A Spectacular 24 Hours

2012-10-08 23:13:07.000 – Mike Carmon,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Tonight’s Aurora

It’s been quite a thrilling 24 hours up here on Mt. Washington.

Even though I’ve been working up here for as long as I have, with many shift weeks consisting of 8 days completely ensconced in the fog with not a thing to see, there comes those times where it’s an absolute pleasure to exist up on the rock pile.

Last night, snow started to descend around 9:30 P.M., and continued to fall until 3 A.M. In that time, we received about 4 inches of powder, which remained light and fluffy on the ground thanks to a lack of any sort of significant winds. I later remarked to a co-worker that it felt like those few-and-far-between (at least for me, hailing from NJ) Christmas Eve’s, when there was a slight chill in the air, with temperatures in the 20s, and a picturesque snowfall gently blanketing the landscape.

As the sun rose this morning, a brilliant white emerged around the summit, despite the thin fog that lingered from the overnight storm. The first significant snowfall of the Mt. Washington winter season had embraced us!

The fog thickened for most of the day thereafter, keeping the surrounding scenery to a bare minimum. Despite the inclement weather, which included some additional snow showers, hordes of visitors still managed to make their way up today, via the Cog Railway or miscellaneous hiking trails.

Fittingly, as the last Cog full of passengers departed for the valley, the fog promptly cleared, saving the best views for those of us who call this mountain home. Snow had blanketed many of the surrounding peaks of the White Mountains as well, providing an amazing contrast with the shades of fall foliage still dotting the lower elevations.

And, if that wasn’t enough, as I was ascending the tower at around 10 P.M. this evening, one of our volunteers called from above, enlightening us that an Aurora Borealis was occurring outside. I ran up to the Observation Deck, and witnessed some of the most brilliant ribbons and colors I had ever seen in the northern sky. I managed to snap a photo of the color, although pictures never do these phenomena any semblance of justice.

Say what you will about Mt. Washington, but as a meteorologist, today was one of the most fulfilling days I have yet to experience up here. Incredible!

 

Mike Carmon,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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