A Day in the Life

2013-02-12 17:22:48.000 – Brian Fitzgerald,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist


A sample day in the life as an Observer at Mount Washington Observatory:

-5:30am: Wake up, immediately realize you’re on top of a mountain and you need to be outside in 15 minutes, fully dressed and awake to take the first observation.

-5:40am: Get ready for, then go outside, covered from head to toe after having a brief conversation with the night observer who is now going to bed about what’s been happening outside, if there’s precipitation that’s fallen or any instruments we need to keep an eye on or change, etc. After your first ‘ob’ is done, repeat this task a quarter of each hour for the next 12 hours, alternating with the other day observer on shift.

-6:00am: After your first ‘ob’, start daily check, reviewing and checking all of yesterday’s observations based on a set protocol.

-9:30am-11:00am: Check is done and now as the Education Specialist you need to set up for a Distance Learning Program entitled ‘Extreme Weather Observations’ to a class of 4th graders in New Jersey.

-11:00am: Write up an article covering MWO’s educational offerings for an upcoming meteorological tech magazine.

-1:00pm: Help out with weekly cleaning chores since your shift is headed down for the week and there are no maids on top of Mount Washington.

-1:30pm: Get back to studying METAR! Each observer at MWO is certified as weather observer and you must pass an exam through the National Weather Service to make sure you know METAR code.

-4:00pm: Write a comment for MWO’s website! Clean up your space for the next shift to come in and have some of your belongings packed up to ensure a quick and safe shift change (you never know when the weather is going to quickly disintegrate).

-5:30pm: You’re done! Free time to hang out before dinner at 6 with all of the observers, interns and volunteers.

-7:00pm: Watch hockey, read and book and get in bed tired as can be at 9pm.

-9:00pm: Go to sleep and get ready to do it all over again (unless it’s Wednesday and it’s time for days off!!).


Brian Fitzgerald,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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