2010-12-01 16:15:40.000 – Erica Sandschulte,  Summit Intern

Flying a kite on the observation deck

We are still experiencing significant glaze icing, which may knock out our Internet access. If website updates do not occur for a time, this is the reason and we’ll get it back and running as soon as possible. Trust us – we want Internet access as much as you do!

Today, Wednesday is our shift change day. Our crew will be heading down the Mountain and the alternating crew will arrive for another exciting week of weather. I must say, this past week was awesome. The weeks seem to get better with each trip up; snow returned the higher elevations and we were able to get a beautiful sunset. Winds decreased on Monday so I took this opportunity to go fly a kite on the end of the observation deck! When I was on the deck during this time weather conditions were as follows: 24 degrees, winds were form the west at 11mph, visibility 120 miles…perfect kite flying conditions on the Rockpile.

One of my goals this week was to get the full synoptic coding down without any mistakes or hesitations. Needless to say, I had a couple mistakes and some hesitations. Synoptics are observations performed every 6 hours and coded in METAR. They are done just like any other observation, but with more information. Thanks to my co-workers (who are there to check my work) gave me an extra push in the right direction. I have fog observations down. But when the summit is in the clear, with several cloud layers, and past weather being coded with nasty rain and/or snow, are the observations I just need a few more to carry out before I have them down!

If you know me, then you know I love forecasting and doing observations. Both of which are fulfilling to me. Being a recent graduate, I am still learning trends in the weather. Traveling around to different and experiencing different climates has helped me learn weather patterns across the US. It has been a great experience so far and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. In my future as a meteorologist, I do plan on traveling to gain more understanding in weather; in my opinion, you can’t learn it unless you experience it ;)

Thinking back to my first week here on the summit, I remember being filled with so much excitement I wanted to learn and understand everything in the first few days. After shadowing an observation I recall saying, ‘I’ll be able to have this down by the end of this week!’ Brian, being practical replied with a smile, ‘Umm no, it will take much longer than that.’ And yes, it did. I am glad that it did, it reminded me to be patient with my work while taking one step at a time, and to use what you have.

If you are into atmospheric sciences, then you know that this is almost impossible to learn in one week; there are too many factors that go into meteorology or forecasting to be more specific to learn the trends, models, air flow, and mountain weather to fully recognize in one day…let alone one week. To become a great meteorologist it takes experience with different climates, must have patience, and a constant willingness to learn because things up here are ever changing.


Erica Sandschulte,  Summit Intern

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