Eleventy One One Day

2007-02-25 07:39:43.000 – Jon Cotton,  Observer

Sometimes sunset looks like this

Another quiet morning on the mountain, except this time it snowed upward.

The best way to describe the overnight was ‘mostly clear’. Humidity was 85-90% from yesterday on through. Western undercast conditions slowly dissipated after midnight. But just about every hour, there was either light fog blowing over the summit or an even thinner band of cloud wafting a couple hundred feet above the tower. Occasionally, visibility would be reduced to official fog definitions of 5/8 statue miles or less but 110 miles was the norm. It has been this way since 9am yesterday. Flirting so closely on the border of fog for so long is rare. The hiking trip that arrived yesterday enjoyed one of the best days we’ve have this year. Including sunset, sunrise, altocumulus lenticulars, a short period of near towering altocumulus, a full undercast to the west and 120 mile visibility this morning. Oh, yesterday’s north winds were a treat too. Though as Neil put it, disconcerting upon stepping out the tower door.

With such wonderful conditions, Neil, Mike and I went out for a gallivant. It was a short circuit down Trinity Heights and over to Gulfside. There we stood embracing the full force of north winds accelerating out of the Great Gulf carrying billowing fog and wind chill.

Alan took advantage of the undercast sunset by setting up some video that might make it onto tomorrow’s Obscast. These weekly videos showcase life and weather on the summit in ways that prose can never do. It gives us a way to show what we do and what the weather does to us. Remember though, Obscast is a member benefit. Membership = video + webcams views. That is a plug because we are non-profit and member supported.

Right, you might be curious about the snowing up phenomena. So the scene at 4:45am was a continuation of the high humidity borderline situation. Except the fog was coming in thicker, pouring up from the typical northwest direction. I could see the cloud top about 500 feet overhead. It rolled over the deck and occasionally blocked the lights of Portland ME. On my walk back to the tower I felt the feel of snow hitting my face. Turning on the lights I could see small glints coursing around the tower and over the rail. My first thought was ice crystals. There’s no way anything substantial is precipitating out of this meek cloud. The snow board proved me wrong displaying well-formed snow flakes along with broken grains. I could be wrong, but I don’t believe a 400′ tall cloud could produce snow flakes. Therefore it snowed uphill.

Oh and the Other Reason it was not a quiet morning is because Neil woke up to a holiday party in the weather room. Caribbean music, streamers, pie, candy, celebrities making computer image appearances, things covered in yellow highlighter, dancing and sparklers. I’m not kidding. The occasion? Today Mount Washington has 11 hours and 11 minutes of possible sunlight. Everyone knows this is a hobbit reference worthy of a party. Happy Eleventy One One Day!!!!!


Jon Cotton,  Observer

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