2008-02-14 22:29:19.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
Another day comes to an end.
It was an uneventful Thursday shift change. Wait a minute; something is not right with that last sentence. Spelling? No, spell check didn’t come up with any errors. Grammar? No, nothing came up when grammar check was used. So what could possible be wrong? If you frequent our observer comments, it may be fairly obvious but if not, you might be thinking nothing is wrong with my first sentence. But what is wrong is the word “Thursday.” Normally, our shift changes occur on Wednesdays but the events of Wednesday led us to postpone our shift change to today. But let’s rewind a bit over 48 hours to explain how this happened.
Tuesday night, Brian, Steve and I as well as most New England forecasters all saw the same thing heading our way for Wednesday. We all saw a potent low pressure system that was expected to bring a significant amount of snow for the North Country Tuesday night into Wednesday. Since Steve and I both only have two-wheel drive vehicles, we decided to crash at Brian’s place and car pool to the base on Wednesday in his AWD Subaru. Around 10:30 pm EST, the snows began and we all went to sleep for an early rise the next morning.
Wednesday morning, we woke to three to four inches of new snow with a fall rate of about and inch an hour at 6 am EST. In my mind, I felt like a little kid waiting for the phone call that our short bus (the snow cat) would not be going and school (work) was going to be closed due to the snow. But that call never came like usual. So we loaded up and headed to the grocery store to pick up supplies. Then we slowly made our way to the base of the auto road to ascend.
We shoveled our co-workers cars out waiting for our operator to arrive since we were early. At 8:30 am EST, our operator arrived and pulled the cat out for us to load up. One of our wiper motors was broken but one was still working so we were still going to attempt an ascent. We finished loading and the up coming crew loaded up, nervously waiting to go. Seconds later, our operator opens up the back door and informed us that both motors were blown so shift change was cancelled until Thursday, a first for the three of us. You would think that I would have had this happen before in the three winters I have been here but surprisingly not.
We unloaded the cat and started back to Brian’s in North Conway, NH to wait out the storm until Thursday. So there we were, three observers huddled in Brian’s place watching the extended version of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” to kill the time. We kept noting how odd it was knowing that it was a Wednesday but still being in the valley and not on the summit, especially when it is engrained in us that Wednesdays are normally occupied with shift changes, not movie watching as a crew.
By storms end, North Conway seems to have gotten close to a foot of new snow on top of all the snow they already have received this winter. Thursday morning, we piled in once again and headed to the base and up we went on a clear, blue bird sky day arriving to an anxiously down going crew waiting on top. From a meteorological stand point, the contrast between yesterday and todays weather is nothing special. From a non-weather observational stand point, what a difference a day can make.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist