2012-09-19 23:06:14.000 – Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
The summit at night is a completely different experience than the daytime scene.
Having been a summit employee for over four years, I’ve seen my fair share of fascinating phenomena. But I can say, without hesitation, that the vast majority and the most notable of these experiences have come during the nighttime hours. As ironic as it may sound, most of these experiences have to do with the concept of light during these dark hours. Because of the dark setting, different forms of observable nighttime lights take on a whole new significance:
LIGHTS FROM ABOVE: Hailing from central NJ, a star-filled night sky is not something I was ever accustomed to. However, on a crystal clear winter night on the summit, the observable stars rival any planetarium you could find around the world.
LIGHTS FROM BELOW: City lights from nearby towns and faint-orange glows on the horizon from distant metropolis’ skylines not only serve a functional purpose in determining prevailing visibility, but also provide an interesting nighttime valley landscape.
LIGHTS FROM THE NORTH: The Aurora Borealis (northern lights) is a spectacular light show that not many will ever behold in their lifetime, and the only opportunity to view it on the summit will come during the nighttime hours.
LIGHTS FROM THE CLOUDS: Being a meteorologist, and in particular, a fan of severe weather, clear nights resulting in the viewing of the above spectacles can grow tiresome. There’s plenty of action and adrenaline with night-lights, too, in the form of lightning-producing-thunderstorms. During the summertime, thunderstorms within view of the summit are a common occurrence, and storms striking the summit itself happen multiple times throughout the warm season. While the viewing of a distant light show is downright awe-inspiring, the experience of a storm right over one’s head, with lightning regularly striking the structures around you, is exciting and incredible.
Mike Carmon, Weather Observer/Meteorologist