Underwrite our website for a day! Learn how.
Join Email List

Observer Comments

June 2012

17:31 Sat Jun 30th

photo - see caption below
Cumulonimbus Seen from the Deck

The weather on the summit never disappoints, and late on Friday we got quite the treat. With instability in the atmosphere, storms began popping up on the radar in the afternoon. We watched anxiously, hoping some would track towards us; and we lucked out. The clouds started to build in the distance as they slowly made their way towards Washington and we were soon rushing to the observation deck to check out the developing storms. As they passed by we got some amazing views, including the cumulonimbus--complete with anvil--shown above.

For a weather lover, I couldn't have asked for anything more and this continued into the night. After dinner most of us ran back onto the deck. Looking to the northeast, a huge storm loomed on the horizon. Soon enough the cloud lit up as a bolt of lightning shot across the sky, truly a magnificent sight. Sitting lined up in the few Adirondack chairs on the summit, we watched in awe as each flash illuminated the cloud in front of us; quite the spectacle. After this, I can't wait to see what else the mountain has in store for me.

Steve Harshman – Summit Intern

23:56 Fri Jun 29th

photo - see caption below

For me a sunset usually signals the end of my work day, it's the time to relax and unwind, the time to forget about work for a few hours and take in the scenery and to just experience the weather without having to record it. This week, however, everything is back to front as I'm working nights to cover for Mike who'll be heading down the mountain in a couple of days for some well earned vacation time.

I do really enjoy the opportunity to experience the mountain at night time - the stars are often spectacular on those rare fog free nights and the occasional shooting star streaking across the sky is an amazing sight too. The peace and quiet is wonderful and even the fog at night takes on a new eeriness that's hard to explain. Then there's Marty of course, for the past few nights he's been dropping by for a quick 'chat' every few hours, it's like he's checking up on me.

Well it's about time for me to head out again and let my eyes adjust to the dark.

Steve Welsh – Weather Observer/IT Specialist

14:18 Thu Jun 28th

photo - see caption below
Foggy Summit


That's the best way I can describe the first 24 hours or so of our shift week. Since we arrived yesterday morning, the fog on the summit has been thick, rain has been falling on and off, winds have been fairly breezy for summer, and temperatures have hovered in the lower 40s. I had a feeling that we would all be quite spoiled after our last shift week, where sun and calm winds were the headliners.

However, this is Mt. Washington, and this is summertime typical: fog, fog, and more fog. We've measured over 2 inches of rain over the past 24 hours, and nearly 6 inches of rain over the past 3 days. This has made for not only a messy summit, but a messy Auto Road, which is closed above the tree line to private vehicles yet again today (stages are now running, though). We're hoping for some clearer weather over the next couple days to help out our Auto Road friends, but the low pressure system currently sitting and spinning overhead, along with some approaching fronts, may have something to say about that.

An important reminder to anyone planning on visiting the summit, particularly hikers:

Despite the calendar, which now reads late June, conditions on top of Mt. Washington can still be dangerous. Temperatures over the past few days have struggled through the 40s, and combining this with wet fog and occasional rain showers leads to the still-very-present-danger that is hypothermia. Don't let the weather in the valley fool you, especially with the anticipated warm weekend in the forecast; conditions at 6,288' (and lower) can be very much different. Keep an eye on our summits outlook, always be flexible with your plans, and don't hesitate to turn around if conditions worsen unexpectedly. Remember: it only gets worse as you ascend!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

16:26 Tue Jun 26th

photo - see caption below
Clearing and Undercast Yesterday Afternoon.

Hi, I'm Christy and I'm finishing my third volunteer stint here at the summit. I come from Connecticut where I am a teacher. And I'm Kelley, the other volunteer for the week, I'm also a teacher who resides in Maine, and this is my first week. Together this week, we have discovered that this experience is far more than just cooking and cleaning for the Mount Washington Observatory staff here on the summit. It's been an opportunity to decompress from our everyday lives whether we've been cooking, cleaning, hiking or just watching the world go by. We have relished the experience. We've watched the sun rise and the sun set, but our most memorable experience with nature was late yesterday afternoon. Thunderstorms and showers had cleared the summit of hikers and other visitors. The weather cleared and we went out, having the summit to ourselves, and looked at the view between the clouds of the undercast rolling by. It was breathtaking watching the clouds move below us. One moment we could see across the Alpine Garden and into Tucks and a couple of minutes later it was all obscured by clouds. It was also incredible to be the only ones out on the summit at 5 pm - it was as if we were the only people for miles around. As we walked back and up on to the observation deck, we reflected that here it was, the first days of summer and we were walking across the summit in fleece and down vests with the temperature in the low 40's and wind speeds that would have been called brisk for valley standards. We thought nothing of it. This was 'normal'. To us, it was 'a walk in the park'.

