2013-03-05 17:11:06.000 – Rebecca Scholand, Weather Observer/Education Specialist
It has been a long week of fog settled on the summit. Since arriving Wednesday, we have only seen three hours without fog. Average visibility has been under a 1/16th of a mile and feels like a blind fold has been placed over the summit. With not much to see outside, observations definitely take less time. However, constant fog and below freezing temperatures have allowed for ample amounts of rime ice to accumulate. De-icing the top of the tower can take a significant amount of time.
Although our pitot tube anemometer is heated to prevent ice from forming, not all of our instrumentation can be heated. Because of this, it is important for Observers to constantly de-ice. To de-ice, it requires an Observer to climb one flight of stairs and three sets of ladders all the way to the top of the tower where the instrumentation is located. Once there, the Observer strikes the safety ring with a crowbar vibrating the metal just enough to shed the rime ice. By doing this, it allows us to avoid actually hitting any instrumentation mounted off the top of the safety ring.
So although this week has been boring by our typical standards of extreme weather, we sure got a workout from de-icing.
Rebecca Scholand, Weather Observer/Education Specialist