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Observer Comments

September 2013

17:40 Mon Sep 30th

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'The Museum for 2013 is Nevermore' - Museum Raven

In the spring of 2014, our summit museum will be reborn as 'Extreme Mount Washington.' This means we will be gutting everything down to the studs so that we can bring an entirely re-imagined, new, and interactive experience that will deliver the awe and wonder of a Mount Washington winter - the mountain's most extreme season that only a small handful of the peak's 250,000 annual visitors ever get to witness. Through hands-on, high-tech exhibits, Mount Washington Observatory will present a compelling sampling of the 'World's Worst Weather' to summer visitors from all over the world.

In order for us to begin our preliminary work towards accomplishing this massive overhaul, we have had to close our summit museum for the remainder of the 2013 summer/fall season. This means that when you arrive at the NH State Park Sherman Adams building, instead of having access downstairs, you will now be greeted by a series of signs noting the closures and what to expect next spring. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause in your summit adventures for the remainder of this year, but our museum is only one part of the Mount Washington experience. Please don't let it's closing deter you from visiting the summit this fall - especially given how spectacular the colors are in the valleys below this year. So, again, please note that this closure will ONLY affect our summit museum; ALL other summit facilities and transportation options will remain OPEN until the close of the 2013 season. To obtain more information about the operating schedules of the summit facilities and various transportation options, please review the following links:

NH State Park's operating schedule: http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/mount-washington-state-park.aspx

Mt Washington Auto Road's operating schedule: http://www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/

The Cog's operating schedule: http://www.thecog.com/

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

23:48 Sun Sep 29th

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Becca and I bringing a bit of class to the summit.

Every winter, we hire two interns - one for each shift. Back in the winter of 2006, the two interns that were hired were Brian Clark and I. Since one intern is hired per shift, this meant that we would remain on separate shifts and only interact once a week during shift changes; a "tradition" that carries on even to this day. However, about a third of the way into my internship, one of the weather observers left and I was hired on as a "full-time temporary weather Observer." This meant that we would no longer be on separate shifts but actually become coworkers as shift weeks flip-flopped landing us on the same crew at times. Over the course of the winter of 2006, I got to know Brian a bit more until he had to return to school to finish up receiving his BS in Meteorology. Once finished, the timing worked out just right that he was able to return to the summit and become a weather Observer, landing on my shift once again.

Over the years, we would continue to work on the same shift, sharing experiences in weather and life up here on the Rock Pile until he departed the summit last year to pursue different life goals. One of those life goals came about yesterday as he got married. As a result, fellow Weather Observer Rebecca Scholand and I got gussied up on the summit and headed off the summit for the evening to attend his wedding which was held on another mountain of sorts at a location called Castle in the Clouds. It was a beautiful location with beautiful weather and a great group of people. Some of the great people in attendance were people Brian, Rebecca and I have worked with over the years - Mike Finnegan (former Observer), Dustin Cormier (from NHSP), Kate Keefe (AMC), Sarah Long (former Observer/Trustee), and Jim Salge (former Observer). So, not only did we get to witness the marriage between a pair of great people, we also got to reunite with a great community of people, making for a very memorable night all around. So, we once again congratulate Brian and Laura and wish them all the best for the future.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

21:14 Sat Sep 28th

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The Summit Cone with a Hang Glider in Background

Today was yet another beautiful day on the summit! With mostly clear skies and beautiful reds and oranges in the valleys all around us, people came up to the summit to for the hike, for the views, and for the open air. With relatively calm winds and sunny skies, there was even a group of paragliders and hang gliders launching from the summit and flying around the summit cone! With beautiful weather in store for the next few days, now is as good a time as any to come up to the summit for a visit!

Mike Dorfman – Weather Observer

16:51 Fri Sep 27th

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Rebecca Scholand and Eric Fisher

Yesterday was an exciting day on the summit of Mount Washington. Eric Fisher from WBZ | CBS Boston was here to report from the summit and get an inside interview with myself about life and work at the Mount Washington Observatory. With spectacular views and a picture perfect undercast, New England got to see one of the more rare days we experience at the Observatory. While here, Eric had several live hits and during one, spoke with me about the wintery conditions last week. To view the interview you can visit this YouTube link.

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

23:35 Thu Sep 26th

As the high builds up over the northeast, clear skies have returned to the summits once again, providing abundance of sunshine. The sunrise this morning was quite admirable and the downsloping effects seen on Mt. Clay were unmistakably spectacular. As the sun heats the summits, fog continues to dwindle away revealing a beautiful landscape with the tops of the Presidential Range peeking out of the white cloud blanket below.

