The Complexity of Weather Forecasting in the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, New Hampshire

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 5:15 PM
Room C202 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Michael A. Carmon, Mount Washington Observatory, North Conway, NH; and E. P. Kelsey

​​The White Mountains of New Hampshire, which is home to 6,288-foot Mount Washington, regularly experiences severe and highly variable weather conditions, which makes weather forecasting in this region a challenging task. This area attracts a large number of recreationists, both local and non-native, making the production of accurate forecasts critical to ensure the safety of these visitors and their property. Over the past 80 years, meteorologists at the Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) have become leaders in producing 36-hour forecasts for the higher summits of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains.

​A 36-hour forecast for the higher summits follows a structure that directly caters to both the unique environment of the Presidential Range and the variety of users that use the information to make decisions regarding activities above the tree line. MWO meteorologists utilize a wide variety of model data, in conjunction with a number of additional sources, to predict mountain fog, rime and glaze ice accretion, precipitation, temperature, wind, and many other weather phenomena. The forecasts are disseminated through various media outlets, such as local radio and television stations, as well as through MWO's website and social networking platforms. MWO meteorologists must always maintain a balance between accuracy, to preserve the integrity of an outlook, and caution, to ensure the safety of the audience utilizing the information. Through improvements in observational data quality and increased model reliability, the Mount Washington Observatory strives to continually improve the quality of these forecast products, while continuing to inform visitors to the White Mountain region in a concise and timely manner.