And So the Fun Began
2017-10-05 19:34:06.000 – Nicole Tallman, Summit Intern
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be on top of Mount Washington in high winds? It feels like a strong man pushing against you and fighting your ability to walk forward. And just as you think you’ve gotten enough strength to push through it, the winds drop and you fly forward. Seconds later they pick back up and send your momentum backward. You catch your balance and continue to read into where you think the winds will blow you next, swaying in their force like a flag in the wind. This game of push and drop was what I experienced when standing out in my first 100 mph gust yesterday night.
Before accepting this internship I had never experienced the true force of the wind. The strongest winds that I had felt were those of Superstorm Sandy as it reached my house, however these winds were broken up by buildings and trees and did not truly feature the immense power that winds can have.
Accepting to live at the Home of the World’s Worst Weather meant that it was inevitable to experience things I never had before. Every passing day living on the summit I have hoped for the most extreme weather possible, itching to learn about it’s power and to experience the forces of nature first hand. Wednesday, the fun began.
Wednesday’s are typically a bit hectic with the two shifts switching out on the summit. The day is filled with meetings and briefings about what is to come for the next week on the summit. In one of these meetings we discuss the potential weather for the upcoming shift. It was mentioned that there was the potential for high winds Wednesday night and I lit up with excitement. The highest winds I have seen on the summit so far was from a 90 mph downburst within a thunderstorm. However, the thunderstorm was producing lightning which kept us from going outside to actually experience this downburst. But the winds forecasted for Wednesday night had a good possibility of being ones that we could go outside and enjoy!
As the day went on winds slowly began to rise and by about 8 pm they were increasing more rapidly. As the winds skyrocketed so did the energy of the staff. We all threw on our shoes and jackets and ran outside to feel the winds as they rose. Some of the staff members were only excited to see these winds because it was the first chance at an 100 mph wind event since May. However, I was genuinely thrilled to finally be able to say that I have experienced some of the World’s Worst Weather. The force of the winds was something I had only heard about but had never felt personally. It was a mixture of exhilarating, jaw dropping and slightly terrifying to be able to lean full force into the winds and still be pushed around.
Adam and I had taken this opportunity to climb to the very top of the weather tower and give me a test run of what it will be like come winter. As part of my internship I will be climbing back up that weather tower in just as strong winds and deicing our instruments. Getting this test run of standing up in these intense winds was eye opening to how challenging that task can be! I now have a new respect for the observers who can go up the tower and deice in over 100 mph winds.
Overall Wednesday night’s wind event was something I will never forget. It was the highest winds I have ever felt in my life, it was my first true sample of the Worst Weather on Earth, and it was a small look into the power and beauty this mountain beholds. I cannot wait for winter weather to begin and for more wind events to occur!
Nicole Tallman, Summit Intern