It has been 2 weeks since I've started my internship at the Mount Washington Observatory, and my love for this Arctic-like climate continues to grow. Learning weather in the books and experiencing it in the field are two very different things. I have to say I am quite pleased with the amount of experience, knowledge, and friendships this Observatory has to offer. I can only hope to gain more as times passes.

In other news, the Mount Washington Observatory museum will be closing this Sunday. While the Mt. Washington Auto Road, The Cog, and NH State Park will remain open for a few more weeks (all weather pending), our museum housed within NH State Parks Sherman Adams building will be closing a bit early this year in preparation for our Extreme Mount Washington renovations taking place this fall/winter. So for those of you that would like to see the current exhibits and maybe pick up some Observatory souvenirs, please plan your trips prior to this coming Sunday.

Pratik Patel – Summit Intern

23:21 Wed Sep 25th

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Sunset over an undercast today.

While the past few days in the valley have been perfect for work in the yard without bundling up, returning to the summit today was a little different. With each observation I am forced to bundle up in my warm Eastern Mountain Sports jacket and cozy Vasque boots. Venturing outside for even a minimal amount of time, I feel the cold air's chill. It is clear my blood has yet to thicken for the winter ahead. This is the time of year when I find myself layering everything I can get my hands on; however, by the end of the winter a short sleeve shirt under a jacket is all I need. It is incredible how our bodies can adjust to the variable conditions. Luckily, it is very warm inside.

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

13:42 Tue Sep 24th

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Leonid's Presentation

We had some very special visitors on the summit yesterday.

Leonid Vasiliev, a meteorologist from Arkhangelsk, Russia, paid us a visit, along with his interpreter, Nina Fedoseeva.

We spent this time sharing information about our respective organizations: learning about the tools and instrumentation each of us utilize, and discussing the methods of observing and collecting meteorological data.

Despite the mixing of two very different cultures within the confines of the Observatory last night, it was amazing to witness the barriers that a common interest, i.e. meteorology, can easily break through. All of the observers and interns who had the opportunity to share in this amazing experience were extremely grateful, and took a great deal away from this abbreviated visit!

And while we were comparing meteorological notes inside, the weather was doing its best to keep matters interesting outside as well, with strong northwest winds gusting over 80 mph, temperatures in the mid 20s, and plenty of rime ice!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

21:34 Mon Sep 23rd

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Intern Tom Padham After De-Icing

Today was by far the most wintry day of my shift since late last spring. In addition to hourly observations from 5 PM to 5 AM, I also must make my way to the top of the tower every hour to make sure our instruments are ice-free. Each trip to the top of the tower results in jackets and rain pants becoming stiff with rime and subsequently melting, however my wonderful EMS gear kept me warm and dry through it all. Even while taking the observation, I had to stick my upper body, along with the snow board (a black cloth-covered board used to determine type of precipitation) into the wind, allowing even more ice accrual on my jacket.

One interesting thing that I noticed last night however is the presence of vapor trails coming off the corner of this board in high winds. Although not nearly as prominent, they reminded me of vapor trails instantaneously forming and disappearing behind plane wings. It was an incredible sight that I hadn't seen anywhere else.

With wind speeds ramping up and fog clearing tomorrow, keep an eye towards the summit! You might even be able to see a little white!

Mike Dorfman – Weather Observer

18:01 Sun Sep 22nd

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Sunrise Friday Morning

With winter quickly approaching up here on the summit, I've been busy the past few days making sure everything is ready for the winter season. Yesterday I helped the observers put in our outer layer of storm windows around the weather room. The outer layer of windows helps to keep a little bit of the draftiness out of our workplace and also is some added protection during the winter season when winds are typically much higher. I also helped to bring in our EMF reader, which is used during the summer to help give us an idea when lightning may become a hazard on the summit. Even Marty has been doing some preparation for winter, grooming himself even more often than usual to help bring in his new winter coat.

The weather for the next 24 hours also seems to be hinting at winter's arrival, with temperatures forecasted to fall well into the 20s overnight along with a few mixed precipitation showers (and maybe our first snowflakes of fall!). The higher summits should remain mostly in the fog through tomorrow, resulting in a healthy amount of rime and glaze ice. Should be interesting to see just how wintry things will look tomorrow!

Tom Padham – Summit Intern

17:39 Sat Sep 21st

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One of the Author's favorite views in the Whites.

Believe it or not, working and living on the summit of Mount Washington can easily numb one's senses of the real dangers that we face here in the mountains. Beautifully sunny skies, above average temperatures and light winds have dominated our weather since the beginning of our shift this past Wednesday, allowing for placid trips outdoors during hourly observations. Since the average observation lasts somewhere between 2-10 minutes (depending on conditions), it's easy enough for observers to put on a light jacket and brave the elements (in the warmer months anyways) for a brief foray outside.

