Meteorological Winter

2013-12-01 17:31:18.000 – Samuel Hewitt,  Summit Intern

A Black Hawk Circles the Summit Saturday

Happy meteorological winter! As meteorologists, we define winter to be the three coldest months of the year. For most places across the Unites States, including the summit of Mt. Washington, those months are December, January, and February. This is contrary to an astronomical winter, which begins at the winter solstice (December 21st) and ends at the vernal equinox (around March 20th). Even though it may be the “first” day of winter, it has felt like it for much longer here on the Rockpile. This raises an important question; can we really define when the “winter season” is here on the summit? After all, we can and have received snow and chilly temperatures during every month of the year.

In other news, yesterday was one of the nicest days our shift has seen since at least the last time we were up here. High pressure had been building across New England since late Thursday; however we remained in the clouds through Friday due to significant amounts of residual low-level moisture from Wednesday’s storm. As the high crested over the region Saturday, enough dry air was present to clear the summits of fog and allow for near maximum visibility all day. It was nice to come upstairs to the weather room and not have to stare at a wall of white out the window! Taking a minute to look around, it was clearly evident that there was at least a thin coating of snow in many of the surrounding valleys. I could even see snow on the slopes of Killington! The sunshine was short-lived however, as clouds thickened during the late afternoon ahead of an approaching disturbance from the northwest. I awoke this morning to snow showers and the summits were once again obscured by fog.

If you plan on making a trip to the higher summits, be sure to check our higher summits outlook, as weather conditions are always changing up here! While on the website, please consider making a donation to our year-end fundraising campaign. Every little bit helps, so that we can continue our mission here at the Observatory. Thank you!


Samuel Hewitt,  Summit Intern

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