Extremes

2008-11-08 17:12:58.000 – Mike Carmon,  Summit Intern

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Mt. Washington is known as a place of extremes—and it never ceases to amaze. You’ve probably read many of our comments about the “good weather” vs. “bad weather” shift. It’s definitely seemed to work like clockwork around here. But—as I had been begging for in a comment I wrote last shift—I finally got a taste of winter on Mt. Washington. The last Wednesday morning of my previous shift (October 29th), I had the privilege of doing my first bit of de-icing since arriving at the Observatory back in late August during the first observation I did that morning.

Temperatures around 7 a.m. were around 10 degrees, with winds sustained at about 75 mph. Who needs coffee when you have exclusive access to hurricane force winds to get you going in the morning? I had been waiting to experience these conditions for months, so I quickly made my way up the tower. I opened the door to the tower and grabbed the crow bar. Rime ice was everywhere, visibility was minimal and snow was blowing. I made my way up to the parapet, and began the de-icing process. I quickly realized that it would be better to do most of it from a position close to the ground. I did what I had to on the parapet, but did as much as I could from the tower below. I completed the observation and then casually glanced to see what the peak gust was for the past few minutes, as we were hoping to break 100 mph. I noticed a gust to 97 mph fairly recently. I checked the time—6:52 a.m. I had been in the tower at that time! We never did get to that 100 mph mark, but the 97 mph is a record for me and the new benchmark for Jeff and Jordan—the interns on the other shift—to match.

Back to reality now. Temperatures since our shift arrived this past Wednesday (November 5th) have yet to drop below freezing at all (day or night). This is amidst the fact that the average high temperature for the month of November is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average low of about 14. How have the numbers looked for us since Wednesday? Well, why not look solely at yesterday. Our high temperature was 47 (only 3 degrees shy of the record for the day of 50), and the low temperature was 40. But things look to be balancing out once more—with temperatures getting ready to drop below freezing tonight. The summit is certainly a place of extremes.

 

Mike Carmon,  Summit Intern

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