PDA

View Full Version : World's Worst Weather



Bill O
04-21-2007, 12:06 PM
There's a fairly heated debated unfolding over on another forum discussing the validity of Mount Washington's famous claim: Home of the World's Worst Weather.

http://viewsfromthetop.com/index-vftt.html

While there is quite a bit of passion there seems to be little factual evidence against Mount Washington.

So, my challenge, if its not Mount Washington then who has the world's worst weather?

Remember, altitude is not a factor in weather. In fact, higher altitudes only diminish the force of the wind. Also, spare me the cold arguments. My freezer is really cold but its not in the running for worlds' worst weather.

Mike D
04-21-2007, 07:57 PM
Wow, the thread on VFFT has been running since September!

You can compare average temperatures from one place to another, but how does one weigh temperature with, say, wind speed? There's no formula that factors the several components of weather to quantify its badness. So the claim "home of the world's worst weather" is a subjective one, but a defensible one nevertheless.

There's a great deal of nuance to weather severity. For instance, a 100 MPH wind on Mt Washington would be far more powerful than the same wind at Everest base camp, which would itself be more powerful than the same wind on Everest summit. Why? Lower altitude means higher pressure. Higher pressure means more air molecules beating against you. It's like the difference between standing in front of a garden hose and one of those pitching machines... kind of.

Even if you could plug wind speed, air pressure, and temperature (etc) into a formula to calculate "weather", would you use calculus to factor in rates of change? July 2, 2004 had a peak gust of 124 MPH, which isn't that spectacular for a place that has hurricane force wind 100+ days each year. What made July 2, 2004 so special was that the average speed before and after was about 50 MPG. The gust came out of nowhere. It's hard enough comparing the peaks and the norms, getting from one to the other is a big part of the big weather picture.

Of course, we aren't counting the weather in places we don't measure it. What about thunderstorm junction on Mt Adams? What about Rainier or Denali or Everest? What about an arbitrary spot in the middle of Antarctica? Saharan Africa?

The designation "home of the world's worst weather" is anthropocentric for sure, but you sticklers can tack on "that we know of". Try to fit that on a t-shirt, okay? :-)

freehill
04-22-2007, 01:00 PM
Not the answer but maybe a cool tidbit.
When I went up the auto road this winter on a guided tour the
women driving told us that a film crew was working on a story
of Bad weather on Mt. Everest and after 2 weeks of calm days they
desended Everest without wild weather on film from Everest.
So the crew finished up the film by going up Mt Washington and filming the Crazy weather on Mt Washington and edited it on the Everest story.
So long story short, a story of Mt Everest has Mt Washington footage
of the poor weather on Mt Everest. Funny?
I just thought it was a cool true story.
See ya On Tux Tomorrow!
Rick

Bill O
04-22-2007, 02:18 PM
Not the answer but maybe a cool tidbit. When I went up the auto road this winter on a guided tour the women driving told us that a film crew was working on a story of Bad weather on Mt. Everest and after 2 weeks of calm days they desended Everest without wild weather on film from Everest. So the crew finished up the film by going up Mt Washington and filming the Crazy weather on Mt Washington and edited it on the Everest story. So long story short, a story of Mt Everest has Mt Washington footage of the poor weather on Mt Everest. Funny? I just thought it was a cool true story.See ya On Tux Tomorrow!
Rick

Yeah, it was the Everest Imax movie. Quite a bit of it was filmed on Mount Washington.

Is anybody ready to challenge me on who has worse weather than Mount Washington?

Patrad Fischroy
04-23-2007, 09:12 AM
Of course the "world's worst weather" moniker is relative at best. Judging by some taglines that I see on this forum, some would consider Maui's constant 70's with abundant sunshine to be the "worst" weather ever.
So, Bill, I won't take up your challange, but I will continue to pine for the summit of Mt Washington. The important thing about this place is that I belong there, and as a member. I support it. As do all of you as well. We have a pretty good community here, and the summit responds by allowing us to live there vicariously with up-to-the-minute news and condition reports. There are very few other places on this planet that combine severe weather with the continuous reporting that I for one enjoy.

To close this, I would like to add my words of thanks to all that work on the summit (as well as the the supporting staff that keep it going), and to everyone else that supports the effort via memberships or grants or sponsorships.

grouseking
04-23-2007, 12:07 PM
Hello everyone. I normally frequent the VFtT board, but when someone mentioned that a thread was started here about the same subject, I thought I'd chime in. Honestly, I don't really have much to say that would add to the argument right now, because I'm probably talking to many people who think MWN indeed has the worst weather in America, if not the world.

