An Analogy.

2007-08-31 01:45:12.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Meteorologist

11pm – Thunderstorms over Canada.

Impulse: The immediate reaction or desire to perform some action.

Regret: To feel sorrow or disappointment about something that has passed.

I experienced both these words in a span of less than five seconds today. As a downdraft from a thunderstorm came down on the summit, winds boosted from around 10 mph up to 62 mph in less than a minute. Since winds this high were unexpected, we were kind of caught off guard. Our submarine door (a door off a submarine located at the base of the tower) was left open to cool things down. When the high winds arrived, heavy rains began which started to fill the base of our tower with water. So in an impulse move, I ran downstairs to close the door and in the handful of seconds it took me to close the door, I became soaked from head to toe like I had fallen into a pool. After the fact, I regretted not grabbing my LL Bean rain coat before closing the door because the only thing left dry on me were the toes of my socks in my gore-tex boots. But working up here, the words impulse and regret are just a way of life.

Another example happened the night before. A line of thunderstorms located 140 miles to the northwest (Canada) were firing off 18 flashes of lightning or more per minute. Everywhere else, skies were mostly clear allowing for a full moon to shine brilliantly. So in an impulse, I decided to run down and tell everyone in the living room to take a look. I did this knowing how fast a thunderstorm can die off at times and I didn’t want any regrets that no one else could experience this rare site. Jon Cotton grabbed his camera and provided the picture appended to this comment. This was taken with a long exposure at 11 pm on August 29th. The headlights of cars on Route 2 can be seen driving away from Lancaster. The surrounding landscape is being lit by pure, unfiltered moonlight making it look almost like a day shot. The bright white clouds in the center of the frame are the tops of the cumulonimbus clouds associated with the thunderstorm. They are being highlighted by the numerous strikes of lightning, not the moon. It was a moment I won’t soon regret seeing up here.


Ryan Knapp,  Meteorologist

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