2010-07-22 15:32:57.000 – Brian Clark, Observer and Meteorologist
Yesterday was an eventful day. Not only was it the usual shift change day, which is always busy, but it was a busy weather day as well. For the first time this summer, my shift got to experience some ‘real’ severe weather. As the day progressed into the early afternoon, some severe cells started to pop up, and a couple grazed us. Then a huge line of intense storms headed our way from Vermont, and there was no missing them this time. Winds increased and shifted drastically in a short period of time from the south to the north, blowing the rain into our open office window. There were several direct lightning strikes to the summit, lots of very loud thunder, and even a little small hail. Basically we saw everything that we have come to expect from a good thunderstorm on Mount Washington. After the line of storms passed by us, they continued to intensify and even spawned tornadoes in southern Maine.
In other news, it should come as no surprise that the entire Observatory staff (both valley and summit) are feverishly finishing last minute preparations for the biggest event the Observatory has ever hosted: Seek the Peak 10. Activities for the event get started tomorrow with the kick-off party, registration, and the kick-off concert, a Seek the Peak and organization first, with national recording artist Assembly of Dust. Speaking of the concert, today is the last day to get tickets in advance for the concert and save $6 per ticket. Remember, you don’t have to be participating in Seek the Peak to go to the concert; it is open to everyone!
Every year one of the biggest questions in the final days leading up to Seek the Peak is: what’s the weather going to be like? Unfortunately, it is not going to be an easy forecast this year. Low pressure will be moving through New England late Friday and into early Saturday when it moves out to sea. The forecasting models have had a difficult time deciding the exact track and timing of that system. As of the writing of this comment (Thursday afternoon), the outlook is improving. The latest runs of the models keep the bulk of the rain associated with the aforementioned low off to the south and over Massachusetts. Although we may escape any steady rain, shower activity in the Mount Washington region will increase late Friday and into Saturday morning. Also in the latest run of the models is the hint of some weak ridging late Saturday morning and into the afternoon. This should help to kill of shower activity and may even provide some breaks in the fog on the summit for everyone’s hike to the summit.
Of course, there’s still time for this forecast to change, so be sure to keep an eye on the Summits Outlook, which will be updated by Ryan early tomorrow morning to include the initial forecast for Saturday.
Regardless of what happens, remember, this is Mount Washington, and it could (almost) always be a lot worse!
Brian Clark, Observer and Meteorologist