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Mt. Washington summit sees wettest July ever

Weather observer Alexis George measures precipitation atop Mount Washington on July 29, 2023.
Mount Washington Observatory
The Mount Washington summit has recorded its wettest July. In this photo, weather observer Alexis George measured precipitation on July 29, 2023 -- at that point, giving the summit a total of 16.91 inches of precipitation measured for July 2023. This surpasses the previous record of 16.85 inches set in July of 1996 and is 7.98 inches higher than average.

Mount Washington’s summit recorded its wettest July ever this month, with 16.91 inches of precipitation measured as of the morning of July 31.

That breaks the previous record held since 1996.

This July is significantly wetter than average, with about double the typical rainfall, said Alex Branton, a weather observer and education specialist at the Mount Washington Observatory.

“Our winds have been flowing in a way that brings a bunch of warmth and moisture from the southern portion of the United States and brings them into New England,” she said. “And that is basically fueling our precipitation.”

Branton also said the rising sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean fuel heavy rain in New England because it puts more moisture into the atmosphere.

Scientists have said New Hampshire overall is getting wetter due to rising global temperatures. Mount Washington’s summit is a subarctic climate, so its weather often varies greatly from conditions seen at lower elevations. But other areas around the state are also seeing record rain. Branton said the North Conway weather station recorded its wettest July ever as well.

This June was even wetter than July at the summit, with 17.30 inches of liquid precipitation. It was just short of being the wettest June on record; but with 8.4 inches of snow, it was the snowiest June in the observatory’s history.

Heavy rain has made hiking conditions more dangerous, leading to trail washouts and flooding further down the mountain. Branton urged hikers to be prepared for wet conditions.

Branton said these rainy, wet conditions are expected to continue into August.

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