CONWAY — If you thought it was bitingly cold in the lower elevations Tuesday, consider what it was like at the “Top of New England.”
Brian Fitzgerald, Mount Washington Observatory's director of science and education, said Tuesday set a record cold temperature atop the mountain at -31 degrees F., breaking the old mark of -29 set Jan. 11, 2020.
Staff meteorologist Ryan Knapp recorded the new record at 6:50 a.m. Tuesday, with winds blowing from the northwest at 77 mph to give a windchill of 82 degrees below zero.
“We had a strong Arctic cold front move in overnight,” said Fitzgerald. “Not only was it cold. it was pretty windy, too, no matter where you were. Windchill values across the state were below zero by teens below zero with -20s windchill in Coos County,” said Fitzgerald.
"It's the coldest it's been since the winter of 2018-'19."
In North Conway Village, the Obs’ Pine Street station recorded a low of -4, —far from the record of -22 for the day set Jan. 11, 1976.
Weather observer Ed Bergeron said he recorded a low of -3 degrees at 8 a.m. but it had warmed to 6 degrees above by 11 a.m. “The windchill this morning was - 11 but the wind has died down to 4 mph now as we speak so the windchill is 6 degrees,” said Bergeron.
Both attributed the cold to the location of the jetstream, which dropped down, bringing cold air from Canada with it. The good news is things should warm up starting today.
“The National Weather Service is forecasting it will rise up to 25 degrees Wednesday and then to 35 Thursday and 27 Friday, but then it will get cold again for the weekend with a high of 14 Saturday and 22 on Sunday,” said Bergeron.
Added Fitzgerald, “We’ll see a brief warmup in the valleys by Thursday with above freezing temperatures. But then we’ll have another influx of Arctic air over the weekend.”
Kevin Richard, SAU 9 superintendent, told the Sun that a meeting of the Hart’s Location School Board went on as scheduled Tuesday, despite the cold. “It was -5 for the meeting at 8 this morning, which is cold, but not as cold as in 2018 when it was - 30. I have a photo taken of that temperature reading from inside my truck,” Richard said, noting there had not been any cold-related problems with the operation of buses or school buildings Tuesday.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that four COVID-19 testing sites overseen by the state in Nashua, Manchester, Claremont and Newington would be closed Tuesday because of the cold but would reopen Wednesday.