Accessibility links

Mt. Washington Observatory Goes to Weather Extremes


The Mount Washington observatory in (the northeastern U.S. state of) New Hampshire is a non-profit, scientific and educational institution with a mission to advance understanding of the Earth's climate systems. It also has some of the most extreme weather on the planet. VOA's Paul Sisco has more.

The strongest winds ever recorded, were recorded right here, at the Mt. Washington Weather station in New Hampshire. On 12 April 1934, the station measured a wind gust of more than 371 kilometers per hour.

The Mount Washington weather station was the first regular, meteorological observations in the world. It continues to collect climate data, and weather information daily.

Three out of every four days a year Mount Washington is hidden in clouds or covered with fog, with hurricane force winds sometimes blowing. Scientists and visitors pass through three distinct ecosystems on the ride to the summit, 1,923 meters above sea level.

A team of scientists is stationed here. Stacey Kawecki, 23, is one of the scientists. She points out a phenomenon called "rime ice." There is a lot of it here. Rim ice forms on objects when fog freezes.

The observers work one week on the summit then one week off. Every hour their readings go to the U.S. National Weather Service. It uses the data to make nationwide forecasts.

When not taking readings or keeping instruments working, the Mount Washington scientists conduct research experiments at the station.

Visitors are welcome to help out and for a fee, can spend a week living at the station. On this visit, after a typically frigid night, the weather broke and the occupants awoke to a less typical, clear and beautiful sunrise.

XS
SM
MD
LG