Heating Up for Seek the Peak!

2019-07-18 17:07:43.000 – Ian Bailey, Weather Observer/Education Specialist


We are officially less than 24 hours away from Seek the Peak 2019!!!!

The Observatory is buzzing with excited energy as everyone is cranked into 10th gear and finishing preparations. The valley staff is in full swing setting things up for the Kick Off Party and Hiking Expo at the base. And the summit crew is working hard as well, getting the Observatory prepped for tours, baking cookies and, of course, monitoring the weather for the event.

Speaking of which, the weather is looking fantastic for the next couple of days, albeit very hot! Let’s take a look at what’s going to be going on for the next 48 hours!


Weather Predicition Center Outlook for Friday 1:00 pm 

Conditions appear to be mostly clear for those looking to hike tomorrow! While there is a Hudson Bay Low looking to swing its warm front through the region, it seems like the system will hold off until the later afternoon hours. So it’s looking like it’ll be a mostly clear day, with increasing cloud cover progressing later through the afternoon. And with the warm front on approach, more moisture will be building into the region. Dew points will be on the rise, so it’ll likely be a fairly muggy day in the woods as well. Which brings me to the most important weather note for the weekend ahead.

It’s going to be hot. Quite hot. 

 GFS Surface Temperature Forecast for Friday 1:00 pm

With a weak low level jet built up across the Mid-Atlantic, a large amount of hot, moist air is being brought up from the Gulf of Mexico. This heat wave, which has been slowly on approach from the Great Plains for the last few days, will finally be cresting into the region, just in time for our Hike-a-Thon! As such, Friday’s daytime high temperature should crest just above 90 degrees, with a heat index approaching 100 degrees. The summit will likely be in and out of the fog, with temperatures climbing into the low 60’s. So while things will be a bit cooler at elevation, it’s looking to be quite steamy for those starting off in the valley.


 GFS Surface Temperature Forecast for Saturday 1:00 pm

There is a slight chance for some rain Friday night into early Saturday morning, which would help disperse some of the incoming moisture. But despite conditions appearing to be a bit less muggy for Saturday, it’s going to be slightly hotter for the big event. Skies should be clearing into the later morning hours, with any lingering fog on the summit lifting off as well. So there will be plenty of daytime heating, with the Northeast firmly locked into the warm sector of the departing Hudson Bay low.

At lower elevations, the daytime high temperature will likely crest into into the upper 90’s, with the heat index approaching 105 degrees and light winds. On the summit, temperatures will be climbing into the 60’s, with winds between 25-40 mph to blow off a little bit of the heat. It’s going to be hotter than normal across the board, and we may even break an all-time record if temperatures linger above 60 degrees throughout the period!

So since it’s going to be so stinking hot, it would be wise to review some safe hiking practices related to hot weather to make sure everyone has a safe and wonderful hike this weekend!

1. The key here will be staying hydrated! Bring plenty of water for your hike. Bring extra water so you are sure not to run out! Sweating will be essential to help your body stay as cool as possible for your climb up.

2. Starting earlier in the day might be wise, as temperatures will be slightly cooler earlier in the morning before daytime heating really ramps up. If you can start your hike in the morning, you may be able to avoid the hottest part of the day.

3. Make sure to wear sunscreen! Getting sun burnt will certainly not be helpful in conditions as hot as they will be. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, covering up and wearing light layers that are breathable will help quite a bit. Especially on your head and neck, which will be the most exposed on your hike!

4. Pack some salty snacks! Some good trail mix, nuts, etc. It’s important to keep your electrolytes up, as you’ll be losing plenty of them through sweat. They are essential for keeping your energy up, and you can even pack drink mixes to help manage this.

5. Know your limits! Make sure to take plenty of breaks and not push yourself harder than you can handle. Heat related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke will very much be a reality (both of which you should look into before your hike!) with temperatures that high! So make sure you a prepared, and know that it is a-o-k to turn around and head back to the base if it is getting to be too much! I hear the Hiking Expo and After Party at the base is going to be plenty of fun anyway!!!

So make sure to prepare properly for how hot it’s going to be. Despite the heat, it’s looking to be a beautiful weekend to get out and enjoy nature. This year’s Seek the Peak is going to be a blast, and you definitely wont want to miss out! So stay tuned, check the weather, and get ready for an awesome weekend of hiking ahead! Hopefully we’ll see you here on the summit on Saturday!


Ian Bailey, Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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