But I have a question. A poster on VFtT said he couldn't understand how a place could have the worst weather in the world but not the worst climate in the world, because I agreed with him that the averages may not show the most harsh climate. But thats the thing...they are averages, and sometimes stats don't tell the whole picture. Over and over, I stressed that the incredible variability of the weather on MWN is what makes it special. It's like the mountain has mood swings, good weather one minute, and horrible weather the next. I also said that the strong, almost persistent wind is what puts MWN as a front runner for worst weather. The summit gusted to 156 mph last week....that's pretty insane!

So what do you, the observers think? I don't think its biased to go right to the source.

grouseking

Bill O
04-23-2007, 12:31 PM
I think the weather vs. climate argument was a little over used. But here is my simple explanation:

The South Pole has a very harsh climate for humans to live in, but they have very little weather. Light winds, few storms, no precipitation. Kauai has a very favorable climate for humans but every so often they get horrible weather, like hurricane Iniki.

I'm not sure that helped much, it didn't really help me.

Wind is obviously a big part of the argument, but you can't forget the riming.

But what are some other contenders? Maybe the Olympic Mountains in Washington? Extreme precip, riming, wind, fog. They don't have the cold though. I bet it rarely drops below 0F in those mountains.

The coastal mountains in Alaska? Scottish Highlands?

kev
04-23-2007, 12:51 PM
The coastal mountains in Alaska? Scottish Highlands?

A few more... I suspect that the worst conditions on Katahdin are at least equal to the worst on Washington. I also suspect the Torngats, located on the Quebec/Labrador border, are far more severe than Washington.

treant985
04-23-2007, 01:35 PM
Mt. Washington may be one of the few places in the world that has a combination of very strong winds, cold temperatures, and abundant snow...but I don't think that that necessarily implies it has the worst weather.

I guess, in terms of consistency and variability of bad weather, Mt. Washington may be the top that we know of, although it is an oddity in that it's an extreme location whose weather is constantly monitored.

For me, I guess it's less about 'weather' than the 'outdoors experience.' I know you said to ignore places that are just cold and nothing else...but I still think that, if I had to choose, I'd take a day on MWO during some of the worst conditions than a cold winter day at Vostok, Antarctica. Remember, the coldest wind chill I could find from MWO was about -95F; Vostok reaches that temp several times a year, without wind factored in. It's a rare place whose temps are so cold that their usual lack of wind still makes feel them colder than MWO ever gets. Granted, standing in -95F isn't the same as standing in -40 with a wind that makes it feel -95F, but I don't think the difference is such that you can just write-off places that are extremely cold. Again, even though they don't get much snow, they've got more of it on the ground than MWO ever has had, so it whips up just like MWO's does. Factor in that a lot of Antarctic stations have never been above 0F, and it makes the year-round 'outdoors experience' much less agreeable than on MWO.

So, Antarctica outdoors is really very similar to MW outdoors, despite different "weather" conditions. Antarctica's temps are unimaginably colder than MWO's...but Antarctica has less winds during a normal day; the wind/temp combination (which I see as more important than just wind or just temps) still gives Antarctica the advantage. MWO gets more snow, but Antarctica's got more on the ground to get whipped up and sink into, so it's kind of like green apples and red apples (not apples & oranges). Again, not all of these are strictly considered "weather," but what's the point of having the world's worst weather if the outside conditions are worse somewhere else?

It doesn't have to do with weather, but the sun does only rise and set once a year at the South Pole, which I think is enough by itself to make it the worst place in the world to live, even without the -90F temps.

I'm currently reading Scott's journals about his one-way trip to the South Pole, so I'm a little biased right now towards Antarctica.

treant985
04-23-2007, 01:47 PM
Thinking outside the box, I'd also include places in Morocco and Libya. They've got temps hotter than MW is cold, and they rarely get rainfall, and I don't think they get winds either (which of course would help it feel cooler). Their weather just never changes (which I say makes their weather even worse), which is pretty bad when it's already the hottest and one of the driest places in the world.