As volunteers, we've had the chance to do just about anything and everything you can do on the summit. We've truly been included as part of the summit family. Our volunteer week has been a gift and an opportunity to make new friends, create special memories and anticipation of our NEXT volunteer week. Thank you!

Christy Keefe and Kelley Brown – Summit Volunteers

23:35 Mon Jun 25th

Summer just officially started a few days ago, so that means it's time to think about fall interns! Wait, that doesn't sound right, does it? Amazingly enough though it is, to a certain extent. Hiring our interns, which change along with the school year schedule, takes quite a bit of advanced planning. Because of that, we start to sort through applications well ahead of the actual start date of any particular season's interns. In this case, in just a few short weeks, we will start to look at applications for the fall internship and schedule interviews.

The actual deadline to submit applications for the all internship is July 15. The fall internship is a particularly interesting one, perhaps even the most interesting out of any of the internship seasons. I say this because when the chosen candidates start in late August, operations around the mountain are in full summer mode. Then when they finish in mid to late December, the building has been closed for a couple months, the tourists have left, and full winter conditions have (typically) set in. In the end, fall interns are the only ones that get to see all of this.

So, if you're 18 or older, enjoy weather and/or the sciences, and have an interest in working on Mount Washington for a few months, be sure to submit your application!

Brian Clark – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

23:33 Sun Jun 24th

photo - see caption below
Spring 2012 High Temperatures

As many repeat visitors to the summit may have noticed, the garden (for which Alpine Garden trail is named) has been a bit less spectacular this year. No, the flora has not been victim to a rockslide, a fire, or death by a thousand flashbulbs (or worse, footsteps); but the decline can likely be attributed to weather.

As seen in the graph attached, the summit experienced a significant March thaw that brought well above freezing temperatures for nearly two weeks. This was followed by a harsh two week cold snap, again followed by a warmer period. While spring freezes and thaws are far from unusual, the significant temperature amplitude and extended duration likely prompted a significant proportion of initial flower buds to succumb to cold. I can only conjecture that the particular timing of volatile weather also hampered natural recovery efforts later in the season.

While the garden may not be at its prime, there is still a plethora of spectacular plant life to be seen on and below the summit. Please take the opportunity to see for yourself!

Adam Brainard – Summit Intern

23:07 Sat Jun 23rd

As is often the case on Mount Washington, today's weather started very differently than it ended. When I started my shift just before 6 o'clock this morning, only mid and high level clouds covered the sky above us. It was only a few hours later though that convection around the mountain started in the form of a few random towering cumulus, and the by midday cumulus clouds were building up all around us. The rest of the day saw numerous showers, a brief period of small hail, and several close calls with passing thunderstorms. Although this weather pattern made for a very interesting day as far as weather observations go, it did not bode well for some visitors that we had this evening.

Today was the annual Minis on Top event, where a couple hundred Mini Cooper owners gather at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road, and then drive to the top in hopes of viewing a beautiful Mount Washington sunset. Those hopes were unfortunatey dashed tonight by fog and rain.

As quickly as the weather turned around today, it should turn back again by tomorrow morning. This means that the mountain will make up for depriving the Mini Cooper owners of a sunset tonight by (likely) providing a visible sunrise tomorrow morning for folks that take advantage of tomorrow's Mount Washington Auto Road Sunrise Drive.

Brian Clark – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

19:35 Fri Jun 22nd

photo - see caption below
Auroras to the North of the summit

Getting to spend my summer up on Mount Washington, there are a number of things I had expected (or rather hoped) to see over my internship. Snow in parts of the year that you normally don't expect, high winds, storms going right over the summit, extremely thick fog, rime ice, and spectacular scenery.

Beyond that, I recently had the privilege of seeing something that didn't cross my mind up till part way into my experience on the summit, the Aurora Borealis. It's something most people put on their 'bucket list' as something to see, and always seems to be portrayed in a majestic sense, whether through text, photo, or video. At times the Auroras can be quite bright, even capable of occasionally casting shadows (from what I've read); however, on the night of June 11th, the Auroras were spectacularly unspectacular to the naked eye. I honestly probably would not have noticed them if Ryan had not told us they were there. As somebody who enjoys both photography and astronomy, I was still thrilled, but a more exhilarating experience is still desired.

After standing outside for about five minutes, my eyes had finally adjusted a bit to the darkness allowing me to make out just the faintest column of light in the sky, like an illuminated haze almost. Thinking back, it was almost comical how some of us had excitedly shouted out 'I think I see green!' or 'Is that blue over there'?! Despite the dimness of these auroras, with a camera that had long exposure capabilities, the lights were still quite photogenic. Since being advised on how to take better quality photos of such an event, I can't help but hope for another opportunity this summer.

