The Warmth Cometh
2012-03-06 23:45:36.000 – Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist
MWO’s version of the game of ‘Cliff Hanger’.
‘It IS March after all!’ That seems to be today’s unofficial motto around the summit. So why the reminder of what month it is? Why, the weather of course. With high pressure departing us and a warm front moving northeast over the next 36 hours, temperatures are going to be rising acting like…hmm, I need an analogy to best describe the situation…Alright, in college, I always had an hour break that coincided with the game show ‘The Price Is Right’ – the classic version with Bob Barker as the host. One of the games on that show was called ‘Cliff Hanger’ in which a cheesy yodeling soundtrack played as a little rock climber slowly ascended the slopped summit based on a contestants guess at the price of an object. So, that’s what I’m picturing with our temperatures only replace the slopped summit with a slopped temperature trend and instead of a hiker, picture, let’s say, the sun (for warmth) ascending based on what temperatures will be.
So how high do you think tomorrow will get? A seasonable 11 degrees? No. 20 degrees? No. 30? Closer but still shy. If things pan out, we are looking at mid-30s, possibly setting a new daily record on the summit for March 7th (our current record is 37F). And while it might sound unusual, I go back to my opening statement, this IS March after all! Mid-30, 40s or even 50s by the end of the month, are not that unheard of. To some, it might feel like winter just began last week, but remember that meteorological spring has already begun, daylight savings is just around the corner, and then shortly thereafter, astronomical spring (what most of the country recognizes as the first day of spring). Now, this isn’t to say that winter is over on the higher summits, in fact, by the weekend, below normal temperatures make a return and snow is in the forecast by weeks end. But between these periods of winter weather will be periods spring weather.
But, (and hopefully hikers are still with me and didn’t start packing after ‘we are looking at mid-30s’) it should be noted, that although we will be getting warm tomorrow, it isn’t going to be a perfect spring day up here. Far from it! Winds are also going to be on the increase with 100 mph gusts expected by the afternoon Wednesday and continuing into Thursday. Fog will be returning, as will rain and eventually snow. And just as we saw this morning, as winds increase and shift, blowing snow will once again return, generating loading on the eastern slopes and creating the feeling of a sand blaster on exposed surfaces. So, yes, it will be warm tomorrow, but it will be an uncomfortably warm day up here. In fact, the various other weather elements may limit how warm it actually gets up here as we may fall just short of anything record breaking. So the thing to take away from this comment is, although it IS March, it is a time of transitions; some days will be warm, some days will be cold, and sometimes both in one day as we depart winter and start heading into summer. So, please come prepared and don’t focus on just one weather element – temperature, wind, and weather all need to be considered together.
Ryan Knapp, Weather Observer/Meteorologist