2017-05-04 17:14:24.000 – Mike Carmon, Senior Weather Observer & Education Specialist
Wintertime is finally winding down here at 6,288 feet, and the summer season is knocking at our door. Before long, cars will line the Mount Washington Auto Road, the Sherman Adams building will unlock its doors, and the mercury will break into the 60s F at the crux of New England. This winter was quite a harrowing one in many ways, so a lot of us are looking forward to the arrival of the more tame summertime weather conditions. The preparation for summer is more than simply digging and thawing out from the winter snows–in fact, the warmer weather takes care of a lot of that for us. There are plenty of other tasks to tackle though, and with the sunny and calm conditions that embraced the White Mountains today, our shift took advantage and got to work on making those preparations.
Removal of the storm windows
Wintertime’s heavy icing along with high winds can often lead to a catapulting of large ice chunks through the air at hurricane force speeds. As one can imagine, these hurtling ice formations can do a fair bit of damage on many structures, which includes windows. Bulletproof glass windows are affixed on the outer face of all windows in the Observatory’s exposed office space during the winter to effectively deflect this ice. When it’s time to remove these sturdy windows, however, it’s a sure sign that the more placid summertime conditions are on the horizon!
Opening of submarine door
Our submarine door (actually from a destroyer) located at the lowest level of our instrumentation tower becomes entombed in snow and ice during the long, snowy winter. With the spring melt-out, as well as a little help from observer shovels and ice picks, the snow pack retreats to the point where opening of this hatch becomes possible once more.
Unsealing of windows
Not all windows necessitate the placement of bulletproof glass between them and the winter tempest, however the extreme arctic cold finds any crack, crevice, nook and cranny to infiltrate our heated living and office space. Silicone sealing of all of the windows throughout our office space and living space is required in the winter, but summer season allows us to break those seals and allow the fresh and warmer mountain air to come flooding into the confines of our building once again.
Installation of summertime instrumentation
Not much equipment can survive the harshest winter conditions of Mount Washington’s summit, so only a few lone (but hearty) weather instruments line our instrumentation tower in the winter. With the more settled summer conditions comes the redeployment of a much more wide array of instrumentation outdoors.
Mike Carmon, Senior Weather Observer & Education Specialist