Christopher Gregg – Summit Intern

21:23 Thu Jun 21st

Schools out and summer is finally 'officially' here and the Tourist season on the Summit is in full swing. I took a few minutes to drop down to the Museum this morning and chat with Anthony for a bit. With the heavy fog this morning most of the guests had come up on the Cog.

It's always interesting to chat with the guests especially to hear the reasons they make the trek to the Summit - For some it's to experience the high winds for others it's the view on a clear day. On a windy day like today you can always expect to see several guests on the West end of the deck by the Observation Tower facing into the wind getting their picture taken.

We spent most of the day in the fog today with the cloud bases at roughly 5000 feet. Until noon time the winds ranged from 40 to nearly 70 miles per hour - The perfect day to experience moderate winds on the Summit. After being on the Summit crew for nearly a year now I've gotten used to the winds and on days when it's blowing less than 15 miles per hour it gets little eerie around here. I am hoping for at least one good day with winds in the 15-20 mile per hour range to try a little more Kite Aerial Photography. Coming up the mountain for shift change one of this week's volunteers asked if the kites were for science or just fun - I assured her it was pure science

Roger Pushor – Weather Observer/IT Specialist

23:49 Wed Jun 20th

photo - see caption below
Thunderstorm with our weather tower, sunset today.

So, rather than focus on any one particular point in this comment, I will call it quickie news of five things that mattered to me today.

1. It was the first day of summer. That also means that the days around this date are the longest days of the year with about 943 available sunshine minutes on the summit of Mount Washington. Working nights up here, I cherish these days because it allows me to actually get to see the sun during my shift. I get to count sunshine minutes. And most importantly, I try to go from an off-white color to more of a cream or egg shell color before I am shrouded in darkness again. But, since today was the first day of summer, little by little from here on, the days will be getting shorter until bottoming out in December once again.

2. It was hot in New England today. If you live in New England, this isn't news to you as you probably felt it and sweltered in it or are still wallowing in it. NWS reported that several areas set new records or came close to setting them. On the summit, we came close today to setting a new high but fell short around sunset and as a result, we ended up just tying the daily record high for the day with 62F, a record originally set in 1953.

3. Tomorrow will be just as hot if not hotter around New England. In addition, a frontal band will allow for the possibility for some isolated thunderstorms. So, if you are planning on hiking or be on/in/around a watering hole tomorrow, keep an eye to the sky or, if available, your smartphone just in case.

4. Speaking of thunderstorms, we saw one around sunset with the stereotypical mushroom shaped cloud that comes to minds when thinking of them. We were looking forward to seeing it light up with lightning after sunset today, but the fog shrouded our view before that happened.

5. While many of the alpine flowers were less than stellar this year in my opinion (and a few others), the flowers down below are stellar, even if some of them are blooming a bit earlier than usual. In addition, wild strawberries are peaking, and some of the other fruited plants around the northeast are nearing perfection. So, don't just focus on the summits, some of the most spectacular sights and experiences are the small things found on and around the summits.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

23:10 Tue Jun 19th

Mount Washington has always been a source of inspiration to me. I got my love of the mountains and hiking from my father Harold. He was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club and Green Mountain Club. When I was 7, he signed me up for membership to the Observatory and I've been a member ever since. That was 75 years ago.

I'm 82 now and have climbed Mount Washington about 60 times. That's just a guess. I haven't climbed it for about 12 or 13 years now. But last month I climbed Mount Monadnock, the Dublin Trail. My heart and muscles felt fine. I didn't feel fatigued. It took me two and half hours to get to the top.

The first time I came to the summit was 1939 with my family. We drove to the base and then took the Cog up. In 1941 while attending Camp Tohkomeupog in Madison, I climbed it for the first time.

I didn't know about me being a long standing member until I got a letter marking my 50th year and an invitation to a dinner. I couldn't go since I was working and living in Chicago. But since then, we've marked the milestone and this is the third overnight my wife Joan and I have spent at the summit.

I really have a fondness for the the mountains. They are a special thing in my life. I admire the Observatory, and its work. I like to get back up here whenever I can. Hopefully in another five years.

Charles G. Staples – Mount Washington Observatory Member

23:34 Mon Jun 18th

photo - see caption below

This shift week has certainly been one of the calmest I can recall in my four years on the summit.

A high pressure center drifted eastward late last week, and set up shop over New England on Thursday. Ever since, winds have not been able to muster much strength.

