My First Winter Week
2013-02-19 18:37:12.000 – Mark Sobkowicz, Summit Volunteer
Stairs coated in rime ice above an undercast.
This morning the temperature was 20F on the mountain with 40 mph winds, which, just a week ago, I would have described as ‘windy and cold.’ A week volunteering here at the Observatory has given me a new appreciation for ‘windy and cold.’ Yesterday morning I was able to experience winds of 115 mph with higher gusts, along with cold of 15F below zero. It was an amazing experience to be able to go out in that, with the warm observatory just a door away, making safe what otherwise would have been life threatening conditions.
It has also been great to be immersed for a week in what I would describe as a weather culture. I learned about big things, such as coastal storms and winter weather patterns in New England. And small things, like the tubes used in the pitot system measure high wind speeds through air pressure. I learned about snowflakes, rime ice, and temperature inversions just by listening to the staff and asking a few questions. The people drawn to live and work here are just as interesting as the weather itself!
I’ve now spent a week here in the summer (this past August) and a week in the winter. I cannot recommend more highly the experience of spending a week at the Observatory as a volunteer. I hope I’ll be back in years to come.
Mark Sobkowicz, Summit Volunteer