As you may be well aware, Mount Washington claimed another life this past Thursday evening, when a 25-year-old man lost his footing and fell while wandering off the Tuckerman Ravine trail to get a closer look at the waterfalls that cascade over the Headwall. Following a massive response by several search and rescues groups and volunteers and an unbelievable extraction via a New Hampshire Air National Guard Black Hawk, all efforts were sadly unable to revive the man.

It's unfortunate that each year we are given these reminders about the real dangers we face in the mountains. For many of us, it's the possibility, and sometimes thrill, of danger that lures people to take risks. The 'freedom of the hills' often comes with a price, and it is up to the individual to be responsible for his or her safety. For us at the Mount Washington Observatory we work hard day in and day out to provide the most accurate weather information possible for the safety of the public, though it should always be reiterated: checking weather conditions ahead of a hike is only one piece of the information visitors to Mount Washington need in order to have both a safe and enjoyable visit. HikeSafe.com, a partnership between White Mountain National Forest and NH Fish and Game, is another excellent resource for hiker preparedness. Additionally, consider taking a skills course through the Appalachian Mountain Club, or learn Wilderness First Aid through SOLO Wilderness Medical School in Conway, NH. Maybe become a volunteer for a local Search and Rescue group!

While the hiker community suffered a great loss on Thursday, let this not be a story without a lesson- this exceptional mountain community has a plethora of resources that can allow us to both enjoy the rugged beauty of the mountains and also come home safely.

Brian Fitzgerald – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

07:56 Fri Sep 20th

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A passing helicopter on a beautiful day

It may only be the start of my second week on the summit, but I am already knee deep in fulfilling my responsibilities as an intern and I love every moment! Clear skies and light winds across New England over the past few days have made the summit a very popular place.

On top of giving numerous tours of the Observatory, I am preparing and broadcasting 36- hour forecasts for a local radio station. Today in fact, I will begin my intern project which involves digitizing a few years of our weather data from the 1940s. I am excited to delve into the early climatology of the summit, as well as learning about the differences between early data collection and today's methods.

It is hard to believe that the first day of fall is just a few days away. The weather we've been experiencing at the summit lately makes it feel more like summer. However, this is not uncommon as the fall is known to be a transition season. There will be days when there is abundant sunshine and warm temperatures and others which feature cold temperatures and even snow showers. For example, last week on September 11th, the summit reached 63 degrees, breaking the daily record high of 60. 5 days later on the 16th, the temperature plummeted to 19 degrees, 4 degrees shy of the daily record low.

Observer Footnote: Please be aware that information and data services are still having trouble pushing to our website. So, weather data, Observer Comments, webcam images, etc. may not be current or available. We are working towards resolving this issue as soon as possible.

Samuel Hewitt – Summit Intern

17:04 Wed Sep 18th

Wednesday is traditionally shift change day for summit staff.

Unfortunately, some car trouble kicked things off this morning, giving us all a little bit of a later start to the day.

After getting to the summit, our shift change meetings ensued, which encompassed most of the day. The weather was very pleasant today, with relatively light winds, sunny skies, and temperatures breaking into the 50s. Visibility also maxed out at 130 miles today, our station maximum.

Well, it's 5 PM now, and time to unwind a bit before our volunteers dish out a delicious dinner for the crew. I can't wait to see what they're preparing!

Observer Note: We are currently experiencing issues with data flow to our website. This is affecting (but isn't limited to) current conditions and mesonet data. Please be patient as we work towards repairing this issue as quickly as possible.

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

22:22 Tue Sep 17th

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Sunrise w/ rime.

Observer Note: We are currently experiencing issues with data flow to our website. This is affecting (but isn't limited to) current conditions and mesonet data. Please be patient as we work towards repairing this issue as quickly as possible.

We have once again been blessed with the opportunity to live on the Rockpile while cooking for the Observatory crew. No two trips are ever the same, so we will share some of our unique adventures from this past week; our fifth time here.

Wednesday morning, we left our homes in Contoocook, NH at 4:45 am, which was an hour earlier than our last trips to the summits. We arrived early so we could accommodate an early shift change for the Observatory Crew so they could go on a Field Trip to the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine for the day. Rebecca stayed here to run the weather station and AJ came up to staff the museum. With a smaller crowd visiting the summit, it made for a quiet and reflective 9/11. Early in the day, a new daily record high of 63 degrees was set on the summit and there was 30-mile visibility. By the late afternoon though, clouds and rain arrived with thunderstorms and lightening on the summit as the field trippers were starting up the auto road.