Here are some statistics from Thursday through today (Monday). The first figure for each day is the daily average wind speed, and the second figure (after the slash) is the daily peak wind gust. Be aware that Monday's statistics are incomplete, as there are still two hours left in the day as I compose these thoughts:

June 14 (Thursday): 9.3 mph / 27 mph
June 15 (Friday): 6.8 mph / 18 mph
June 16 (Saturday): 9.6 mph / 21 mph
June 17 (Sunday): 6.9 mph / 20 mph
June 18 (Monday, as of 10PM EST): 8.9 mph / 22 mph

That makes five straight days (barring a jolt in wind speeds in the next two hours, which looks unlikely) of winds averaging below the 10 mph mark, and 5 straight days with a peak wind gust below 30 mph. Even for summertime, this is unusual.

How unusual, you ask?

Being curious and having access to tons of historical data, I took the time to search out the last time MWO observers recorded a five-day stretch of winds averaging less than 10 mph.

One has to go all the way back to a period from July 28 - August 1, 2001 to find such an occurrence!

The stats from those five days were as follows:

July 28: 7.5 mph / 14 mph
July 29: 5.5 mph / 14 mph
July 30: 6.0 mph / 13 mph
July 31: 7.4 mph / 18 mph
August 1: 7.8 mph / 16 mph

That makes this quite a unique event for us on the rockpile! Perhaps it's not as thrilling as a long stretch of high winds, but it is still an exciting and rare occurrence nonetheless!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

18:12 Sun Jun 17th

photo - see caption below
Marissa & the Butterfly

It has been yet another beautiful day up here at the Observatory. With the warm temperatures and the light winds comes along lots of visitors. Not only do we have swarms of people from all over the world visiting Mount Washington, we also have swarms of bugs. As much as folks don't enjoy most of the insects, there is one type that many do enjoy, and that is the butterfly.

While visitors were heading off the Cog to enjoy the scenery and to learn the history of the Mount Washington Observatory, one visitor, a young girl named Marissa, stepped off the train, only to have a beautiful Papilio Glaucus (butterfly) land directly on her. Marissa was not afraid, but rather very enthused. Marissa was accompanied by her older brother and mother who was just as excited about this butterfly.

Thereafter, in talking with Marissa's mom, I found out that her grandfather had just recently passed, and there was some significance with butterflies and her grandfather's passing. With the landing of the butterfly on Marissa, they decided it was 'grampy.' The butterfly did not leave her side the entire time she was down in the museum. It walked across her neck line, onto her back, and up her arm. It flew off a couple times, only to then land directly on her brother.

While Marissa showed off her new friend, others stood by in the museum to take photos of her and the butterfly, which she now believed was her grandfather watching over her. Marissa stood here while others circled around. She described what color it was, how big it was, and, if you touch it, how you must be careful, because it already had hurt its wings.

With that being said, the best part of working up here is seeing and meeting all of the visitors, humans, animals, and insects around. I'd have to agree that if that were a sign from Marissa's grandfather, Father's Day was a great day for it! I am sure she will remember this experience for many years to come. As will I.

In Memory of Claude Leclercq


Samantha Brady – Summit Museum Supervisor

17:32 Sat Jun 16th

photo - see caption below
Runners Closing in on the Finish

What a fantastic day to go for a run, and clearly others around the mountain felt the same. Not sure if I would chose an 8-mile run all uphill but that's exactly what close to 1,000 runners decided to take part in today.

Hosted by the Mount Washington Auto Road, the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race is an annual event where courageous athletes attempt the long trek from the base of the Auto Road to the summit. While the race's slogan, 'Only One Hill,' sounds optimistic, running about 5,000 vertical feet up to the top is nothing to laugh at. The event has people from around the world flocking to the Whites to take part in the one-of-a-kind opportunity. Participants range from kids in their early teens, to runners in their 90s, determined to reach the top.

Throughout the morning we watched as wave after wave of cars made their way up the road to cheer on friends and family members, or just to witness this amazing feat. At 9:00 the gun went off, sending the runners dashing up the steep slope. Great conditions of clear skies, warm temperatures, and a dry road helped push the entrants up the mountain, making for some impressive times. The winner reached us in just under an hour! The first four finishers all managed to run faster than last year's top runner.

Watching the athletes reach the top was truly a sight to see. The strain and determination on everyone's face was inspiring. Runners, after crossing the line, fell into awaiting blankets, some barely able to stay on their feet. Being a runner myself, I have profound respect for everyone who took part in today's event, knowing just how difficult this must have been (although I personally would have picked something on flatter ground).

Steve Harshman – Summit Intern

11:40 Fri Jun 15th

photo - see caption below

Seek The Peak is right around the corner and with limited time to sign up and fundraise here is some motivation.

1. Seek The Peak is our largest annual fundraiser that helps us operate our unique weather station on the summit of Mount Washington. Being a nonprofit organization this is very important to us. We are not funded by NOAA like some may think. 2. It is a great way to get out and get fit. What better way to get a kick start on a healthy life then getting fit for a good cause. You can even join as a team with friends and family.

3. Tons of freebies! When you meet certain fundraising goals there is some awesome 'schwag' to be had. Just naming a few, EMS Techwich tee, EMS Esker Day pack, STP Nalgene, Petzel Tikka 2 headlamp, STP Cloudburst Rain Jacket, and much more.

4. In addition to just receiving fundraising incentives, you will also be entered to win even more gear like gift certificates, trips, vehicle leases, gear, gadgets and more.

5. Admission to a huge after party featuring an outdoor expo, live music, prizes, an all-you-can-eat feast, and the opportunity to meet several awesome people. It is such a great event that every year, the summit crew makes their way down for an hour or two to mingle and of course, eat - we love doing that. With Seek The Peak only a few weeks away it is time to kick it into high gear.

If you are not signed up yet, head over to SeekThePeak.org and register. It's free and easy to do. Then once you have an account set up, it's time to start fundraising. Don't let this frighten you. If you can get, 200 friends to donate just $1, you will meet your goal in no time. Once you meet your goal, it all comes down to the events. Friday, July 20th, you will register at the kick -off party we hold at the Weather Discovery Center in North Conway Village. Then, on the 21st of July, you hit the trails. Upon making it to the summit, you get a free tour of our facilities then head over to the after party at the base of the Mt Washington Auto Road. This is where you get to eat tons of food, as well as where you will win your additional prizes.

Hope to see you all on the summit!

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

18:32 Thu Jun 14th

photo - see caption below
The Parking Lot

Glancing out the window of the observatory the first thing to catch your eye is the sunlight gleaming off the chrome of motorcycles, trailing their way up the last stretch of the mountain as they approach the summit. The Mount Washington Auto Road was open only to bikes today in appreciation of bike week in New Hampshire. Stepping out on the observation deck, it is teaming with activity. Bikers, hikers and visitors all taking advantage of this wonderful weather moving from corner to corner enjoying the views and snapping pictures. Looking over the edge down the mountain, a continuous trail, of what looks like ants is making its way up the mountain, accompanied by a steady hum as the bikes make the final push up the last stretch of mountain to the parking lots.

Taking a walk around the summit, I can't help but notice a single person not enjoying the summit. The parking lots are full with bikes which give it a different feeling, laugher and echoes of conversations can be heard all over the summits. As bike day progresses, the streams of Bikers winding their way up the mountain becomes more and more continuous with less breaks between groups. The continuous streams of people eagerly coming into the museum to soak in more knowledge about the summit are greeted by a great staff eager to help.

As the day begins to wind down the trail of bikes coming up the mountain begins to dwindle and is replaced by a stream that starts to head down slowly indicating that this year's bike week is coming to an end, leaving some big shoes for next year's to fill.

Emanuel Janisch – Summit Intern

19:17 Wed Jun 13th

photo - see caption below
All Mount Washington Observatory Staff

Today was a special day on the Summit for the Mount Washington Observatory. The one day a year when all summit and valley staff are in one location for our annual staff meeting. That's right, all 32 of us! 8 junior staff members, 6 senior staff members, 6 summit observers, 4 summer interns, 3 museum attendants, 2 snow-cat operators, 2 volunteer coordinators, and a kitten on the summit of Mount Washington. After all our meetings were complete and a hardy lunch was had we were able to get outside for a staff photo updating the one from last year. With the next year on the horizon I think everyone is ready to tackle all that comes our way.

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

19:05 Tue Jun 12th

My first summer volunteer week has been an awesome time on the Rock Pile. The weather was rainy, snowy, and cold for the weekend before we arrived. Then the rain stopped for our trip up the Auto Road on Wednesday but the temps stayed in the 30's. The 'bad' weather continued with thunderstorms moving in on Friday and Friday night. But, on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, the days were gorgeous, with light winds and temperatures in the 40's and 50's. Nicolas, also a volunteer and a great cook, and I then took advantage of the clear skies and accomplished several hikes to nearby peaks and the Alpine Garden.

The staff has been fabulous; full of information, stories, and they are really hard workers. The absolute star on the mountain has been Marty, the unofficial mascot of the Mount Washington Observatory. At dusk, we would all head outside to watch the beautiful colors of the sunset. Marty likes to come along and dash all about the rocks and boulders in a final tribute to the setting sun.

I would like to say thank you to everyone here on the mountain and down in the valley office for this opportunity to come and volunteer. I look forward to a week of volunteering during the winter season.

Gary Casperson – Summit Volunteer

21:27 Mon Jun 11th

photo - see caption below
Sunset from Sunday evening.

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My name is Anthony, and I'm one of the two attendants working in the Observatory's museum/gift shop. This is my second week on the summit, and it has been an amazing experience to live and work up here. A little about me - I'm from Milford, Massachusetts & I've spent the last few years finishing an Environmental Studies degree from the University of Central Florida. You can typically find me playing drums, bass, reading about space, or exploring the outdoors.

