Despite its extraordinary views, Grandfather Mountain experienced a somewhat ordinary year of weather in 2021.
According to data collected at the National Weather Service reporting station near the Mile High Swinging Bridge, the nonprofit nature park saw average weather in 2021, with no records set or broken.
The station observed 60.7 inches of rain over 211 days, shy of the mountain’s standing records of a cumulative 110.7 inches in 2018 and 242 days of precipitation in 2020.
The rainiest month in 2021 was August, when 9.7 inches were recorded over 20 days. The driest month of 2021 was December, with only 1.3 inches observed over 14 days of precipitation (including trace amounts).
Grandfather Mountain reported 21.9 inches of snow in 2021, as observed at the park’s Nature Museum. Snow accumulation is measured at this lower location, as high winds can make it difficult to record accurate observations at the top.
The mountain’s snowiest year on record remains 1996, when the park observed 116.7 inches of accumulation.
Grandfather Mountain recorded no sustained wind speeds or gusts higher than 100 mph in 2021, although it came close in January and February, when gusts of 92.9 and 92.6 were recorded at the bridge, respectively.
The record wind speed at that location remains a gust of 124 mph, recorded February 2019.
A place known for its temperature swings, Grandfather Mountain experienced temperatures ranging from 6° to 77° Fahrenheit in 2021. The mountain’s warmest days in 2021 were recorded on July 29-30 and Aug. 1, when the temperature hit 77°. The park’s coldest day was Jan. 29, when the temperature dipped to a low of 6°.
Grandfather’s warmest days on record saw the thermometer reach 83° in August 1983, July 2005 and July 2010, while the mountain’s record low remains -32° from January 1985.
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 to book a trip.