2006-04-24 07:46:00.000 – Tim Markle,  Chief Observer

Cap Cloud and Freezing Rain

A complex weather pattern of three areas of low pressure to our west and one strong area of high pressure to our east has made for some interesting weather atop the summit this past weekend. Clouds spilled into northern New England throughout the day on Saturday, keeping temperatures down. This was not a good thing, as the snow for the Inferno race in Tuckerman Ravine did not have a chance to soften up as it did on Thursday and Friday. Participants found themselves skiing on a very icy surface, instead of having soft, corn snow to ski upon.

The differences between the forecast models and the actual weather continued Saturday and into Sunday. Rain moved in overhead by late Saturday morning. However, due to the large area of high pressure and the extremely dry conditions (relative humidity values of 5% to 20% over all of northern New England) the precipitation did not actually reach the ground until late that night or into the early morning hours of Sunday! In fact, the summit did not go into the fog until around 4pm Sunday afternoon!

With the models not handling the storm situation well, the forecast for the summit was tricky. Temperatures were expected to rise into the mid 30s on Sunday, but instead held in the lower 20s. We were expecting sleet and freezing rain, however, more snow fell and the summit received about 1.5 inches of snow, mixed with the sleet and freezing rain.

With primarily freezing rain now falling, de-icing has been a constant chore. The summit has been transformed back into a winter landscape, a winter landscape that extends about halfway down the mountain. A cold front will move through on Tuesday, bringing more snow showers and colder air. So much for that spring warm-up!

One exciting and non-weather related event to happen today will be the implementation of the Mount Washington Observatory’s new web page! This new website has been in the works for well over a year now. The staff has spent countless hours thinking about ways to make our site better and more user-friendly. We have already seen it, as it has been active for the summit staff for a couple of weeks now, and I think all of you will be just as excited. It should be available for public use as early as this afternoon, barring any glitches.


Tim Markle,  Chief Observer

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