2006-04-03 21:44:33.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

Hole in the clouds…

Before I talk about the impending MAJOR snowstorm, I have to recount a natural phenomenon that we saw this afternoon!

Through the day, we had been watching a layer of clouds work its way in from the west, and by afternoon they had come in pretty thick, dark and gray. The underside of the clouds was taking many neat undulations as the mountainous terrain caused turbulence at their bases…and a watchful eye was kept to the windows through much of the afternoon. As we observed, an incredible display of atmospheric thermodynamics took place before our eyes. Streaks of snow from the base of the clouds quickly lead to a steady shower, which ‘burned’ a hole right through the cloud. From this gray cloud-deck shown a patch of blue sky and below it fell sunlight streamers of snow. But, the snow never made it to the ground, and instead was carried over the southern Presidentials in the strong winds. The pictures show this well…we all found it incredible!

Hole in the clouds
Veils of Virga from the summit

Oh, and then this happened at sunset, but that’s a story for another day!

Now, on to the real excitement. I couldn’t have drawn a more perfect track for a late season snowstorm on Mount Washington than the one that the current forecast holds. A direct bullseye of moisture, cold air and moist upsloping winds will combine to give the White Mountains a snowfall that will likely need to be measured in FEET in the higher elevations! And considering that we haven’t had a real snowstorm since October up here, you might gather that we’re a bit … well, out of shape. The shovels and my back should be getting a workout soon, stay tuned!

Note: For more info on how cloud holes form, click here.


Jim Salge,  Observer

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