Winter is Coming

2014-08-09 00:05:20.000 – Tom Padham,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

Deicing in 80mph winds last winter

With the past few days being on the chilly side in the 40s and upper 30s, I’m reminded that the all-too short summer is almost over already, and in only a few months it will be full blown winter across the higher summits. I have mixed feelings about this, since I do enjoy winter and all the extreme winter weather Mount Washington has to offer, but on the other hand doing weather observations in shorts and a t-shirt is quite the luxury. In addition summertime thunderstorms can be very exciting on the summit, with a storm even a few days ago dropping some small hail and plenty of lightning.

Winter on the summit is much different than the summer, with the building closed to public and the thousands of visitors seen in summer reduced to just a handful of summit staff and the occasional winter hiker. Dressing in layers becomes a necessity, and goggles are a must have due to nearly constant blowing snow and pieces of rime ice moving past the summit at high speed. Luckily all of the weather observers are equipped with plenty of gear and boots from Eastern Mountain Sports and Vasque, and we have seen the mountain’s weather at its worst and don’t take even a short jaunt to the precipitation can lightly. This past winter had many personal extremes for me, with temperatures reaching as low as -27 degrees Fahrenheit and winds up to 126 mph. I hope this coming winter will push those personal limits a bit further, and give me an opportunity to attempt the Century Club!


Tom Padham,  Weather Observer/Meteorologist

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