LINVILLE, NC — Winter finally arrived at Grandfather Mountain in February,
bringing with it five new daily temperature records, the first substantial
snow of the season and winds close to 100 mph.
A frigid spell in the third week of the month set the following daily
temperature records on the mountain:
Feb. 14: -10.8° (Previously -5° in 1971)
Feb. 15: -11.1° (Previously -6° in 1963)
Feb. 18: -15.4° (Previously -14° in 1958)
Feb. 19: -16.4° (Previously -8° in 1972)
Feb. 20: -10.7° (Previously -4° in 1972)
“Winter certainly took its time getting here, but it came full force once
it arrived,” said Public Relations Specialist Kellen Short. “It was
especially neat to break several daily temperature records that have been
standing since the 1950s and ’60s. Depending on who you ask, that’s either
very exciting or very distressing.”
Grandfather Mountain did not, however, beat the record low for the month
of February, which is -19°, set on Feb. 25, 1967.
Wind speeds also climbed substantially this month, creating wind chills as
low as -50° and below.
The highest speed recorded for the month at the Mile High Swinging Bridge
was 97.6 mph on Feb. 14, and the automated weather equipment also charted
several other days in the 70-80 mph range.
The silver lining to the bitter cold was the arrival of snow — more than
16 inches at the base of the mountain.
Staff at the Entrance Gate recorded 16.6 inches of snow throughout the
month, while staff at the Nature Museum halfway up the mountain recorded
11.3 inches. The snowiest day of the month was Feb. 26, when the Entrance
Gate recorded 5.5 inches of snow and the Nature Museum recorded 3.8 inches
While snowfall was plentiful in February, it was largely absent from other
months this winter.
“While we don’t yet know what March will hold, this has the makings of
being one of the least-snowy winters in recorded history on Grandfather
Mountain,” Short said.