Back to the Rockpile

2016-01-31 07:01:27.000 – Michael Wessler, Summit Intern


After a brief stint at the Observatory last year as an intern working on research, it feels great to be back here for the remainder of the winter. After Mount Washington doled out a round of it’s characteristic brand of extreme weather when I was here last, with temperatures of 34 below, and a gust up to 127 mph, I was hooked and found myself counting the days until I could experience the same again. As a student passionate about mountain weather, there’s no better way to get to know the intricacies of the subject than spending time up here observing and forecasting it, day in and day out.


While this year’s strong El Nino has moderated the winter conditions here in New England, things are no less exciting up on the mountain. Since the start of my time here I’ve seen winds gust to 127 mph, temperatures fall to 22 below, seen a brilliant Brocken Spectre, snow, rime, and a number of beautiful sunrises and sunsets.


Experiencing these extremes is just a small sliver of the day up here. Producing forecasts for the mountain is both a challenge and a treat. It’s very satisfying to apply experience from the many semesters of coursework and forecast practicum, while always learning more about the weather here with each day’s forecast. In addition, I’ve gained an appreciation for just how long the Observatory has been operating through time spent entering historical data from bound books of hourly observations that date back to 1935! Going through and finding summer thunderstorms, heavy rain, or high wind events in the books feels almost like re-living the weather that the observers themselves experienced. As the sun rises on another day and I get a glimpse of that classic view of the northern Presidentials through breaks in the fog, I am reminded how lucky I am to be here and look forward to spending more time at the Observatory.


Michael Wessler, Summit Intern

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