*Editor’s note: a picture of the -103 wind chill reading quickly made the rounds across the WataugaRoads social media outlets on Monday night & Tuesday. See the article below for more information on the incorrect reading*
Temperatures took a nosedive Monday and Tuesday on Grandfather Mountain, reaching a low of -17 degrees early Tuesday morning.
Equipment mounted at the Mile High Swinging Bridge, which records temperatures every minute and on the hour, recorded air temperatures of -17 degrees at 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Tuesday.The bridge is located at an elevation of 5,280 feet.
The lowest recorded wind chill was -58 degrees at 5 a.m. Tuesday, according to the data, and the wind chill still remained around -28 degrees as of 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
The highest reported wind speed overnight was 86.7 mph, recorded at 12:50 a.m. Tuesday. The all-time record wind speed in 58 years of weather observations is 120.7 mph.
Due to extreme conditions at the top of the mountain, the equipment temporarily could not keep up with the forming rime ice and produced an erroneous reading of -103.1 wind chill overnight.
Grandfather Mountain did not reach its coldest temperature ever recorded, which was -32 degrees on Jan. 21, 1985. Grandfather Mountain was closed to visitors Monday and Tuesday.