The highest peak in the state of New Hampshire, Mount Washington sits at the convergence of three weather tracks that create some of the harshest and most extreme conditions on Earth. Its elevation, steep slopes and north/south orientation guarantee that the summit experiences a variety of climate conditions throughout the year.
When it's cold enough, the winds can be so strong that a person can die on top of the mountain if they are not properly equipped for the extreme temperatures and lack of visibility. In winter, snow can pile up on the mountain's summit, bringing temperatures below freezing, visibility to zero and causing severe wind chills that can rival those of Mount Everest.
A few years ago, the wind speed at the summit was beaten for world record highs by a wind that hit Barrow Island in Australia during Cyclone Olivia in 1996. Previously the speed had been 231 mph, recorded in 1934 at the site of Mount Washington Observatory.
This Friday, however, the record was broken by another wind. The icy Arctic air that descended on the Northeast and Canada last weekend dropped temperatures to record lows.
During the storm, the summit of Mount Washington's wind chill dipped to minus 108 degrees. That's likely the lowest wind chill ever recorded in the US, according to CNN meteorologists Ralph Ellis and Aya Elamroussi.
While the National Weather Service does not keep track of wind chills as closely as they do temperatures, most meteorologists believe that a reading of minus 108 is the coldest reading recorded at Mount Washington. That is also the lowest wind chill ever measured at a staffed mountaintop research station, according to Tarasiewicz.