Wild Week of Weather

2013-04-23 11:26:09.000 – Tom Padham,  Summit Intern

Clouds building in this morning

It certainly has been an interesting and busy week on the summit for my first shift, with plenty of weather to go around. Out of the past 6 days we’ve spent on the summit, only a single day (Monday) saw no fog or precipitation. Measurable precipitation fell on 4 out of the past 6 days, with 3 out of those 4 days containing freezing rain or snow. Winds were also gusty almost all week, with only Monday not seeing a gust above hurricane force (74 mph or greater).

With so much weather going on this week, its been very challenging forecasting at times. Today for example our area is squeezed between two storm systems, with one coming up the coast of New England and a cold front to our west slowly approaching. In between these two systems high pressure is attempting to keep both storms at bay, but it’s a losing battle. From the summit this morning we could see clouds building into the area from the southeast thanks to the coastal storm. Most of the models wanted to keep these clouds far to our southeast today and have the summit remain out of the fog, but it became clear by mid morning the models underestimated how far inland the clouds and potentially precipitation would make it. Fog quickly overtook the summit by late morning, far earlier than any of the models had predicted.

As a meteorologist on the summit of Mount Washington, you have to take these things in stride. There are still many things about the weather that we do not understand, especially in a place like Mount Washington where the weather on the summit is almost always different than the rest of the entire Northeast. We certainly have come a long way in our understanding of the atmosphere, but in many ways its also exciting to know that there’s still more to be learned and discovered about our planet’s weather.


Tom Padham,  Summit Intern

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