Hump Day is here!

2009-07-08 04:29:48.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

Tuesdays sunrise.

In life, we all face little humps that we have to get up over to move on with life. With this comment, I will talk about some of the little humps I experience working up here. Why am I writing about my humps? Well, last week when my shift started, I learned what a ‘hump day’ was when I read the title of a facebook posting by the Mount Washington Auto Road. I hade no idea what it was referring to so after some google searches, I found out that a ‘hump day’ refers to the middle of the work week, which is normally Wednesday, because it is like climbing over a proverbial hill to get through a tough work week. For the crew at the Mount Washington Observatory, our hump days are Saturday/Sunday since we start and end our work week on Wednesdays. So I learned a new term but later, I learned from our interns that something else with a hump would be making today’s hump day extra unique as a camel is planning on coming up to the summit via the auto road.

So I have seen foxes up here, seen pictures of bears, and moose but an actual camel will be a first for us. Now, all of this is weather pending so there is a chance looking at today’s forecast that this might not happen but we will see. If you want to find out more information about Josh the camels’ journey, you can check out the auto roads blog. (And as a footnote, this is an auto road event and we are just passing along what we know from their website. All inquires should go to them via their email and phone numbers.)

But those weren’t the only humps of note recently. On June 23rd, we passed the hump of days getting longer with a maximum of 944 minutes of expected sunshine. So from now on, the days will only be getting shorter until December. We passed the half way mark for the common year on July 2nd, 2009 at 12 pm. It was the 183rd day of the year so there were 182 days and 12 hours before it and 182 days and 12 hours after it. So the hump day for the year is now history with 2010 only a blink away. And today, we will be passing another date/time mark that I will never again see in my lifetime. Now, I know this fact won’t be true for everyone. But, for me it is since this is how I write my date and times: month/day/year, hour (out of 24):minutes:seconds. So, today at 10:11:12 EST, my date and time code will read: 07/08/09 10:11:12 EST (or a succession of numbers 7-12).

Now, in meteorological terms, July can mark a climatological hump for the year but for Mount Washington, July marks the start of a new year as our weather calendar starts in July and ends in June the following year. So, this past week I worked through a statistical hump of monthly data to find our yearly maximums, minimums, and averages. So, here is what I found: Our average temperature was 27.4F which was only 0.2F above normal. Our maximum was 68F on August 22, 2008 and our minimum was 27F below on January 1, 2009. We received 94.86 inches of precipitation, 7.05 inches below normal. We received 221.0 inches of snow, 91.6 inches below normal. Our winds averaged 34.1 mph, 0.9 mph below normal with a peak gust of 132 mph from the NW on January 1, 2009. We had 126 days with winds 73 mph or greater and of those, 32 of them had winds 100 mph or greater. We received 33% of our normal sunshine minutes, had 31 days of clear skies, 61 of partly cloudy skies, and 273 days of mostly cloudy or cloudy days. There were 326 days with fog recorded and we had 145 days with rain and 141 days with snow. So, overall an average year except for our precipitation totals which were below what they should have been.

And the last of the humps I experienced this week were physical humps I saw. On Monday, we cleared and I was able to see Camel’s Hump, VT, which is a visibility marker that is 79 miles to our west (we also have plenty of jokes with this mountain). It is also Vermont’s third highest peak and highest undeveloped peak. Monday also brought about a brilliant double rainbow to our east which has the shape of two colorful humps. And had we been able to see them with the naked eye, I am sure the third, fourth, fifth or sixth order rainbows would have been just as brilliant. And the last hump would be the hump of rocks to my right every time I go out to the observation deck to do an observation. This last hump would be the physical summit of Mount Washington at 6288 feet. In the fog or in the clear, this hump serves to remind me of where I am at and one of the reason I enjoy being here no matter what time of the day, week, or year it is.

Observatory footnote: The Observatory’s Summer EduTrip program is in full swing. If you’ve ever wanted to spend a night on top of Mount Washington, and learn more about the weather and environment of the mountain, this is your chance. The trips include transportation up and down the mountain, overnight stay at the Observatory, and informal, guided informational sessions. We still have some spaces open on this week’s trip, which is this Thursday and Friday. So if you’d like to experience life on the Rockpile, click here to learn more.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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