first snow and rime!

2008-10-02 17:23:34.000 – Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

The last 24 hours have been very exciting from a meteorological standpoint. Yesterday afternoon we had hail from some thunderstorms in the area. It was foggy and rainy overnight, and the temperature was just above freezing this morning. As it fell throughout the day, rain turned to icy precipitation of all sorts, including our first snow of the season. We were kept busy all morning figuring out what type of precipitation was falling from the sky, and whether anything was even falling at all. Since midnight last night, we have recorded rain, hail, ice pellets, freezing rain, snow, snow grains, freezing drizzle, glaze ice, and rime ice. The weather room windows iced over early this morning, so we have had to venture out more often than our hourly observations in order to keep an accurate record of the conditions. Also, tower deicing has been an hourly activity. We recorded only 0.3 inches of snow, and most of it has blown away or fallen between rocks, so the summit is not by any means snow-covered. However, a good pile of snow drifted against the observation deck wall.

Today was my first experience with rime ice on the summit, which I have been awaiting eagerly since May. We had glaze ice for most of the day, but with temperatures falling to around 20 degrees tonight, the light and fluffy rime should be plentiful. This was my first rime on the summit, but it’s not the first time I have seen rime ice – I encountered similar conditions once while hiking Camel’s Hump on a snowy winter day.

Looking at the forecast, tomorrow should be even more exciting than today, with more snow and higher wind speeds. In fact, according to the current forecast, we won’t see temperatures above freezing until next Monday or Tuesday. The unfortunate downside of all this fog and snow, however, is that we don’t get to see the fall foliage. The leaves were just becoming brilliant when we last saw trees on Wednesday morning, and hopefully we will get a glimpse of them from up here before they are all gone.


Jeff Wehrwein,  Summit Intern

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