Although January 2022 is off to a frigid start, December 2021 was one of Grandfather Mountain’s warmest on record.
According to data recorded at the official National Weather Service reporting station at Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge, December 2021 was the second warmest December in the park’s history.
The warmest temperature recorded last month was 60° Fahrenheit on Dec. 4, 18 and 28, three degrees shy of the mountain’s record December high of 63°, recorded on Dec. 7, 1956.
The lowest temperature observed last month was 17° on Dec. 12. The lowest temperature ever observed on Grandfather Mountain in the month of December was -21° on Dec. 25, 1983.
The average high temperature for December 2021 was 50.7°, with an average low of 35.2°, for a mean of 43°. The mountain’s warmest December on record was in 2015, with an average high of 50.6°, an average low of 36.5° and a mean of 43.6°.
On Dec. 2, the weather station recorded a wind gust of 89.7 mph, while the month’s highest recorded sustained wind speed clocked in at 73.6 mph that same day.
The station reported 1.3 inches of precipitation in December, while observations recorded near the park’s Nature Museum saw 1.04 inches. Precipitation is also measured at the latter, lower location, as high winds can make it difficult to record accurate observations at the top.
The mountain’s rainiest December was in 2009, when 10.37 inches were observed near the bridge. The driest December on record was in 1965, when .55 of an inch was measured at the top.
The park counted 14 total days of precipitation for December 2021, eight days short of the record 22 days in 1972 and 1981. The rainiest day last month was Dec. 12, when .45 of an inch was recorded at the top. The rainiest day on record for December was Dec. 28, 1958, when the weather station observed 3.46 inches.
The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation records and reports data in two different ways:
- The park maintains an automated weather station at the top of the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The N.C. State Climate Office assists the foundation in calibrating the machines and ensuring overall accuracy of data.
- Grandfather Mountain has been an active member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Cooperative Observer Program since 1955 by reporting daily temperature, precipitation and weather events from locations near the Mile High Swinging Bridge and the Nature Museum.
For more information on weather at Grandfather Mountain, visit www.grandfather.com/visit/plan-your-visit/real-time-weather/.
The nonprofit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com/tickets to book a trip.