My Last Week on Mt Washington
2017-08-08 07:29:29.000 – Elizabeth Perry, Summit Intern
Somehow, my internship at the Observatory is coming to a close. These past few days, I’ve been able to reflect on everything I’ve learned over the past weeks on the summit and a few things I have grown to appreciate here.
Since I study geology in college, I haven’t had many chances to study weather forecasting besides very briefly in my one meteorology elective that I took last fall. I don’t think I will ever get the chance again to create meaningful forecasts for outdoor enthusiasts in the White Mountain region. Not only are these forecasts special due to the topography and unique climate, but they are also used every day by backcountry users. This leaves little room for error and I’ve been able to hone in my weather forecasting skills and learn more about how weather patterns tend to act while passing through the Northeast.
I’ve given dozens of tours, reinforcing my communication skills and knowledge of Mt. Washington’s history while getting to know future meteorologists, people who wish they were meteorologists, passionate hikers, knowledgeable New Englanders, and just curious tourists. Sharing my experiences and knowledge with others has been very rewarding.
I’ve experienced some wild weather and atmospheric phenomena alongside peers and observers. Having never been in consistently high winds and low visibility before, the prospect of living and working in truly the worst weather in the world was an experience in and of itself. As I’m writing this, the summit is seeing sustained 70 mph winds with gusts to 80 mph. I only have to step outside to feel its power, and can return to the warmth of the weather room.
Several times earlier this summer, our dinners were interrupted by the tinny sound of hail echoing through our vents. A few afternoons, I’ve been torn from my desk to look at beautifully colorful rainbows that somehow disappear as soon as they form. My first week on the summit, I was awoken at 2:30 am to view the Northern Lights from the observation deck. According to our night observer, the lights were the some of the strongest he’s seen in 11 years, and the night happened to be relatively clear. Finally, the sunsets I’ve watched on the mountain, although more often than not have been difficult to view due to the frequent heavy cloud cover, on rare occasions were stunningly beautiful.
I’ve enjoyed living on the highest peak in the Northeastern United States with passionate and knowledgeable meteorologists and fellow interns, sharing interesting dinner conversations and bonding over our unique jobs.
Elizabeth Perry, Summit Intern