2008-02-11 15:47:06.000 – Ryan Buckley, Summit Intern
The weather in the past 24 hours has been entertaining to watch on the charts and even more fun to experience. The day started out in the clouds with freezing fog, snow, blowing snow, no visibility and temperatures in the lower teens. This lasted until about 9:30AM. Then the sky broke giving us a visibility of about 70 miles for approximately one and a half hours. The temp rose a few degrees, and the clouds lifted their veil to a spectacular view of cloud layering that blanketed all but a few valleys and mountain tops like a fluffed comforter tangled on top of an un-made bed. Some of the layers were stacked lenticulars to our northwest, broken clouds below all around the summit, and virga that wrapped around the station from the southwest that arced around clockwise to the north. The virga was falling to our elevation about 25 miles away and was approaching fast. Before the edu-trip had a chance to leave the summit we were enveloped by the snow and freezing fog again.
After taking a few pictures of the edu-trippers departure, I went outside to do a little shoveling that would surely be filled back in by the high winds predicted for that night. While shoveling out the inside of the ceilometer wind break, suddenly the wind picked up and a cold front plowed through the space I was trying to occupy. The winds jumped from 45 MPH to 68 MPH in the matter of seconds and the rime ice and glaze ice from the tower started to blow off. After being hit by a few golf ball size pieces of ice my attention shifted from preemptive shoveling to the large possibility of bigger ice chunks hitting the observers on the next hourly observation. So, I quickly scurried up the ladder and started to break the bigger ice off the 2×8 plank that acts as a railing surrounding the parapet and the glaze ice and rime ice that had attached itself to the concrete wall just below the instruments.
The wind rapidly picked up it’s pace and maxed out with a gust up to 96.3 MPH. So, what do you think happens when you are on top of the mountain and the winds reach that speed? Well it’s called deck riding (using the wind for propulsion as opposed to gravity) on skis, a snowboard, or a sled and you can see a demonstration in this weeks obscast. The obscast is part of the premium web content that we offer to our members. If you would like to become a member, or see some of the other great benefits that we offer click here. When I woke this morning the temperature had dipped to 20 below. The wind chill factor brought the temperature down to 64 below. Well I have to go shovel out a fully snow covered door so I will be going now.
Ryan Buckley, Summit Intern