2013 came to a close on Grandfather Mountain with a whopping 85.95 inches of rain recorded for the year — the second highest annual precipitation total in 58 years of weather recording.
The yearly rainfall average, as recorded at the Mile High Swinging Bridge, is 63.17 inches since the mountain began recording weather observations in 1956.
Grandfather Mountain’s rainiest month was July, when it rained 28 out of 31 days, accounting for 29.24 inches at the top of the mountain.
In December 2013, staff recorded 6.32 inches of rain at the Entrance Gate, 5.82 inches of rain at the Fudge Shop and 5.43 inches at the top of the mountain.
The highest daily rainfall total for the month was recorded on Dec. 23, 2013, when 2.48 inches fell at the Entrance Gate and 2 inches fell at the Fudge Shop.
The mountain’s one-day rain record still stands at 11.3 inches on Sept. 8, 2004.
While rain was plentiful, only trace amounts of snow were recorded on Grandfather Mountain in December.
Winds gusted higher than 60 mph at the top of the mountain exactly 12 times in December 2013, according to the anemometer located on the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
While Grandfather Mountain did not beat its record wind gust in 2013, it did exceed 100 mph one time, in January 2013. That January gust of 109 mph fell short of the all-time record gust of 120.7 mph set last year.
Grandfather Mountain’s average high temperature for December 2013 was 41.8 degrees, while the average low temperature was 26.5 degrees. Those measurements were on par with Mount Mitchell State Park, which averaged a high of 41.3 degrees and a low of 27 degrees in December, according to the State Climate Office.
The mountain’s lowest temperature for the month was 9 degrees on Christmas Eve, and its highest temperature was 55.6 degrees on Dec. 5, 2013. Those measurements are gathered by an automatic weather station at the top of the mountain.
Grandfather Mountain did not beat its previous heat records in 2013, charting a high of 74.86 degrees in July. The highest temperature recorded atop the mountain was July 1, 2012, when thermometers read 83.2 degrees.
The lowest temperature recorded in 2013 was 0.8 degrees, a far cry from the -32 degrees hit on Jan. 21, 1985.
Forecasters are calling for a an extremely cold burst to arrive in the High Country on Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures topping out around zero or below. Grandfather Mountain will be watching carefully for any new weather records at the Mile High Swinging Bridge.
The top half of the mountain was closed eight days in December due to adverse weather and the Christmas holiday. Grandfather Mountain is open to visitors 363 days per year, weather permitting.