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Observer Comments

21:44 Tue Mar 06, 2018

Looking in the Rear View Mirror – A Summary of February, 2018

February was warm, but not the warmest! While scrolling through our records, it appears that three previous Februaries had higher average temperatures than 2018. That puts February, 2018 at the fourth warmest since our records began with an average temperature of 12.9°F. With that being said, this past month sure packed a punch at times as we set the monthly record high temperature on the 21st at 48°F. The previous record was set the day before at 45°F BUT prior to that, the record high for February was 43°F which was set on February 11, 1981 and equaled on February 12, 1999.

This past month, Ryan and I (Night Observers) were not the only ones who did not see the sun. As it turned out, all of us working atop the Rockpile were in jeopardy of a vitamin D deficiency. Every day in February had the summits shrouded in fog for at least part of the day, which obscured the sunlight from view. It was not just fog that kept the summits from basking in the warmth of the sun, but also overhead cloudiness that was an issue. One of the parameters that we observe on an hourly basis is sky cover. A sky cover of 0 would indicate clear skies with no clouds in sight, whereas a sky cover of 10 would indicate overcast skies. For the month of February, our average sky cover ended up as a 9. Because of the persistent fog and cloudiness, the summits experienced only 19% of possible sunshine minutes through the month of February!

Precipitation ended up being fairly close to normal for us, as we average 6.77 inches of liquid precipitation and 40.1 inches of snow. This past February saw 6.73 inches of liquid precipitation fall as rain, freezing rain, sleet and 51.6 inches of snow. Snowfall was above normal for the month, but due to the extreme warm stretches, our snowpack was decimated across the White Mountains, and we now have only 5 inches here at the summit.

Our snowpack is about to get a substantial boost though! The potent Nor’easter is beginning to take shape off the Mid-Atlantic coastline looking to trek towards the Gulf of Maine over the next 24 hours. We are expecting upwards of 2 feet by the time the snowfall tapers at the end of the workweek. February was a bit dull per Mount Washington standards, but the way March is beginning… Well we hope it acts like a lion throughout, keeping the lambs in a herd somewhere far away from here.

Caleb Meute, Weather Observer / Meteorologist


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