2007-04-16 05:53:07.000 – Jim Salge, Meteorologist
Drifts inside the tower…
Update: Wind directions continue to keep work conditions challenging. Here is a video of our protective front door airlock buckling in the east winds. The decision has been made not to open it …
Update #2: Winds have now peaked out at 156mph today, which the crew believes, at a quick glance of the records, is only the 3rd Category 5 strength wind since 1996!
If there was ever a question as to why the Mount Washington Observatory remains a manual station to this day, the current situation on the summit should answer that. Things aren’t going that well, but all things considered, they are fine. But without constant instrument attention…
The whole crew has been forced awake to attend to the instruments in a glaze ice storm that has challenged even the heated instruments. Icing accumulations are ranging from 4 to 6 inches of glaze ice per hour from freezing rain. Wind driven sleet mixed in with the rain is only adding to the challenge, and helmets and double layered face protection is required. The most challenging activity thus far though has been simply going outside, and then re-closing the door. A near futile fight! Winds are blowing nearly straight into the tower, and you can see the results from the picture above.
The effort has been paying off though, and wind speed readings have been kept accurate. The peak gust is 143 mph so far, in winds about as gusty in nature as I’ve ever seen. Winds should increase slightly through the morning, and should slacken a bit this afternoon. We’ll need the break by then!
Jim Salge, Meteorologist