2010-10-03 22:45:45.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
Not what I forecasted, but I was still prepared.
Every Wednesday prior to coming up for my shift, I check the long range models and numbers and decide what clothing I need to pack to get me through the upcoming week. In the heart of summer, my packing is pretty easy: boxers, t-shirts, a few shorts, a few pants, rain pants, rain jacket, summer fleece and hiking boots. If we do see cold weather during the summer, I have a supply of light winter gear on the summit already to get me through the lull. In the heart of winter, it’s also simple to pack: boxers, thermal pants/shirts, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, snow pants, snow boots, winter shell, winter fleece, winter coat, ice axe, and a variety of gloves, hats, goggles and other little winter essentials. However, in the shoulder seasons of fall and spring, packing becomes a bit trickier and this week is a fine example.
When we headed up on Wednesday, it was shorts and t-shirt weather as we saw some sunshine and temperatures in the 50s. Thursday into Friday, a “gully washer” rolled through and delivered over 4 inches of rain. Despite it warming to 57F on Thursday and Friday (equaling the record on October first), with all the rain, I traded in my summer wear for rain gear from head to toe. Then as the cold front rolled through on Friday, temperatures fell through my shift bottoming out in the mid 20s by the morning on Saturday the second. So, I traded my rain gear in for my winter gear which I continue to wear into today as we remain right around freezing. And looking ahead, I will transition from winter gear back to rain gear for the next few nights then finally shedding my thermals going into Wednesday as we once again rise to the 50s.
So, do you want to know what you need to pack prior to your hike? Well, there are several ways to get weather forecast for the higher summits prior to your trip. If you have a phone (cell, landline or pay), you can call our weather phone and get the 36 hour higher summits weather recording every morning (updated by 6 am) at 603-356-2137 ext 1 or 800-706-0432 ext 1. If you have the internet (computer or smart phone), you can get our forecast (again, updated by 6 am every morning) online for summit and valley locations. If you don’t like our forecasts or want a second opinion, NWS, Gray, ME produces a higher summits forecast as well every morning. If you want a third option/opinion, you can go to whatever other weather provider you prefer (AccuWeather, Weather Channel, etc), and type in our zip code of 03589 and get a model interpreted forecast. While this last option is the least accurate one to rely on, it is at least something. And if this is what you are going to choose to use, use the zip code and not “Mt Washington, NH” because the model interpretation tends to be a bit more accurate with the zip code than by other means. If you don’t have the internet, stop in at AMC Pinkham Notch or AMC Highland Center and check the weather that they post there. If staying at a hotel, ask the front desk for a weather update. Stopping by a local sporting goods store? Ask if they could help you out. Basically, if you need a forecast, there is really nothing stopping you from getting one and packing properly for your trip up or out.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist