Transition

2009-05-14 05:38:00.000 – Mike Carmon,  Observer and Meteorologist

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Transition is the word! For one thing, we are watching the landscape outside of our office window transform from a white icy/snowy dessert into a land of rocks and sedge. Instead of the sounds of snow and ice falling from the sky, I’m hearing residual ice falling off the tower as it melts due to temperatures that are more and more consistently above freezing. And instead of forecasting wind chills and snowfall amounts, I’m mentioning rain and thunderstorms during forecast discussions.

Not only is the weather transitioning from winter to summer mode, but the face of the summit is changing as well. For one thing, snow cats no longer parade up and down the road. There are countless more trips per day utilizing the auto road with a van or truck instead. The front of the Sherman Adams building is starting to gain its summer appearance as all of the winter shelter is torn down to allow visitors to gain access. Not only is the outside changing, but the inside is also undergoing a conversion. Since the end of October 2008, the rotunda has consisted primarily of empty floors and a few tables. Now, it is full of tables, chairs, and supplies for the opening of the State Park gift shop. The snack bar is being stocked up, and there is no longer a large temperature discrepancy with our year-round heated observatory.

If you travel down the stairs, our gift shop and museum are starting to look mighty different. In the next few days, the gift shop will undergo quite a transformation as it is set-up and stocked by Bill Grenfell, our retail coordinator, and Deb Mastro, one of our museum attendants, for our summer summit visitors.

You say you can’t witness any of this, because the road isn’t open to the public yet? And even if it was, the State Park’s Sherman Adams building itself is not allowing visitors yet? Well, don’t fret. Both the auto road and Sherman Adams building are set to open to the public (along with our museum and gift shop) on this Saturday, May 16! It’s hard to believe it was October 19 of last year when we had our final visitors set off down the auto road. The winter has come and gone, trying its best to blast away at the summit and its collection of structures with 100+ mph winds (our highest gust this winter was 132 mph on New Years’ Day 2009), rime ice, glaze ice and snow. But we were bunkered down well, and have emerged on the other side of winter once again.

So, as long as weather remains cooperative, the auto road and summit will be open for business this Saturday. If you are a member of the Observatory, you can take advantage of a tour of our facility during the day. If you aren’t a member, for a small price you can gain a 6 month introductory membership, which entitles you to a tour! You can sign up for this membership down in our gift shop, and it’s valid for you and your entire family! And while you’re down there, be sure to look around (look out for some new souvenirs this season), and take a stroll through the museum to learn more about the history of Mt. Washington and the Observatory.

 

Mike Carmon,  Observer and Meteorologist

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