2006-05-01 05:03:29.000 – Neil Lareau,  Observer


May: As the calendar changed last night I was reminded of May last year. More specifically, I was reminded of the end of May; A period that played host to 154 consecutive hours of east winds. East winds this time of year on the summit usually mean a couple of things. They mean cold ocean moisture banking against the mountains, they can mean heavy precipitation, they can mean heavy icing, and they can mean the dreaded wintry mix of precipitation as temperatures hover near freezing. Such was the case last year, and now… winds are east and will be until Wednesday. An ocean storm is slowly retrograding (moving east to west, and counter to the normal westerly flow for this latitude) and will slowly push a swath of moisture westward through New England starting late tonight. A wintry mix of precipitation is possible.

Night: The last three evenings have all featured a setting yellow crescent moon with strong earthshine illuminating the “dark side” of the moon.

Night observing is an interesting beast. You sit alone through the night with dimmed red lights and good music. You drink coffee and try to conjure clouds from the dark.

Changes: The minutes that follow the projection of evening shadows across the eastern snow fields are incredible. In a time scale that is nearly mystifying the snow transitions from a malleable consistency to an ice bonded structure that fractures into golf ball sized pieces. Soon thereafter it is essentially one cohesive layer of textured ice. At the same time the slip of air nearest the surfaces quickly cools. In the absence of the sun, it becomes dense and drains downslope. If you’ve just hiked up the length of the pitch twice and are on now on your last ascent, heading back to your work place, this creates a wonderful cooling breeze.

Skiing: The sun, light winds, and warm temperatures combined to modify last week’s fresh snowfalls into perfect spring corn snow yesterday afternoon. All aspects of the mountain were skied, including some impressive lines into the Great Gulf off of Mount Clay. Brian, Ryan, and I made an excursion to the snowfields; big surprise. Yes, we talk about the snowfields a lot, they are quite nice. And yes we do actually do work, we don’t just ski all day. Anyway, the snow was perfect, holding turns of all radii and allowing for uninhibited speed and frolicking. Brian got some nice picturespic 2pic 3

Monday mornings: Perhaps you are sitting at work reading this web entry, perhaps you’re at home getting ready to go to work and doing the same. Is this your home page, is it your connection to the mountains that you love, to New England from which you have moved? Are we part of your daily routine? I know it was of mine before I worked here. If it is, I ask you to take a moment to click here and to help us continue to provide content to this site, our free forecasts, our devotion to education, and our commitment to the science of the atmosphere. Thank you.


Neil Lareau,  Observer

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