Supercooled clouds form stunning ice kingdoms atop mountains

Supercooled clouds form stunning ice kingdoms atop mountains
Rime ice extends several feet horizontally from a sign marking the summit of 5,774-foot Mount Adams, the second highest mountain in New England, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

MOUNT WASHINGTON, N.H. (AP) – Winter is over a month away, but otherworldly ice kingdoms already have formed atop some New Hampshire mountains.

Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet, and Mount Adams are among those that have rime ice – supercooled water droplets that freeze when they come into contact with an object.

Rime ice creates stunning formations that look wind-blown, but it grows into the direction of the wind.

Kaitlyn O’Brien, a meteorologist and co-director of summit operations at the Mount Washington Observatory, said Tuesday Rime ice forms when the mountain is in the clouds and temperatures are below freezing.

That can happen much of the year. She says rime ice can occur any time, but it typically starts in September or October.

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