Supercooled clouds form stunning ice kingdoms atop mountains

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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 actually 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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