Just over a month ago, the summit of Mount Washington tied for the second-coldest place on Earth when temperatures dipped to minus 36 degrees, with a windchill of minus 94.
On Wednesday, as New Englanders shed their jackets and took out their sunglasses during the unseasonably warm February weather, which hit a high of 70 degrees, it was time for T-shirts on the New Hampshire mountain.
Workers at the Mount Washington Observatory, which is 6,267 feet above sea level, said on Facebook Wednesday that temperatures “climbed” — pun intended? — to a balmy 48 degrees at the mountain top, providing a perfect opportunity to wander out onto the rocky landscape with minimal protection from the elements.
The post, which included a picture of two weather observers wearing T-shirts, goggles, and winter hats, said the weather tied the observatory’s record for the warmest readings during meteorological winter — the months of December through February — in its 85-year history. The other time it hit 48 degrees during winter was Jan. 13, 2013.
Tom Padham, a meteorologist and education specialist with the observatory, said while they tied the record for meteorological winter, Wednesday marked the warmest day for the month of February since records started in 1932. The previous record was 45 degrees, which was set Tuesday. Prior to that, it was Feb. 11, 1981, when it reached 43 degrees on the summit.
“It’s the only day in my five years up here that I have been able to [go out in a T-shirt] in February,” Padham said in a telephone interview. “It was nice. We just kind of soaked up the sun and everything.”
He said the average temperature on this day on the summit is 7 degrees. In the next few days, temperatures will dip back down into the teens, though it will still be around 10 degrees above average.