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Record Breaking Winds Close 2012 At Grandfather

Last Updated on January 1, 2013 6:23 pm

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN, NC – Wind gusts recorded by the anemometer located on the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain reached 120.7 mph late Friday, December 21. This is a new three-second gust record for the mountain. The previous highest three-second gust on Grandfather was 114.7 mph recorded January 26, 2011.

Maximum wind gusts over 60 mph were recorded 10 days during the month.

The automatic weather station at the top of Grandfather Mountain recorded an average high temperature for December of 42.1 degrees and the average low temperature of 29.5 degrees. These numbers read just a bit warmer than the State Climate Office data from Mt. Mitchell State Park. The average high temperature at Mt. Mitchell was 41.3 degrees and the average low temperature was 28.7 degrees.

A total of 2.35 inches of rain was recorded in December at the weather data reporting station located at the top of Grandfather Mountain. This amount is 1.65 inches (41 percent) below the 57-year average rainfall total for the month of four inches.

Rain for the year-to-date was 55.89 inches, which is .77 inches (or 1 percent) below normal for the close of the year.

Grandfather Mountain measures precipitation at multiple locations on the Mountain. A manual gauge at the Entrance Gate recorded 5.13 inches of liquid precipitation and a manual gauge at the Fudge Shop recorded 4.95 inches. The automatic weighing precipitation gauge on the corner of the Top Shop parking lot was damaged by high winds this month and therefore a monthly total cannot be reported from that location.

Due to high winds and adverse winter conditions, snow totals were not reported at the Top Shop this month by employees.

Entrance Gate employees recorded 3.5 inches of snow for the month and the naturalist staff recorded 1.7 inches at the equipment near the Fudge Shop.

In 2012, according to the equipment at the top of the Mountain, the month with the most rain was May with 10.48 inches and the month with the least rain was November with 1.47 inches. The most rain to fall in one day during 2012 was 3.53 inches on September 18. The rainiest day ever at Grandfather Mountain was September 8, 2004 when 11.3 inches of rain fell.

The average high temperature for the year was 54.7 degrees and the average low temperature was 41.1 degrees.

The warmest temperature in 2012 was 83.2 degrees recorded July 1, a new record high for the Mountain. The previous record from the equipment on the Mile High Swinging Bridge was 82.7 degrees recorded June 30, 2012. Before 2012, the record was 79.5 degrees on July 24, 2010. The coldest temperature was minus 1.5 degrees on February 13.

In 2012 wind speeds exceeded 60 mph on 61 different days. The highest three-second gust recorded was 120.7 mph December 21.

Total recorded snowfall for 2012 varied at different locations on the Mountain. The reading from the Top Shop is highly affected by wind and the staff's access to the top of Grandfather. A total of 12 days of weather was missed for the later reason and the yearly snow total came in at 7.2 inches. Down the Mountain, 27.9 inches of snow were recorded near the Fudge Shop and 34 inches were recorded at the Entrance Gate.

Much of Grandfather Mountain's weather recordings are made possible through a partnership with Appalachian State University. For more information on Grandfather Mountain's weather data or to access current conditions please visit

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