It's been quite the change in environment moving from the swampy lowlands of Orlando to the peak of Mt. Washington but I have enjoyed every minute of it. The climate here is truly unique, and as someone with a life-long fascination with weather I couldn't ask for a more interesting place to be. In my short time here I've gotten to experience a few of the mountain's trademark weather events - a furious 108 mph blast of wind, intense thunderstorms with lightning striking right outside our windows, and most recently the serene beauty of a clear day on the summit. This is pretty rare, as we are bathed in fog a majority of the time, but when it clears the view from the Observatory is stunning. Pictures do not do this place justice - you must see it for yourself to fully appreciate the grandeur of the Presidential Range.

Today marks the first day of Ride to the Sky, the special motorcycles only event in conjunction with Laconia's Bike Week (oh, and my birthday!) It's been a pleasure chatting with the folks that have come from all over the US & Canada to ride up the mountain. As summer approaches, we draw closer to our annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon on July 20th that promises to be epic in all possible ways. Check out www.seekthepeak.org for more information, and when you scale the summit, don't forget to stop by the museum & say hello!

Anthony Grimes – Summit Museum Supervisor

18:45 Sun Jun 10th

photo - see caption below

One of the last things that many folks expect to see in any sort of quantity on the summit of Mount Washington are various flying insects and bugs. The truth is though, that even though the wind typically does keep them at bay, calm, warm summertime days (like today) bring them out in droves. Today has been the worst I have ever seen in the previous five summers I have spent on the mountain; the windows have been covered in bugs of various sizes and shapes all afternoon, and walking through the A-frame on the Observation deck results in a veritable crunching noise beneath your feet. Lovely.

High pressure will provide us with one more warm and calm day tomorrow before more unsettled weather sets in for the rest of the work week. Unfortunately, it's a little difficult to fully enjoy and appreciate the beautiful weather when you're so busy spending the whole time swatting bugs away from you!

Brian Clark – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

17:39 Sat Jun 9th

photo - see caption below
Hays wind speed chart showing the event.

It's great to be back on the summit. We had a few nice thunderstorms yesterday afternoon; however, they just didn't quite compare to the storms we had on May, 29th. To be more specific, the downburst event that we experienced at 0910 EDT which produced a wind gust of 108.1mph. You always hear people talking about things that happen in an 'It's one thing to read about it, but another to experience it' sort of sense with anything extreme; a downburst is certainly no exception. When I was younger I can remember hearing about microburst events from my uncle, a New Hampshire resident, and being filled with an overwhelming curiosity. This curiosity is similar to the curiosity one may have towards tornadoes, or even hurricanes, but downbursts have always had their own sort of...mystique. Studying something in a textbook can only mildly make you realize how powerful an event is, a video, moderately; to be there, then you get it.

I had just grabbed my all too usual cup of coffee (E pluribus unum) from the kitchen before heading upstairs as the storm was passing. Glued to the window, Roger and I marked down the time at which there was either lightning or thunder. There was a small window open in the weather room to help make the task easier, but the wind was blowing massive amounts of water inside, so we quickly changed that. At this time the winds were only between 30-40mph. A few more sips of coffee later, and I decided I'd grab my video camera and get a view outside the windows. Just as I grabbed the camera, I noticed the wind gauge wildly swinging, 80, 85, 90; it seemed to want to keep going, and then I started filming. In my book, seeing a downburst event is incredible, seeing the original measurements of such an event would be cool, but seeing the downburst and watching the event being recoded on wind-charts and barographs all in one moment? For a meteorology student, it's something from some sort of fantastical dream. I am humbled by the opportunity to learn in such an extreme environment, and I'm glad I had my camera ready at the right moment as well.

Christopher Gregg – Summit Intern

21:40 Fri Jun 8th

photo - see caption below
Posing for pictures all day is just so exhausting

I have to say I'm just exhausted after spending hours early this morning ridding the Weather room of an infestation of Flying Squirrels and protecting Weather Observer and Meteorologist Ryan Knap from the little invaders. By my count there were eight or ten of the little varmints I had to chase from the building and off the Summit all by myself. Why I just don't know how the Humans up here on the Summit could ever survive without my keen hunting skills and ability to keep the rodent population in check.

I have to sign off for now so I can get in a short "Cat" nap before I'm called on again tonight to keep the Observatory a safe and happy place to live and work. I just don't know what the Humans would do without me.

Marty – Summit Cat

19:16 Thu Jun 7th

photo - see caption below
Frosty through the ages (days)

The following is an inspiring tale of the life and death of one Frosty the snowman; a treasured guest enjoyed by our summit staff the past few days.