KD Talbot
04-23-2007, 05:51 PM
I'm not going to argue about whether MW has the worst weather or not. I want to talk about the worst weather I have experienced in my life, and then you can decide if MW is worse. While in the USAF I was stationed in Panama for close to 3 years. I don't know exactly how close to the equator Howard AFB was, but pretty close. An average day the temps would be 95 to 100 with no wind and humidity you wouldn't believe. From February to November it would be like this. Everyday the humidity would build into brutal thunderstorms with rain so heavy I can't describe it. Think of the hardest rain you've ever seen in New England and imagine it raining twice as hard or harder. Think of the worst thunderstorm you've seen in the northeast and multiply it many times. The lightning was like being in a room with a dozen strobe lights going off every few seconds. The thunder was like explosions going off around you. Then, just as quickly as it started, it would stop, the sun would come out, many times there would be an unbelievable double rainbow, and the whole process would start all over again. The wet ground and pavement would steam from the blistering heat, the steam would rise, the clouds would form, and in a few hours there would be a dark sky, the lightning would flash, you could here the approaching thunder, and the rain would start all over again. This went on every day for ten months out of the year. The grass would grow ten feet high, the jungle would grow so thick no human being could penetrate it, and then in December the rain would stop. For the next 2 months everything would dry out like when the leaves all turn brown and fall to the ground here. It would be so dry that this burnt vegetation would just combust, and we'd spend the next 8 weeks rushing from one brush fire to the next, trying to keep the base from burning. Now maybe my brain has exagerated my memories over the past 25 years since I've been stationed there, but what I have written is true to what I remember. To this day I can't stand the hot weather, and instead of being out in the 85 degree spring weather we're having here in southern NH today, I'm sitting in my nice cool basement tapping this out for your disbelief. Now to me, that was "The world's worst weather". I hated not having the 4 seasons. I'll take wind, ice and snow over that. Not necessarily the extremes we see on MW, but I prefer winter to the heat, humidity, bugs, scorpions and snakes I dealt with in Panama. So I guess it's all your point of view as to what the "worlds worst weather" is.
KDT

TEX
05-03-2007, 01:40 PM
I think the people in Oklahoma City during the last big tornado would say they have the worst weather. There was a town, Jasper,TX, that had such a bad tornado that concrete slabs were destroyed may make claim to that title also.

Bill O
05-03-2007, 01:50 PM
I think the people in Oklahoma City during the last big tornado would say they have the worst weather. There was a town, Jasper,TX, that had such a bad tornado that concrete slabs were destroyed may make claim to that title also.

There's no doubt that tornadoes create some very bad weather but they rarely hit the same area twice.

It's almost a guarantee that at least one town in the United States will suffer extreme damage from a tornado this year. But the odds of any given town being leveled in a given year is close to zero.

Mount Washington gets tornado force winds every other day.

Be careful what you hear on the news. Tornado damage is often severe but its rarely as extensive as the media wants you to believe.

spyboy
05-03-2007, 01:54 PM
Watch "March of the Penguins" that weather seemed pretty bad.

But, for Mt Washington, I think "World's Worst Weather" should be replaced with "World's Most Consistently Awful Weather"

I guess to compare, anyone have stats on the number of sunny days on Everest vs Mt Washington?

Bill O
05-03-2007, 02:01 PM
I guess to compare, anyone have stats on the number of sunny days on Everest vs Mt Washington?

Mount Everest gets sun almost everyday. Outside of monsoon season its pretty much clear all the time. During monsoon its clear in the morning and clouds up in the afternoon then clears again after sunset.

Joey Keyz
05-03-2007, 06:37 PM
Can you believe I've never even been on MW?
Seems weird. Here I am joining a forum that has to do with MW and I've never been there. Of course I've been close. I've done a lot of hikes in the area.
As soon as I get the chance, I'm headin for the big boy! Then maybe I can get more involved with some more of the threads. (Like this one)

Any suggestions to which trail I should start off with? I'm a bit handicap, but not to the point where I can't climb. I just need to take it slow and be careful.

Steve M
05-03-2007, 09:50 PM
I think the Ammo Trail may be a good route for you, Joey. Most of the lower section (below tree line) is a gentle climb. From Gem pool though the hike gets pretty steep, almost a scramble to tree line. If you take your time though and have had time for that shoulder to heal you could probably do fine. Lakes Hut is just beyond tree line. The Jewel trail is a good way down with great views into Great Gulf. One thing to consider though is this route spends ALOT of time above tree line and so weather would be one concern. Round trip could take you approx. 8-9 hours so start early because I'm sure you will want to spend some time on the summit.

Joey Keyz
05-04-2007, 02:54 AM
I think the Ammo Trail may be a good route for you, Joey. ------ The Jewel trail is a good way down with great views into Great Gulf.

Thanks for the trail advice Steve. I'll definitely check my books on this route. But I think I'll do a lot of real easy hikes at first, to get myself back into some sort of shape after this operation nightmare is over.

I'll probably check out MW around the beginning of the fall season. By then I should be back to normal. (I HOPE!)

