Coldest Mountain in Appalachia Reaches -34°F, -88°F Windchill

Photo: Mount Washington Observatory, courtesy of Michael Davidson
Photo: Mount Washington Observatory, courtesy of Michael Davidson

Positioned in northcentral New Hampshire, Mount Washington stands as the highest mountain in the Northeast, rising 6,288-ft. above sea level.

Located near the Appalachian Trail’s concluding point in Maine – relatively speaking – the mountain is notorious among trail hikers who must cross the peak’s summit. The erratic weather atop the Northeastern mountain has claimed the lives of nearly 150 individuals since 1849.

In 1932 a weather observatory was placed atop the mountain and hourly measurements have been taken ever since.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded a wind speed of 231 mph at the summit, a measurement that remains a world record for wind speeds not involved with a tropical cyclone.

Thursday, scientists at the weather station again made headlines when they announced that the outside thermometer had dropped to -37°F.

Making the -37°F even colder – as if that’s even possible – were the +90mph winds blowing at 2:53 a.m., which led to a wind chill temperature of -88°F.

Weather conditions this cold have the potential to cause frostbite in only a few seconds, so scientists performing  various experiments atop the mountain had to work in teams of two and limit their activities to only a few minutes, having absolutely no skin exposed.

Though you probably wouldn’t enjoy visiting Mount Washington anytime this week, the northern Appalachian Mountain summit is an outdoor lovers paradise in the summer months as hikers, glider flyers and cyclists flock to the historic mountain to take advantage of the unique mountain’s challenges, beauty and breathtaking views.

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