A Meyers Lemon Day

2012-02-02 23:13:21.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Sunset setting above a sea of clouds today.

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade; and the summit certainly provides us plenty of days I would classify as “lemons” that we just have to work through. High winds, bitter cold, dense fog, blowing snow, freezing rain, etc. make outdoor work challenging. Occasionally we get a handful of days that are just stellar and sweet like a mandarin or an orange but more commonly we get more “Meyer Lemon” days like today. To those of you unfamiliar, a Meyer Lemon isn’t like the common, cheap lemon you pick up at your local grocer. These are a specialty “lemon” that, although similar in looks to a common lemon, tends to be sweeter, less acidic, and just a bit tangy (typically you can eat them without puckering your face much). It gets that way cause it is the mule of the fruit world; a different species than its “parents” since it is an offspring of a lemon and (typically) an orange or mandarin. So it a middle ground between the sourness of the lemon and the sweetness of an orange, which is why I am classifying today as a Meyer Lemon; it had the bite of a cold winter day, but the sweetness of a stellar, bluebird day.

Early this morning, the clouds sunk below the summit providing the summit of Mount Washington the look of an island in the sun surrounded by a “sea” of clouds. As the clouds sank, the winds also diminished allowing us to take advantage of the weather at hand. So far it may sound like a sweet day, but there was still the bite of cold temperatures and a light breeze that made it feel even colder. But we can handle cold, especially with all of our Eastern Mountain Sports winter gear. So we pounced on as many outdoor chores as we could. One big task was shoveling anything and everything we could; front entrance, parapet, fire exits, deck entrance, and precipitation can. While we shovel daily, after relentless storms, shifting winds, and a fairly significant riming event the past few days, there was a lot to dig out.

Once we finished digging, Rebecca started to fix our parapet safety cable as it snapped a little over a week ago and today was the first “nice” day we had to do a thorough repair of it. And lastly, I went out and tried to rake off the web cameras and weather room windows. While I was able to get the north view camera and windows freed up, the west view was under so much rime and glaze ice, I could barely make a dent in it. So it is up to Mother Nature to compromise with Father Winter to help us melt this view out. And while I was able to use our special “rake” to do this job, most of the year we can’t do this since the windows are typically too high up for any of us to reach. But due to heavy and deep drifts up here in front of the windows, our 10 foot pole allowed even the smallest of observers (me) to reach them and clear them off a bit (there’s a joke in that statement, I just know it). So, while it was a lot of exhausting work for all of us up here today, it was enjoyable and anytime we can get outside is a good thing, even on a Meyers Lemon of day.


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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