Hey......I still have my gift certificate for the Cog. It was an anniversary present for my wife and I.
So I WILL get to the summit before the fall, only with a bit of cheating! ;)

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y209/joeykeyz/4-13-07a.jpg

Steve M
05-06-2007, 10:34 PM
Hey......I still have my gift certificate for the Cog. It was an anniversary present for my wife and I.
So I WILL get to the summit before the fall, only with a bit of cheating! ;)

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y209/joeykeyz/4-13-07a.jpg

That should be a cool trip. I would enjoy taking the cog up the mountain since it's the only way I havn't gone up but I can't seem to come off the dough to do it. With a family of four it is quite an investment. It's cool that you have gift certificates to ride...Have fun!

Joey Keyz
05-06-2007, 11:25 PM
That should be a cool trip. I would enjoy taking the cog up the mountain since it's the only way I havn't gone up but I can't seem to come off the dough to do it. With a family of four it is quite an investment. It's cool that you have gift certificates to ride...Have fun!
My wife and I are gonna wait for the perfect day to take the trip.
Probably a week day so the crowd up there might not be so large.
The weather has to be good..........I wanna see far! http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y209/joeykeyz/Symbols/Wow.gif

Brad
05-07-2007, 05:55 AM
The Ammo up to Lakes of the Clouds to the summit and then down the Jewell Trail is a good easy trail - but it is long. Pick a good weather day for sure and start early. A day that has iffy weather later can get you caught in a rain storm as you are coming down. (Been there - done that). It is a great hike though.

That was the route I took my son in law on for his first hike on MW - and also when I took my oldest grandson last summer. It was that day we got caught in the rain on the way down.

Here are pictures of the hike with my oldest grandson last summer.

http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet/hikes/2006_hikes/07_mtwashdakota/

Joey Keyz
05-07-2007, 06:07 AM
Here are pictures of the hike with my oldest grandson last summer.

http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet/hikes/2006_hikes/07_mtwashdakota/

It sure looks like he had a great time Brad. :)
Excellent pictures!

Brad
05-07-2007, 06:14 AM
It sure looks like he had a great time Brad. :)
Excellent pictures!
He was standing on the ridge above tree line with the clouds going past his face - loving it.

Steve M
05-07-2007, 07:16 AM
Great pictures! Towards the end of those photos He almost seems to have the look that says, "It's been a great day but I wish it were over". Or maybe, "Will you stop taking pictures every five seconds so we can keep moving, I'm tired".;)

Joey Keyz
05-07-2007, 08:47 AM
Great pictures! Towards the end of those photos He almost seems to have the look that says, "It's been a great day but I wish it were over". Or maybe, "Will you stop taking pictures every five seconds so we can keep moving, I'm tired".;)
Ha ha! My wife HATES when I take pictures. To me, that's a must on any hike. I usually take 100 - 200 shots on a hike and pick out my favorites. It does become a pain in the butt sometimes, but it's worth it later.

Steve M
05-07-2007, 09:34 AM
Ha ha! My wife HATES when I take pictures. To me, that's a must on any hike. I usually take 100 - 200 shots on a hike and pick out my favorites. It does become a pain in the butt sometimes, but it's worth it later.

I agree, I can't help but take a gazillion pictures. I once stopped the car almost a hundred times one trip to take misc. pics. My wife almost shot me in the head! It's a good thing we now have digital. I used to drop a lot of money on film and developing and sometimes that would slow me down from taking pics. Now I can go camera happy and just delete what didn't pan out.

Bill O
05-13-2007, 04:14 PM
Just looking to bump a certain thread out of the number one spot in this forum.

Man, that Mount Washington has some bad weather.

Brad
05-13-2007, 05:07 PM
Just looking to bump a certain thread out of the number one spot in this forum.

Man, that Mount Washington has some bad weather.
Yes, but today looks awesome up there!

Steve M
05-13-2007, 06:48 PM
Awesome day but on the chilly side compared to this past week. Would have been a great day to hike to the summit.

Brad
09-07-2007, 05:55 AM
Wow it is warm on the summit right now.

http://images28.fotki.com/v1003/photos/1/1002902/5339676/20070907_054924_conditions-vi.jpg

Bill O
09-07-2007, 06:43 AM
A sign of things to come in the valleys. Some record highs in northern New England look possible today. I saw 90's in Burlington.

Steve M
09-07-2007, 09:46 AM
A sign of things to come in the valleys. Some record highs in northern New England look possible today. I saw 90's in Burlington.
ya know, I think Venus, Neptune, and Mars are aligned today.;)