2011-04-25 20:56:21.000 – Mike Carmon,  Staff Meteorologist

Our Own River

Water, water, everywhere!

April certainly has a reputation for being a wet month across the country, and it has certainly lived up to its name, even up here.

We’ve indeed had the April showers (some rain, some snow, some ice), but the more significant hydro-issue has been the melting snow and ice pack. If you’ve visited the summit, you know we boast a summertime entrance/exit to our tower known as the submarine (or ‘sub’) door, which is located at the base of our tower on the west-northwest side. During the winter time, the door is sealed from the inside, as the prevailing westerly winter winds blow lots of snow and ice into this door, completely burying it every season.

As temperatures begin to rebound during the spring months, melting snow and ice begin to seep down through the snow pack, and find their way into the minute cracks in the tower in the vicinity of the sub door. When we arrived last Wednesday, temperatures were above freezing, and a river of water began to flow into the tower through the sub door. The problem? Our carpeted living quarters are within feet of this entrance, and an impromptu lake amidst our cozy quarters is not exactly ideal. So, we dragged out the sump pump, and pumped the water up a hose and into the great outdoors.

Since then, temperatures have remained very close to or below the freezing mark, and the river stopped flowing. However, the mercury rose enough today to allow the resumption of this current of water, so the sump pump was switched on once again. The rate of flow is much more rapid this time, and we are expecting quite a bit of rain combined with temperatures breaking into the 40s over the next day or two. As you can imagine, that prompted me to dig out the shovel and ice chipper and start chipping away at the pack in front of the sub door. I made some progress, but the amount of compacted snow and ice will take multiple days to remove. So, I will keep a watchful eye on the ‘Washington River’ throughout the night tonight, hoping our nifty sump pump will be able to match its bountiful flow.


Mike Carmon,  Staff Meteorologist

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