2008-01-03 22:08:58.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
It looks like art to me.
If I kept a journal, it may read like this for the past three days…
New Years Day! Aubrie (former intern), Brian (observer) and I went skiing to ring in the New Year. Snow was not expected until 4 pm that day but when we arrived at the resort at 11 am, a few flakes began to fall followed by more and more with each minute. When we were forced to quit due to the resort closing for the night, there was about 8 inches of new powder on the ground. It was E-P-I-C and probably about the best conditions I have skied on since arriving on the east coast nearly three years ago.
Shift change! I had stayed in North Conway for the night to hitch a ride up with Brian since my car (which I call “the weasel”) would not have been able to handle the approximate foot of new snow on the ground. It was quite a sight to see the deep drifts and newly fallen snow that had yet to move. As the day progressed though, the fresh snow on the summits would begin to migrate east as the winds began to increase. Into the afternoon hours and into the night, blowing snow was whipped up to a height of a four-story house at times as it moved from the western slopes of the mountain to the east like a giant comb over. Familiar objects blurred giving surrounding cities a fuzzy appearance like looking through the bottom of a coke bottle or Saran Wrap. Compile the winds with plummeting temperatures and it mad for a memorable night, not record breaking but memorable.
What a difference a day makes. Winds have sculpted a whole new summit with drifts existing where once level snow had been. Jagged streaks of snow angled northwest displaying the directions the winds had been coming from. Strata formed snow dotted the summit like the sandstone formations of the southwest. Temperatures slowly began to increase and winds began to decrease. It is amazing how much warmer 0F feels when just 12 hours earlier I was facing temperatures of -20F and wind chills around -60F. The setting sun shown through the western windows creating a kaleidoscope of colors as the light refracted through some patches of ice. Night rolls in ushering pristine vistas and eerie silence as the winds continue to dampen and the generators are shut off (for now). But despite the difference in sound and appearance that the summit has taken on in 24 hours, there is one big difference we cannot deny. The summit feels empty without Ninja Kitty (aka Nin). But luckily it will only be one week for our shift to be catless as the “Mount Washington Mascot Primary” will decide which feline will reign for the coming years a top the northeast’s highest peak. Will it be Marty, Sarah, Wilson, or a write-in cat-idate that will win the hearts of the summit crew and voters? I guess we will have to wait and see.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist