3 interesting things

2011-03-02 22:36:11.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Light on northern peaks from my last shift.

Another Wednesday, another shift change. And it was a quick shift change to say the least. All the snow that had fallen and was falling was blowing about lowering visibilities and creating some tough drifts of snow to go through. Once up, we unloaded, did about 15 minutes of greetings and meetings then we parted ways. Such are winter shift changes up here. The ride up can take hours with only minutes on top or they can take about and hour with several hours on top. It makes every shift change as unique as a snow flake up here.

Since my trip up consisted of me focusing on keep our right hand side of the snow tractor on the road, I don’t really have any interesting stories about the ride up. And since it was such a quick shift change, there weren’t really any stories from the day that I can share. So, I thought I’d share three things I found interesting from the past week related to weather and the summit.

Interesting thing 1: March 1st marked the first day of Meteorological Spring. Read that I didn’t say it was the first day of Astronomical Spring (March 20th) but Meteorological Spring (March 1). So what’s the difference? Astronomical Spring is the day most associate as the first day of spring. It marks the day the vernal equinox occurs, when the sun shines directly above the equator making day and night both 12 hours long (on average for most mid-latitude locations). Meteorological Spring is when most in the meteorological community mark the changes in temperatures and precipitation in the mid-latitudes. Winters (December, January, and February) are usually the months with the coldest temperatures and the largest amounts of either snow or precipitation depending on location. Summers (June, July, August) are usually the months with the hottest temperatures and are either the driest or rainiest, again, depending on location. So the months in between the extremes are spring and fall. It doesn’t mean things are going to be automatically warm or going to rain but in meteorological terms, spring has begun (although at 15 below and 100 mph winds currently, it certainly doesn’t feel like spring up here tonight).

Interesting thing 2: This is sort of tied to the first interesting thing, in that as the days get longer, I can finally see sunrises during my shift. Our last shift, as you may have read on here was a bit staggered due to Brian and I only spending half a shift up here each. To help out the day observer in the morning when a lot is happening, we did a 7 pm to 7 am night shift. This allowed me to catch my first summit sunrises of 2011. The last time I saw one on the summit was back in late October of 2010. Sure I’ve seen several of sunrises in the valleys during my off weeks but there is just something beyond words about the sunrises up here that beat the socks off most sunrises I’ve seen. And with sunrise times getting earlier and earlier from now until June, there are plenty more sunrises to come from up here.

Interesting thing 3: When I got down last week, I filtered through my stack of mail to see a sight on the cover of a magazine that registered the thought of ‘Geez, that looks really familiar.’ Upon closer inspection, I instantly knew why. On the cover of the most recent Northern New England Journey magazine (a AAA Northern New England magazine), the Mount Washington Auto Road made the cover. The reason: A cover feature celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Mount Washington Auto Road. Apart from a few erroneous weather facts, the article was an interesting read and it was neat to see something I know all so well featured in a magazine. And I look forward to all the events the Auto Road has planned this year to celebrate their big 1-5-0. For more information on some of their planned activities, you can check out their website at mtwashingtonautoroad.com.

So there you have it, three things I found interesting from the past week. When it comes to weather and the summit, there is never a dull moment. So check back tomorrow to see what someone else found interesting about the day, week, the weather, the summit or life up here.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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