Friday, July 2, 2010

So Much For Global Warming: July snow falls on Mt. Washington

By Jeff Fish, Globe Correspondent

Ignoring the calendar, which showed the beginning of the month of July, a dusting of snow fell Thursday on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, startling tourists and forcing the closure of the road to the top.

"It's not extraordinary, but it's definitely interesting," said Stacey Kawecki, a meteorologist for the Mount Washington Observatory.

Mount Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak at 6,288 feet, has recorded snow in every month. The last time it was recorded in July was 2007.

The snow fell from about 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then from 10 a.m. to noon, Kawecki said.

It was "about 35 degrees and there was a thick and soupy fog. Visibility was about 100 feet and ice was starting to form on the windows. Then I saw big, fat, floppy flakes hitting the windows," Kawecki said.

Although only 0.2 inches of snow fell, the Mount Washington Auto Road, a toll road that goes up the side of the mountain to the summit, was closed from about 12:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., said Regina Ferreira, a manager of the road.

"We had a lot of people knowing it would probably reopen [who] just waited here for the road to reopen," said Ferreira, who described tourist reactions as being shocked. "A lot of people think we’re kidding when we say it snows. It was sunny and 65 degrees in North Conway," which is about 20 miles from Mount Washington.

Although snow in the summer is not uncommon at Mount Washington Kawecki was also surprised. “I was thinking, ‘I didn’t forecast snow.’”

After the snow stopped and the road reopened, it was business as usual. “This is Mount Washington, so you can either take it or leave it,” said Kawecki.


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