Last night

2006-08-08 08:42:39.000 – Christy Schultz,  Summit Intern

The crew watching lightning from the weather room.

To many people summer means ice cream stands and heading to the beach, but for me, meteorologists, and weather enthusiasts, summer means thunderstorms! Every year I anxiously await the cold frontal passages that yield strong lines of storms and produce frequent lightning and heavy rain. Last night, we got to experience that exact scenario.

After closely watching the weather all day yesterday and speculating if we would be hit by a thunderstorm, around 8:30 last night a storm popped up right over us. Ryan quickly shut down all of our computers (leaving only one on for radar and observations) and the rest of summit crew ran upstairs to the weather room to see the show. Within a few minutes, the wind picked up and heavy rain was beat against the windows. Since we were in the fog, the frequent lightning flashes lit up the entire sky but the individual bolts were not visible. Our first cell moved through and was quickly followed by another that just barely clipped the mountain, giving us another light show. Around 9:30 the storm departed and left us with a normal night in the fog.

Thunderstorms are so unique up here because they are almost always severe. The criteria for severe storms are to have 3/4” hail and/or 55 mph wind gusts. Since we usually have high winds before the storm, it is quite easy for the summit to have a ‘severe’ gust of wind during the actual event. Jim joked last night that the summit frequently experiences ‘severely sunny’ days if you take into account our winds!


Christy Schultz,  Summit Intern

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