Another week, a day late.
2013-04-04 17:26:41.000 – Brian Fitzgerald, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
The snowcat next to one of the major drifts.
It’s back to work for the Mike, Mike and Brian shift, though for the second shift in a row we are starting the work week a day late, thanks in part to nasty shift-change-day summit conditions. It might have been sunny and beautiful down in the valley yesterday, but up here on the rockpile the other shift experienced wind gusts topping out at 118 MPH blowing snow all around the summit cone. Yesterday stayed so consistently windy that the average wind speed stayed well above hurricane-force at 86.7 MPH. Let’s also not forget yesterday’s maximum temperature was only 8 degrees with a minimum of -2 creating some pretty unforgivable wind chills. For obvious reasons, we did not want to risk breaking down in the snowcat on a day like yesterday.
Today’s trip to work was much like two weeks ago following another round of snow, high winds and blowing snow. Under ideal conditions our trip up the eight mile auto road in our snowcat takes roughly one hour; however, two week ago it took us nearly three hours, while today lasted nearly two and one half hours. With all of the snow drifting and compacting from the brutal winds the auto road needed some serious back and forth plowing to move concrete-like drifts measuring nearly ten feet in some places.
Luckily for the other shift, and also for our EduTrip this evening (our friends from the Blue Hill Observatory are up), we made it the full eight miles ready to start the work week, a day late once again. While this shift has certainly lucked out with extra days off, we have no doubt that the mountain will help balance this injustice out in the future.
If you’re looking for a fun activity in the Mount Washington Valley, make sure to check out our free Weather Discovery Center where we’re currently featuring a new gallery on loan from Plymouth State University’s Museum of the White Mountains called ‘To the Extremes: The Geology of Adventure in the White Mountains’.
Brian Fitzgerald, Weather Observer/Education Specialist