Mount Washington as cold as Mars with record-breaking wind chills of 110 below
This cold is out of this world.
New Hampshire’s Mount Washington felt more like Mars than planet Earth on Friday as wind chills dipped below an unfathomable minus 110 degrees, a new record for the coldest wind chill ever recorded in the US.
Known for having some of the world’s worst weather, Mount Washington saw air temperatures plummet to minus 46 degrees with wind speeds averaging over 100 miles per hour with gusts over 125 miles per hour as the artic air mass wreaked havoc Friday, according to the Mount Washington observatory.
Visibility atop the mountain was less than one-sixteenth of a mile — or just over 100 yards.
Meanwhile on Mars, temperatures on the surface this week reached a balmy high of 16 degrees with a low of minus 105, according to NASA. The space agency said temperatures of the red planet can fluctuate between minus 225 and 70 degrees.
Video taken from the observatory on Mount Washington’s summit Friday afternoon shows raging gusts of wind whipping up snow in a scene that looks more like planet Hoth from Star Wars.
The coldest air temperature ever recorded at the observatory was -47 degrees in 1934, according to the National Weather Service.
The observatory is staffed year-round, but staffers have warned others about the deadly conditions.
“I want to emphasize the danger of this cold,” wrote Mount Washington weather observer Alexis George. “In these brutally cold conditions, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite will be exponential.
“These frigid cold conditions will quickly rob you of body heat, with the possibility that frostbite could develop on exposed skin in under a minute,” she continued. “Even small mistakes can prove deadly, with a simple slip or fogged goggles leading to a potentially life-threatening situation. In this type of weather, rescue services will have a difficult time responding to any emergency effectively.”
The wind gusts caused dangerous conditions for the weather observers even while they were hunkered down inside.
“The metal latch that was holding the door on broke, so the door swung open when we had that 127 mph gust earlier today,” Francis Tarasiewicz told WGME. “So it took about three people to prop themselves up against it and someone from the state park helped to secure the door again.”
“There is half of me that loves what is going on right now, and the other half of me is pretty terrified, especially when the door fails,” Tarasiewcz told NECN.
Nimbus the cat, who lives in the observatory with staffers, was reportedly cozied up and unbothered by the deadly storm, despite being a bit grumpy from taking his flea medication.
“He is actually sleeping through most of this event,” Tarasiewciz said.
Mount Washington sits 6,288 feet above sea level and is notorious for its capricious weather, blustering winds and heavy snow. The average wind speed there in February is 45 miles per hour, according to the observatory.