Brush Up On Your Knowledge

2013-01-21 18:32:45.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

The Red Brush – My favorite new tool.

This week, we got a new tool on the summit. So what is it, you might ask? A new anemometer? A new forecasting model? A new crowbar? Nope, none of these things. The new tool I am referring to is a brush. Yep, you read that correctly, a brush. A simple, run of the mill, plastic handled, bristle ended brush; the kind you can pick up at any gas station or quick-e-mart around the country. So, why am I so excited about something so simple as a brush? Well, let me explain.

In the winter time, we get what is called rime ice, which (in simplified terms) is formed when supercooled droplets hit a surface and freeze, creating “feathers” of rime over time. There is a bit more to rime and I could write a whole Observer Comment on that subject alone, but that would be getting off the topic of our new brush (but, you can read more about rime by clicking here or searching through our past Observer Comments). So, as rime ice forms, it covers anything and everything outside resulting in us going out at least once an hour to deice all of our instruments. Some instruments can be deiced used a sledge hammer or a crowbar but our more sensitive instruments need something a bit more delicate, and that is where a brush comes in handy.

Most of the time, any size brush will do as a majority of the instruments that need to be brushed are well within all of our reach. However, a few instruments we need to brush off are not within reach for someone that is…slightly vertically challenged as I am. So to deice these tall instruments, I either have to stand on my tippy-toes, bring a ladder out with me, or do a whole lot of jumping (and looking like I am listening to “Jump” by Kris Kross all the while). Last year, we got a brush with a handle, so I no longer needed a step ladder but I still needed to do some hops to reach everything I had to sweep off. However, this week, we got a long handled brush and I can now deice without any vertical displacement (ie, jumping) on my behalf. So yes, to some it is just a brush, but to me, it is one of the best new tools we have up here as it makes my job easier and safer and for that, I am grateful.


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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