First, biggest, most.
2010-11-17 15:56:07.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
“I wish I could stay longer but…” We have all muttered these words at some point in our lives replacing “…” with some sort of reason as to why we couldn’t stick around. As a kid, it might be “I wish I could stay longer but…my mom says it’s dinner time.” As a teen, it might be “I wish I could stay longer but…it’s past my curfew.” As a college student, you may have muttered “I wish I could stay longer but…I have a term paper worth 25 percent of my graded due tomorrow and I haven’t even started.” And as you get into the real world, a common one becomes “I wish I could stay but…I have work in the morning.” And another example I found myself saying today was “I wish I could stay longer but…it’s shift change day.”
So, why after working eight “days” (and I say “days” but I actually work the night shifts) in a row on the isolated peak of Mount Washington would I want to stay an extra day? Well, it all comes down to the weather. I know, big surprise. Not so much todays weather but the weather that is expected overnight into early Thursday morning, what would normally be my shift if I were still up. While forecasting this morning for the higher summits forecast, I started looking at various forecast models. As todays low exits overnight into tomorrow, I noticed the pressure gradient forming in its wake over New Hampshire was quite steep in all four models I pull from when forecasting. So I then turned to the Model Output Statistics (MOS for short) page to look at some of the projected wind speeds that might occur. Wednesdays numbers were strong but nothing impressive (at least for Mount Washington). But then overnight, the models had wind speeds climbing and at around 4 am EST, the average hourly wind speed was projected to land between 100 and 120 miles per hour. And if this is the hourly wind speed, higher gusts can usually be expected.
Now, it should be noted that I have experienced plenty of hourly speeds of 100 mph and gusts well over that (158 mph to be exact), but that isn’t the reason I wish I was staying longer. The reason I say “I wish I could stay longer…” is so our crew would be the first crew to get the coveted first century gust of the winter season. Between the two shifts, there always seems to be three coveted claims for wind and snow that we aim for during the winter season: first, biggest, and most. Now, while we always want to get the trifecta, we usually have to settle on one or two of these with “first” usually being the easiest and quickest claim to take. We don’t get a medal, a certificate, or a trophy for taking one or all of these. Instead we get something better: bragging rights for a years time. So, with the storm staying on track, the models staying on track and the other shift sitting pretty on the summit currently, it looks like the bragging rights for first century gust of the 2010/2011 season will be going to them by tomorrow morning. I just wish I could have stayed longer to be part of the experience. I guess barring any drastic changes in the weather patterns or instrument failure, I will just have to aim for bragging rights to the the other two claims. And for those, we will have to wait until May, so stay tuned…
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist