Plymouth State Intern Comment

2011-01-09 17:39:23.000 – Jason Kaiser,  Plymouth State Intern

Mike Pirhalla, a fellow Plymouth State Meteorology student, and I arrived on the summit around mid-day yesterday with a delicate piece of equipment in tow – a brand new custom-machined pitot tube anemometer. The majority of the afternoon the summit was bustling with activity in preparation and anticipation for the anemometer’s wiring and installation. Luckily, we had calm winds, which made installation on the observatory tower relatively easy. The caveat to low winds was that we didn’t know if the new heaters that are installed inside the anemometer would heat it well enough to keep rime ice buildup at bay (higher winds equals faster ice buildup).

The test came early this morning. We knew if wind speeds had increased since yesterday (as forecast) before even looking at any data. We could hear the wind howling outside the window. Wind speeds have gradually increased since about 4am, with sustained winds so far this afternoon around 70 mph, with a 24-hour peak gust to 86.1 mph. The pitot tube’s heater temperatures have been increased to compensate for the increased ice buildup in such high winds. We’ve still had to knock the ice buildup every hour, but so far, so good!

Mike and I have both hiked Mt. Washington several times previously, but neither of us had yet to experience 70+ mph wind speeds. So we decided to venture out to get a feeling for how powerful wind speeds of that magnitude are. We were pleasantly surprised that if we didn’t have a sure footing, we’d be blown across the observatory deck (luckily, this didn’t happen). All we can say is, what an exhilarating experience!


Jason Kaiser,  Plymouth State Intern

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