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Mount Washington gets first measurable snow of the season, later than normal

Mount Washington saw its first accumulation of the season on Sunday.
Courtesy of the Mount Washington Observatory
Mount Washington saw its first accumulation of the season on Sunday.

While the rest of the state is trending orange, russet and red, Mount Washington turned white Sunday.

The region’s highest peak saw its first measurable snowfall of the season, coming on the heels of a few flakes that fell in August but didn’t accumulate.

Meteorologists recorded 0.3 inches atop the summit on Sunday. Temperatures on Monday didn’t crack 32 degrees, though a little bright sunshine did melt some of the accumulation, according to Alexandra Branton, a weather observer and education specialist at the Mount Washington Observatory.

“As I look out towards the northern portion of the state, I can see fall foliage,” Branton said Monday afternoon. “The leaves look pretty orange, so it is an interesting contrast: the winter conditions on the summit, and the fall conditions down in the valleys.”

Historically, the mountain has typically recorded its first measurable snowfall in September, and an average of 19 inches of snow in October. But in recent years, a changing climate has pushed the start of winter conditions later.

“We are still very behind schedule, so we are at quite the deficit already for winter 2023,” said Branton. Winters have been “starting later and ending earlier” as a result of a warming climate, she added.

High temperatures are forecasted to remain below or near 32 degrees this week atop the mountain, with a chance for more snow.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.

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