Monday’s Winds and Cold
2015-01-06 22:34:37.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
Monday and Monday night can be summarized by two words: cold and windy. As low pressure from Sunday exited, it dragged a strong arctic cold front south and eastward bringing the first blast of cold air for the week ahead. From 0000 EST to 2400 EST, the summit dropped 43F degrees going from 19F/-7C all the way down to -24F/-31C before finally bottoming out. As temperatures were dropping, winds were increasing as a tight pressure gradient set up behind the exiting low to our northeast and an incoming high from our west. As winds ramped up over the day, summits saw a gust over 100 mph for nearly every hour before finally peaking at 129 mph at 2146 EST. And since all anyone tends to focus on during high winds and cold temperatures are our wind chills, the lowest I was able to find and calculate from last night was -74F/-59C (I say “find” since we do not keep an archive of these values since they are not a solid measurement).
With the cold, we were able to show our special overnight guests the ability to turn boiling water into snow (ice crystals to be more specific) and showed bubbles freezing in the air before hitting the ground (although, both of these demonstrations work much better closer to 30 below up here due to our typically high RH values). Additionally, we watched as they attempted to walk around on the deck during the day prior to the higher winds and low temperatures overnight. And several people took the opportunity to snap a pic of our speed indicator as it was pegged out at 100 mph (see below). We posted a similar picture on social media and had to continually respond to people thinking that our instrumentation was limited to 100mph. This is not the case – what this indicator is used for is a quick reference and nothing more. Our winds are recorded digitally and on an analog form that are calibrated to upwards of 285 mph or higher. So no worries, we were able to easily measure yesterday’s high winds and are ready for recording the next Big Wind when it occurs.
Lastly, while Monday was noted as cold and windy, on the cold side of things, those aren’t even the coldest readings (or wind chills for those concerned) that we will see this week. Wednesday night into Thursday, summits are expected to bottom out somewhere between -30F/-34C and -40F/-40C. While winds will once again be increasing, they are not expected to be anywhere near the triple digits of Monday; as of now we are looking at a range of 50-70 mph with some occasional higher gusts. That means wind chills may feel like that they are somewhere between -80F/-62C and -90F/-68C at times. This also means exposed skin will see frostbite setting in in less than 5 minutes. And the chill won’t be limited to just the summits, in the same time frame, temperatures will be sub-zero, with areas of the north getting down somewhere between -20F/-29C and -30F/-34C with wind chills expected to possibly be as low as -40F/-40C in the far north. So it will be a chilly night ahead from the summits all the way to the sea. So please stay safe and warm in the coming days.
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist