Spring on Mount Washington? What’s that?

2013-03-23 17:28:38.000 – Brian Fitzgerald,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

One iced-up snowcat.

It may be spring on the calendar, but up here on the rock pile today’s temperatures have struggled to make it out of the upper single digits above zero with thick fog limiting visibility to less than 50 feet at times, along with snow and winds ranging between 40-110 miles per hour thus far. Needless to say, our overnight EduTrip scheduled for this evening was turned around by the brutal conditions they found at treeline, nearly 2,000 feet and 4 miles from the summit. I imagine by stepping just a few feet away from the snowcat they quickly understood why they would travel no further.

It’s another day at work though for the observers, and like a typical morning I rolled out of my bunk to take my first observation of the day. The day starts off a bit less typical when you quickly transition into climbing 5 sets of stairs and ladders to de-ice the instruments in winds gusting over 100mph however. As groggy as I was suiting up, your heart starts pumping when you’re confronted with the very physically demanding task of trying to stand in hurricane-force winds and carefully de-ice sensitive instruments (the wind is also very demanding on our clothing, especially our zippers which apparently need to be zipped up all the way, otherwise the wind will gladly unzip it for you, as I learned today).

The winds are still howling outside as I write this, and it’s nearly time for an observation (my last of the day), so I’ll be sure to muster up some strength for one more exposure to elements knowing full well that when I’m back inside I’ll be lucky enough to be treated to a nice hot meal from our member-volunteers Besty and Sue. Happy Saturday everyone!

For more information on the Mount Washington Observatory and EduTrips and Daytrips to the summit, visit www.MountWashington.org .


Brian Fitzgerald,  Weather Observer/Education Specialist

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