2011-05-08 22:23:10.000 – Mike Carmon, Staff Meteorologist
Elusive springtime weather has transformed the summit multiple times in only four days.
Spring is generally a very difficult month for forecasters, because it is a season defined by change. Warmer air is eager to push its way into the country and take the place of wintertime’s retreating colder air. The result is a clash of sometimes epic proportions (as sadly witnessed over the past few weeks across the southern US).
When our shift arrived on Wednesday, rain was falling in buckets from base to summit, making for a wet and foggy journey to the top. When we arrived, I remarked with a hint of surprise to observer Mike Finnegan that ‘Wow. The snow’s gone.’ Patches of snow and ice were lingering in sheltered locations, but for the most part, the snowpack that was formerly an impressive 30+ inches only a few months ago had diminished.
However, the descending rains turned to snow that night, dumping a couple of inches and reprising the feel of winter. The landscape had been completely transformed by sunrise on Thursday morning with a soft white tinge.
Fast forward to today, as the sun rose amidst plenty of exposed rocks and sedge as temperatures sunk to a 2-day low of 30 degrees. The milder air had returned, and the snow had once again been banished to the obscure cracks and crevices.
Springtime is exceptionally brief up here, generally encompassing the end of April and the month of May. Many would make the argument that there is no spring season on the summit, and during many seasons, that is most certainly true. The oscillations between mild and chilly, and between rainy and snowy, seem to have been amplified this time around, a characteristic many would ascribe to spring. Semantics aside, we watch and we wait, to see if mother nature will deal one last winter blast, or if we will be free and clear through the gate into summertime.
Mike Carmon, Staff Meteorologist