His life began from a weather disturbance that dropped 2.2" of snow on our summit (in addition to rain and sleet); and over 3" of rain in the valleys below. Snow is not altogether uncommon this time of year; June receives an average of 1.2" of snow from year to year; but to receive 2.2" in a single storm is a refreshing item to note. Interns gathered snow from across the observatory deck to create Frosty's jolly, pudgy self; and breathed life into his form with coal eyes, buttons, and a carrot nose. Frosty was born Monday, June 4, and quickly lit up the internet with his winning smile and fashionable figure.

Tuesday brought Frosty to his prime. The sun shone dimly through a cold fog; and our interns (top right) posed happily with their masterpiece. Frosty continued to delight audiences on the world-wide web, and cool temperatures limited melting on his pristine physique.

Wednesday was a hard day in Frosty's life. He was forced to bid farewell to his creators and family, and was introduced to the shift who would accompany him the rest of his life. His popularity on the internet waned, although he began to entertain a few visitors on the summit. The weather was harsh, as warmer temperatures and occasional showers with rain and ice gnawed his exterior. Although the day ended with a comforting snow shower, the damage had been done; and Frosty forever lost his distinguished carrot nose and smile.

Frosty left this world on Thursday June 7th. Temperatures surged into the 40s, and periods of both sunshine and rain proved to be too inhospitable for even the most resilient snow creature. His passing should not be met with mourning, but respect. Mount Washington weather is volatile at all times of the year. Conditions can be very different at the summit than in the valley, and while weather can be dangerous and deadly, it can also bring beauty. A respect for both extremes will bring a life spent safely enjoying the splendors Mount Washington and the world have to offer.

Adam Brainard – Summit Intern

22:18 Wed Jun 6th

photo - see caption below
A fox with her breakfast.

During our drive up the Mt Washington Auto Road this morning, around the two mile mark, we came across a familiar face, one of the summit foxes. Although familiar to us, most would second guess what they were seeing, because, as you see, in the summer, they are not nearly as regal, 'pretty', or familiar since they shed their red coats in exchange for more of a yellow and browned hued coat. Although duller than and not as photogenic as they might be in winter, they are still very neat to see in my opinion; with this one carrying an even neater surprise. This little gal (at least I am assuming it was female from its characteristics) was lightly jogging along the road, periodically looking back to see where we were in relation to her. As she was looking back, our operator, Slim Bryant, noted that she had caught something. As we slowly approached, sure enough, she had caught herself a delectable breakfast that would consist of a squirrel. As we passed, we shot some pictures of her and her soon to be meal. Although fun and exciting at the time, now that I think about it, I wonder how I would feel if someone was photographing me while I was trying to eat breakfast; not pleased I'm sure.

As we climbed further, the surrounding summits were poking through as pockets of clouds and blue skies interchanged with each other. The road, that days prior was a soupy mess, was starting to firm up enough for the Mt Washington Auto Road crew to start working on opening it up again. As we returned to pavement, the icy conditions we were fearing the day prior had all but melted, leaving us a quick path to the summit on just a wet road. Shift change went quickly as the crews exchanged what they needed then parted ways for their on shift duties and off shift activities. Outside, the summit continued to see a mix of sun, clouds, and showers, first as snow then as rain, as temperatures continually to ever so slowly edge to more normalized readings for early June. Around the summit, the few inches of snow that once coated everything slowly gave way to the greening sedge and the familiar rocky scene of summer. And a once vigilant man of snow became smaller and frailer, reflecting on his eventful life that splashed him across the internet and the news in his short life span that only started just three days prior. As it is, time changes everything, especially if you're made of snow. And as we continue to warm, by the weekend, this 'man' that once stood tall and proud will be reduced to nothing but a puddle and becoming part of our collective memory. But that's just a taste of the cycle of life that make up the ecology of Mount Washington; whether it's a fox eating it's breakfast or the heat eating away a snowman. It makes you wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

22:31 Tue Jun 5th

photo - see caption below
A hard-working cat

Summer has finally arrived here at the Mount Washington Observatory. The Auto Road is running all day, the cog is now running every hour, the Sherman Adams building is open to hikers, and the Mount Washington Observatory Museum & Gift Shop is open!

I started my work week off on Wednesday. A day full of meetings and chit-chatting with the other museum attendant. We conversed for a few hours, sat through a few meetings, and shortly after I was in full working mode. I work pretty much by myself in the museum all day, with the exception of our interns helping out when needed. So, I have to say, because schools are still in session and even though our summer has started, not everyone else's has, and it does get pretty lonely down there at times.

As I'm sure you all know, we have a summit cat, Marty, who stays up year round while we rotate shifts. Marty is an exceptional cat. Some of you may be lucky enough to have met him wandering around the summit. Others have asked or wished to have seen him. I have to assure you he appears one moment, then gone the next. He sure is a sneaky one. However, I was greeted on Thursday morning by his presence. As I was opening up the shop and patiently awaiting the first visitor up from the auto road to walk down the stairs, I started to hear footsteps...and they sure weren't human. It was Marty.

