Summertime on the Summit

2016-06-25 21:27:35.000 – Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist


It’s beginning to feel more and more like summer on Mount Washington! The bugs are in full-swing, hikers and tourists are mingling together on the deck, the sun is high and warm, and winds are generally calm!

Even another sign of summertime – I spent much of the day preparing and installing the Observatory’s Electric Field Meter, a sensor that determines the electric field and therefore the potential for lightning on the summit. While the Observatory sees over 100 mile per hour winds (typically in the wintertime), one of the most dangerous aspects of my job are direct lightning strikes to the summit, which occur quite frequently in the summertime. While some lightning safety sensors detect discharges (lightning) nearby, our electric field meter measures the potential for lightning before it occurs.  It is extremely helpful to determine the likelihood of a dangerous lightning strike during a weather observation.

Another hint of summer – sunset location. The earth is tilted downward in the summertime, allowing for a further northward sunset.  This provides uniquely different sunset views depending on the time of the year. This tool helps you get an idea of exactly where the sun will set and rise on any given day.

Despite the summertime temperatures, weather on Mount Washington can swing through four seasons in one day. We’ve recorded 6.9 inches this month, making it the third “snowiest” June on record! So always be prepared and check our Higher Summits Forecast before you venture above tree line!


Michael Dorfman, Weather Observer/IT Specialist

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