A Winter Surprise for Summer Summit Visitors

2011-06-03 18:05:00.000 – Rick Giard,  Educational Observer

Winter Greets Summer Summit Visitors

Yesterday winter suddenly returned to the summit with subfreezing temperatures, thick glaze icing and gusty winds. At 9:34 last night we recorded a peak gust of 101 MPH – equivalent to a category two hurricane! Anywhere else this wind would be a big news story, yet here it is routine. Hurricane-force winds (74+) are seen in every month of the year and on nearly 40% of days. From October to May they occur on one out of every two days, and on one out of every four days it peaks at greater than 100. The record here for June is 136. Although temperatures in the middle 20s are below average (41), they are not even close to the record low for this date (8). Frozen precipitation can also happen regardless of season.

If there is anything one learns living and working on the Rock Pile, it is to expect the unexpected. Essentially a subarctic island in the temperate zone, this peak always surprises. The winter gear is set aside but always within reach. Many visitors to the summit today were sporting summer apparel, stunned to encounter freezing fog on the heels of hurricane-force gusts and wind chills in the single numbers. With no hats or gloves they appeared a little shocked to be buffeted by the bitter onslaught. An alert and enterprising entrepreneur could have done a banner business selling winter hats and gloves.

 

Rick Giard,  Educational Observer

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