For the first time this summer, Marty decided to come hang out and explore our museum and gift shop; or possibly just to keep me company.

The first thing he did was walk around and sniff out every new fixture, piece of clothing, and wall imaginable. He then chose one standing fixture we have in the middle of the shop that he decided to climb on top of. The monkey-like cat that he is, he made it to the top and hung out for a good 20 minutes before deciding to climb down. After that adventure to the top of the tower he decided he was ready to get some work done. He jumped up on top of the cash wrap and walked over to the register and computer. After doing so, he seemed as if he were all done working hard, or shall I say hardly working.

Marty then again plopped himself right down in the middle of the cash wrap for another 20 minute chill-out session. This consisted of him rolling around and licking himself. I have to say having him around in the summit shop was very entertaining, and it was exciting to see him enjoying himself to the max. I hope all of you on your next trip up get the great opportunity to meet him!

Samantha Brady – Summit Museum Supervisor

09:46 Mon Jun 4th

Did you know that supporting members of the Observatory have access to incredible sunrise and sunset videos from our webcams, a special video blog from our summit crew, and more?

We call these features premium content, and they one of the many exclusive benefits reserved for supporting members of Mount Washington Observatory. But, for one month only, we're extending premium content access to everyone with hopes that you'll like what you see, and decide to join us.

You can watch Marty's arrival on the summit, peruse the pages of Windswept, our member magazine, watch the sun rise over the Northeast's tallest peak, and much, much more.

Check it out, and if you like it, become a member! Just don't delay, because access to this member-only content will only be available to non-members through July 4.

Like you, hundreds of thousands of people visit our website every year to utilize our forecasts, webcams, and other resources. Yet, just under 4,000 of those visitors have chosen to help support our work, and the resources they utilize on our site, by becoming a member.

We hope you'll enjoy this one month free trial of premium content to see some of the benefits that our members enjoy, and consider joining with them to help to support our work.

Abby Blackburn – Membership & Events Coordinator

16:53 Sat Jun 2nd

photo - see caption below
Daily Bath

It has been quite some time since I updated you on my life here on the summit of Mount Washington. Since today is most defiantly an indoor day I can spare a few minutes between naps to fill you in. With the summit now open I am enjoying wandering around the deck on nice days rubbing up against the legs of visitors reminding them I am top cat. Sometimes I need to stare down other four legged creatures on leashes. Don't they know this is my territory? When not out on the deck I enjoy begging for treats from the Observers and taking long naps on top of their most important reference charts. It's a hard life I live trying to keep up with my daily schedule especially in the summer when I am so busy greeting tourists, but some feline has to do it. Well it is time for my next scheduled nap so I will be Zzzzzzzzzz...

Marty – Summit Cat

17:15 Fri Jun 1st

photo - see caption below

Hello from the summit!

First off, I'll introduce myself. I'm Steve Harshman, a new summit intern for the summer. I first arrived on the peak this Wednesday and we've been lucky enough to have some beautiful weather over the last few days. An avid hiker, I've scrambled up Washington a few times before and vowed I would never get to the top another way. Sadly I had to break this oath when taking the van up the Auto Road, but hey, I sure can't complain, being privileged enough to spend my summer up here.

So far we've seen fairly clear skies, allowing for some amazing views during my time so far at the top. Yesterday I managed a short hike out of a foggy summit over to Monroe with Emanuel, the other intern; just another 4000 footer to check off my list. With a high pressure system moving into the region over night, the few clouds we had dissipated, providing us with an extraordinary sunrise this morning. Luckily our night observer woke everyone up and we groggily stumbled up to the observation deck to get some spectacular pictures. Quite impressive for only my third day, seeing as we're stuck in the fog up here a majority of the time. It rose over the peak of what we believe to be Mt. Blue in Maine, the pointed cone standing out along the horizon. While this nice weather has been quite a treat, I'm ready to experience some of the more extreme weather this mountain is known for. That's all for now, and I hope you all can enjoy the weather as much as we are up here!

Steve Harshman – Summit Intern

Home of the World's Worst Weather
Administration: 2779 White Mountain Highway, P. O. Box 2310, North Conway, NH 03860 • Tel: 603-356-2137 • Fax: 603-356-0307 • contact us
>> OUR PARTNERS Eastern Mountain Sports Subaru Cranmore Mt Washington Auto Road Mt Washington Cog Railway Vasque EATON MWVCC
Mount Washington Observatory respects your privacy           ©2014 Mount Washington Observatory           Site Directory
Web Site Support from Zakon Group LLC