Mount Washington Observatory: A Haven for Harsh Weather Phenomena Perched at a height of 6000 feet in New Hampshire, Mount Washington Observatory is known for its unpredictable and harsh weather conditions, earning it a reputation as one of the wildest weather spots on the planet. On Friday, the observatory was hit by an arctic blast that brought temperatures to a low of 45 degrees below zero, only a few degrees short of its record. However, it was the relentless gusts of over 100 mph that made the weather truly unbearable, resulting in the coldest wind chill ever recorded in the United States at 108 degrees below zero.
As a nonprofit research and educational institution, the Mount Washington Observatory is dedicated to advancing our understanding of Earth’s weather and climate.
The recent cold snap not only broke records in Mount Washington, but across various states in the US. Boston experienced its lowest temperature of minus 10 degrees, surpassing its previous record of minus 2 degrees and marking the first double-digit negative temperature since 1957. Worcester, Massachusetts, saw minus 13 degrees, breaking the previous record of minus 4 degrees. Providence, Rhode Island, recorded minus 9 degrees, beating its previous record of minus 2 degrees, and Hartford, Connecticut, hit minus 9 degrees, exceeding the previous record of minus 8 degrees.
The arctic freeze impacted much of the Northeast and New England, causing widespread disruption. To ensure the safety of its passengers, Boston’s public transit system deployed extra crews to prevent rail cracks. Schools also closed down in response to the dangerous weather conditions. In New York City, officials activated “Code Blue” to bring the homeless population into shelters.
Meanwhile, the cold front swept through Texas, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without power due to the accumulation of ice on power lines. The mayor of Austin issued an apology for the city’s inability to prepare and respond to the widespread power outages. There is still no word on when power will be fully restored. The weather conditions were also responsible for at least 12 traffic fatalities on slick roads in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.
Despite the challenges, the Mount Washington Observatory continues to play a vital role in our understanding of the complex and ever-changing weather patterns.