A Beautiful Day

2009-12-19 21:31:16.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer


It never ceases to amaze me how quickly things can change in regards to weather. Two days ago, it was -24 degrees outside. Today we hit a high temperature of 22 degrees and winds nearly calm. Instead of layering in a facemask, hat, hood, and goggles, I only needed a pair of sunglasses. I traded in insulated boots for sneakers and snow pants for flannel lined pants. At times I even neglected to wear a jacket. Not that I would dress like this if I were hiking even around the summit cone, but not leaving the observation deck and only being outside for five minutes, I figured it was alright.

This life of pleasantry will be short lived however as the low that brought feet of snow to states well south of us moves closer our way. We will probably see some snow out of the system (I wouldn’t mind a foot or two!) and winds will ramp up as the pressure gradient tightens. Once again it will be a chore to do an observation. When we are not in the fog, we use an instrument called a sling psychrometer to determine the temperature and dew point. This has to be done in the shade to avoid having direct solar heating effect the readings. As it turns out, during part of the day the only shade available is next to a shack, the shaded side of which is in the windiest part of the deck during northwest winds, our predominant wind direction. So it will be that in the next day or two we will be bracing ourselves against 80 mph gusts to discover the temperature, then doing our very best to steady both the sling and our heads to accurately read the temperatures. It’s days like these that can make this job both exciting and also bolster ones appreciation for days such as today.


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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