2009 In Like a Freight Train!

2009-01-02 14:44:12.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

It seems the weather is full of surprises this holiday season, saving some of the most extreme for the beginning of the New Year. I awoke yesterday to the comforting sound of a freight train outside my bedroom window and was eager to get up to see just how high the winds were and how cold it had become through the night. Winds were sustained around 100 mph and the temperature was a bitter cold -21F. This was not a day to have any exposed skin! As the day progressed, things intensified even more, with the temperature reaching -27 degrees and wind chills bottoming out at 83 degrees below zero. Winds frequently exceeded 120mph, with a peak gust of 132 mph, once corrected for temperature and pressure.

Yesterday’s Hays wind chart is a beautiful thing. It is nearly perfect, with the exceptions of two times where water in the total pressure line caused a decrease in pressure and two times where it ran out of ink before we caught it. Besides that, it represents the gustiest day I have ever seen on the mountain, as well as some of the highest winds. How the chart is interpreted is the further away from the center the red ink goes, the higher the winds. It follows that the greater the width of the red area radiating from the center of the chart is, the gustier the winds are. We even had the opportunity to turn on our high wind speed chart, as three gusts between 0800 and 0900 EST actually went off the chart!

But as the hours wore on into today, winds died and temperatures rose, now into the low teens and winds less than 20 mph. That’s only 40 degrees warmer and 100 mph calmer than yesterday though…no big deal. Another cycle seems to be soon on the way though as temperatures will once again plummet tonight and winds will increase throughout the day tomorrow. For now we will take the favorable weather, do some work outside, and spend some quality time with the friendly ravens as they soar around the summit.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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