2012-08-17 23:24:33.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

The rapidly changing sky from this morning.

Changes have been and are occurring internally and externally here on the summit this summer and in the coming months. If you follow these Observer Comments regularly, you may have read Mike Carmon’s Comment last Wednesday (August 8) about some of the internal personnel changes that are occurring here on the summit. With the departure of some employees, we are spending time training and welcoming the new employees these past few weeks and in the months to come. I’m not going to run down all of these internal changes as Mike did a great job doing that last week. Instead, what I will be doing is mentioning one of our “external” changes that is going on currently.

If you have hiked up here at some point in the last 30+ years or have seen almost any picture taken up here, you are probably familiar with our weather tower (if not, click HERE). This tower houses several of our instruments, including our anemometers (or those instruments that measure our winds). At the top of this tower is a small door that leads to the parapet ring just below the ladder leading up to these wind instruments. The door is about a third the height and width of a normal door, so most people I see using it, have to crouch to get through. Since I am shorter than average, I like to joke and say that to me, it is just a door tailored to my height, but, even in my case, I do have to crouch over a bit to get out through it.

In the summer, this small door leading to the parapet is mainly used by personnel to show members and guests visiting our station, the various instruments mounted up there as well as allow these visitors a brief moment to become the highest people in the northeast. In the “winter” months (October to May for us), this door is used hourly, if not more often, to deice the various instruments housed on top of the tower. So, needless to say, this door is important and one that is used quite frequently year round. Over the years though, it has taken a beating; but similar to Timex watch companies old slogan (“It takes a licking and keeps on ticking”), this door took a beating and kept on swingin’. Over time however, the elements began to take their toll on it and the wood, especially in its framing, was starting to deteriorate and fail.

So, this summer, Slim Bryant (who also operates our snow tractor in the winter if that name sounds familiar to you), has been coming up to size up the door and look into a better solution for it; and today marked phase one of its new replacement. Boy, what an improvement already. The door is harder, made of what appears to be a plastic like material. The door moves about better as it appears lighter and swings open and moves about faster and more freely than the water swollen former door. And some of the framing around it is now steel, making it stronger and more resilient to the elements than the wooden set of previous. In other words, like the Daft Punk/Kanye West song, our door is now “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. But, to show you what I mean, you can click HERE to see it for yourself in an inside/outside comparison picture. So, that’s one bit of change down, with some more to come…


Ryan Knapp,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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