Weather Changes

2007-03-09 01:00:38.000 – Mike Finnegan,  Summit Intern

Shift-change Bocce

After a couple cold and windy days, it seems the temperatures are finally beginning to moderate. We bottomed out today at -28 degrees around 5PM and have rapidly increased to a pleasant -6 degrees at 11PM, but winds are still up around 70 mph. Walking outside to take this last observation, I was greeted by a beautiful, orange moon low on the horizon. Wanting to get a closer look, I walked (with help of the wind) to the other end of the observation deck. With just a hint of clouds out over Portsmouth, the stars were shining clear and bright.

Well, now it happens to be a wee bit over an hour later, one third past midnight, and the orange color that had adorned our moon earlier has given way to its more common white face. That in itself illustrates one of the greatest things of this job. Just going outside and seeing, every hour, how the world around you changes. One discovers that although you see a hundred different amazing things, it remains that a hundred more have been missed while your back was turned. Just the other day I saw this one young cloud form a couple hundred feet above us to the east. It grew very rapidly, becoming more and more lens-shaped. It almost felt like I was watching it grow in fast-forward. I turned to the west to investigate some cumulus clouds far away on the horizon, gazing for no more than 10 seconds before returning to my lonesome cloud just above me. Sadly, I found it was I that was lonesome – what had so quickly formed had also dissipated and I was left to deal with a young cloud’s death. I came inside and coded him honorably as few002, sending the METAR report to the NWS. So are the joys and woes of being a weather observer.


Mike Finnegan,  Summit Intern

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