2010-11-23 14:36:35.000 – Kristin Raisanen,  Summit Intern

The tower once again mostly snow and ice free

On the ride up last week, we were all discussing our thanksgiving plans. This Thanksgiving is especially exciting for the observers on this shift, Steve, Stacey and Mike. For the last two Thanksgivings and Christmases (or three for Steve), our observers were on top of the Northeast keeping an eye on the weather and keeping the summit running while everyone else ate turkey with their families and opened presents on Christmas morning. This past April, the two shifts preformed a shift swap, which would allow Steve’s shift to have the holidays off.

As we settled into the summit last week, we kept a close eye on the extended models just to make sure we could perform shift change on Wednesday. When the models started showing precipitation and 85 knot winds (98 mph) averaged over a 12 hour period for Wednesday, we started to get a little concerned. As we forecasted every afternoon and morning, the extended numbers stayed similar, high winds, precipitation and cold temperatures. Not only were these the expected conditions for Wednesday but for Thursday as well. It was now looking like shift change would not be possible on Wednesday or Thursday and we could be up here until Friday! Now, ordinarily staying a few extra days because of some awesome weather wouldn’t be a big deal, but over Thanksgiving, when they have worked the last 2 or 3 Thanksgivings makes it a bigger deal.

As Monday morning approached, our confidence in the models grew and the numbers didn’t change, we started seriously considering different evacuation plans. Hiking out, meeting a vehicle halfway, or even using the shovels as sleds. Luckily, the powers that be, aka Ken, decided pushing shift change ahead to Tuesday night would be the best idea. With above freezing temperatures, rain and winds only reaching about 60 mph for Tuesday, most of the ice should soften or melt on the Auto Road like it did on the Observation Deck . This will allow us to do shift change before the passing cold front plummets temperatures into the single digits and increases winds to 90-105 mph for Wednesday morning. Though we are a little sad to be leaving a day early and missing the fun weather on the summit, we will be home for Thanksgiving and these observers are definitely excited to spend it with the friends and family they have missed over the last 2 or 3 years.

On behalf of Steve’s shift, I would like to wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Kristin Raisanen,  Summit Intern

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