2008-09-26 17:13:31.000 – Mike Carmon,  Summit Intern

Undercast on 9/16

The life of a meteorologist is not your typical one. n

n I’m sure that there are other professions in the world that may be more competitive, stressful or meticulous. However, one substantial truth separates meteorologists from the rest of the pack—weather is a passion for us, not just an occupation. And you can bet that in the many years prior to finding a niche, each one of us goes through some significant realizations as to why we are the way are. That is, why do we find those clouds so fascinating? Why are we praying for a thunderstorm when everyone around us is hoping for a sunny day? Why are we glued to satellite and/or the television when a hurricane’s landfall is imminent? And why do we run into the midst of weather conditions that everyone else flees?n

n Whenever I give a tour on a calm day (by Mt. Washington standards), I almost always slip the phrase “it’s boring up here today” into my monologue somewhere. This comment is generally received with some polite laughter by the group, but without fail someone in said group always tells me how lucky they are to have made the trip up on such a day. In my opinion, however, that is incredibly unlucky, considering what one could witness atop the summit. Spoken like a true meteorologist, I suppose. n

n Don’t get me wrong—I love a hot sunny day from time to time as much as the next person. But the monotonous SoCal weather—what many consider a utopian climate—would drive me insane. Any meteorologist that agrees with me on this point probably has received the blank stares that I have after dropping that line. n

n In taking my first weather course at Rutgers University, a class called Elements of Meteorology, I was amazed to watch a good number of individuals around me struggle daily with concepts that I would spend no appreciable amount of time attempting to comprehend. The fact was that many of my peers were taking this class to fulfill an elective requirement, and could care less about the more in-depth concepts that I was chomping at the bit to dive into. Those concepts finally appeared in my senior year, when I was at last being placed with a small group of people who shared my same “disease.” They were just as enthused as I in discussing recent significant events and forecasting the weather to come.n

n But I’ve never felt more at home than in the few weeks I’ve spent up here at the Observatory. It only took two shifts for me to experience hurricane force winds (93 mph thanks to Ike’s leftovers), and I’m seeing more dynamic weather than I’ve ever witnessed in 22 years of seeking it. The undercast that I saw early one morning (pictured above) was particularly breathtaking. And the best part about it all is I’m surrounded by individuals who look forward to it as much as I do. Hearing Brian and Ryan talk about the 100+ mph winds with heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures they’ve experienced up here on the summit only makes the calm 50 degree days go by that much slower. The daily ferocious winds that Mt. Washington’s winters are known for cannot arrive fast enough for me, and I know I’m not alone on that sentiment.n

n That might sound like a disease, but it keeps life interesting. And be aware—it might be contagious.


Mike Carmon,  Summit Intern

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