2008-03-05 15:23:34.000 – Kyle Paddleford, Observer
Yesterday I was in a tee shirt taking advantage of the warm temperatures and softening snow to widen the snow banks in my driveway. It felt really nice to not be all bundled up. The air had a warm spring like scent to it.
This morning was a different story. The warm spring like scent was gone, the temperatures had fallen and sleet was now accumulating on all surfaces. I got an earlier start today since I knew the driving was going to be bad. The trip up interstate 93 from Concord was interesting, but not because it was icy. It was all sleet for the first part of the drive. About 30 miles north of Concord it was all rain and temperatures were above freezing. Once I got into the mountains, I could watch the thermometer in my car that reads the outside temperature rise while gaining elevation, and fall while descending into the valleys where cold air had pooled. It was in these lower valleys where the rain would mix with sleet since the cold air was deep enough to allow some of the rain drops to freeze before hitting the ground. There was no freezing rain however as the surface temperatures were still above freezing. After going through Franconia Notch the temperature fell into the mid twenties and the rest of the drive to the base of the auto road was a mix of sleet and snow. Fun stuff!
The snowcat ride to the summit was pretty quick and uneventful for shift change. Awaiting us on top, as always, was the lovable cat Marty, and the less desirable southeast wind. Southeast winds typically bring a clear glaze ice to the summit. Accumulations can become extreme and the weight can be damaging to instruments and structures. Luckily we are only receiving a few inches an hour of accumulation but we still need to be diligent in our deicing practices. Last but certainly not least, sleet in the face at 60 mph. Ouch!
Kyle Paddleford, Observer