison.

However, I've been in contact with some people at the Univ. of AK in Fairbanks, who, in conjunction with a Japanese mountain-climbing team, have been operating a weather station on Mt. McKinley at 18,733 ft. It has recorded temps since the early 1990s and had some reliable wind data from the 2003-2004 season. They also have some more-recent data that I went through about a week ago but it doesn't change any of the following marks.

Anyway, given its high elevation and being so far north, their readings are amazing. Here's what I've summarized:

It now holds the national record for lowest temp recorded in 9 of the 12 months:

Apr: -55.8F (4/16/1994)
May: -45.2F (5/1/1999)
Jun: -26.7F (6/1/1995)
Jul: -22.9F (7/7/1993)
Aug: -34.8F (8/28/1998)
Sep: -39.5F (9/17/1993 & 9/26/1999)
Oct: -52.8F (10/30/1999)
Nov: -74.6F (11/29/2003)
Dec: -75.5F (12/1/2003)

They also had reliable wind readings for the 2003-2004 season, which is pretty lucky because that includes the cold stretch over late Nov and early Dec 2003 when they hit their lowest temp readings.

This results in a new North American windchill record (beating Pelly Bay's -110F). McKinley's lowest windchill values were:

-118.1F: 11/30/2003 (715AM, -74.38F, 18.42MPH)
-118.1F (slightly warmer than the one above): 11/30/2003 (615AM, -74.2F, 18.59MPH)
-117.7F: 11/30/2003 (545AM, -74.38F, 17.96MPH)
-117.4F: 11/30/2003 (745AM, -74.02F, 18.11MPH)
-116.1F: 11/30/2003 (515AM, -74.20F, 16.53MPH)
-115.5F: 11/30/2003 (645AM, -74.38F, 15.79MPH)
-115.2F: 01/08/2004 (215AM, -52.96F, 81.35MPH)
-115.2F: 03/19/2004 (245PM, -54.58F, 71.61MPH)

Between 745am on 1/7/2004 and 845am on 1/8/2004, the windchill was below -100F continuously for 25 hours. They had another stretch of 25 hours below -100F from 815am on 3/19/2004 to 915am on 3/20/2004.

Another windchill of note: -59.2F in JULY! On 7/18/2003, the temp was -18.4F with a wind of 57.77mph.

The HIGHEST reliable temperature reading that they reached over this entire stretch was +28F, on July 1, 1992.

I took out all of the clearly erroneous readings (80 degrees at 18733 ft), as well as the ones that were just gibberish code. Anyway, the average annual temp was right at -22F! Certainly beats Barrow (which is around +10F IIRC) as the next-coldest annual spot!

I compared the extreme readings with surrounding readings to make sure that I wasn't just capturing a single erroneous recording or something.

If they had wind instruments that could last longer in such conditions, we'd have even more amazing wind chill readings.

So who wants to volunteer to go man this station?

02-14-2009, 12:45 PM
Um, I'll pass on that!

02-14-2009, 04:36 PM
I second that motion!! BRRRRR:D

02-14-2009, 04:43 PM
I expected the year-round temps to be very cold, but the summer readings into the -20F's still surprised me. And those weren't fluky events, either. A lot of days were well below zero in the middle of July.

Plus, typically in AK, the coldest temps are in the valleys during the winters. I didn't expect to find a -75F reading from a mtn, but of course once you get so high up, it gets a lot easier to reach such ridiculous temps.

Bill O
02-14-2009, 10:01 PM
Honestly, the wind chill data is not worth talking about. As you probably know my feeling on windchill.

The climbing season pretty much ends in early July, but in May and June -40F is not uncommon among climbers. Apparently, -40F isn't common at all in June. I'm surprised because many people erroneously report -40F temps in June. I trust the weather station over the climbers.

Thanks for sharing. I've never seen this data, although I was aware of this weather station.

06-24-2009, 09:42 AM
Acuweather had it right Were in the midst of a noreaster, with rain and wind all day long, rather than the afternoon thunderstorms usual for this time of year. Im wearing long pants and a sweater, as the temperature is only in the low 60s here in NE FL. Orlando is usually about 10 degrees warmer, so not as cold, but not hot, either.

This weather is predicted to continue until the weekend, and there may even be a subtropical depression buliding off of Cuba. If it develops into a storm, it will be named Anna.

Again, this is very unusual weather for this time of year. I feel as if Im back in RI.

OP, sorry about your trip.