Our first four years of volunteering was with the same shift of observers. This year however, we were place on the opposite shift. We have enjoyed sharing the week with the 3-"R's" that make up the Observers: Rebecca, Ryan, and Roger. To round out the crew, the three observers are joined by their intern Pratik and their Museum Attendant AJ. Their "family style" mealtime always included plenty of stories and laughter. And this year was our first time experiencing the preparation of lunch for visiting guests on three separate days.

Saturday afternoon as the rain and mist was clearing, a rainbow was viewable from the observation deck. Saturday evening was delightful with six additional guests and lively conversation, followed by an outside tour and viewing of both a magnificent "moon dog" and "moonbow". Visibility was 120 miles, allowing the city lights of Portland to shine as vibrantly as the star constellations above.

Great crowds of hikers arrived on the summit both Saturday and Sunday, as well as visitors from The Cog and Auto Road. AJ counted exactly 1000 visitors through the Observatory Museum on Sunday alone!

Monday, as the temperatures continued to dip fall below freezing, the Auto Road closed by 2 pm in anticipation of some possible late day icing. By sunset, visible rime ice with winds gusting to 50 mph and the wind chill at ZERO, we got our first taste of winter for the Rockpile.

Monday evening we discovered blue liquid leaking in the pipes near the stove and in the hood overhead. We alerted the staff and on Tuesday, NH State Park staff determined it was coming from the fire suppression system. An emergency call went out, but it would not be until 5:15 pm when Lance (the repair technician) arrived...just as we were starting dinner preparations. Definitely a first (and hopefully a last) time to experience sharing the kitchen/stove for 2.5 hours, right up to meal time. In fact, we considered calling out for pizza instead of making it!

We have gratitude for the opportunities granted to us this week and rejoice in the creation of God's country and serenity.

Sandra Fisher & Sharon Camp – Summit Volunteers

23:49 Mon Sep 16th

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Lakes of the Clouds Hut and Mt. Monroe yesterday.

As the transition from summer to fall continues, there are a few things that visitors should be aware of if climbing, driving, etc to the summits of New Hampshire. First is the weather and daylight hours. While we may still get some fair weather days ahead, in general things will continue to get colder and more winter like on the higher summits. Hikers to the 4000+ footers of New Hampshire should look at a forecast prior to heading out. It could be our Higher Summits Forecast, NWS Outdoor Recreation Forecast or something automated like you would find on weather.com or accuweather.com for instance. Hikers should also keep in mind that available daylight to hike in is getting shorter. This means our sunrises are getting later and our sunsets are getting earlier. When we started the month, the summit had 13 hours 26 minutes of available daylight and when we end the month, we will have 11 hours and 59 minutes of daylight. While still plenty of time in a day to do a long day hike, the main point to take away is pack a headlamp just in case and start hitting the trails earlier than you would in July.

The next thing to be aware of has to deal with shorter daylight hours, and that is the second round of Fall 2013 operating hours is now in effect. At the summit, this means NH State Park's Sherman Adams Building will now operate from 8:30 am EDT until 5:00 pm EDT. According to NH State Parks website, the Tip Top House Historic Site is now closed for the season. For the Mount Washington Auto Road, their new operating hours will be 8:00 am EDT until 5:00 pm EDT. The Cog Railway will continue to operate 8:15 am EDT until 3:30 pm EDT until this Saturday when they operate from 8:15 am EDT until 4:30 pm EDT. These are the times published on their sites (which are all linked to above), however, all of their operating dates and times are subject to change without notice; especially during events of inclement weather. So, visitors should call the various agencies ahead of time to ensure they are operating on any given day. All of their contact information can also be found in the links above.

Lastly, two of Appalachian Mountain Club's New Hampshire huts, Lakes of the Clouds Hut to our south and Madison Spring Hut to our north, will be closing for the season. Both huts are listed as closing on Sunday, September 22. In case you don't have a calendar at the ready, that is this coming weekend. So, if you were planning to stay in them this year, you may want to reserve and head up in the coming days before time runs out. And their closing means they will no longer be available for water, toilets, temporary shelter from the weather, etc. So keep this in mind if you normally use them for these types of services on your way up/down the mountain(s).

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

23:44 Sun Sep 15th

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Northern fall color starting behind Mt. Jefferson.

When we came up on Wednesday, it felt like summer. It was hot, humid, hazy, and the threat of thunderstorms was off the charts. Technically, it was and is still summer, at least until next Sunday, September 22, 2013 when the Autumnal Equinox occurs. However, Wednesday's weather was the exception and not the norm as this time of year just starts to feel more like fall than summer here in New England, regardless of what the calendar says. Pumpkin Spice starts showing up in everything on every menu, pools are 'winterized', blueberry picking is replaced by apple picking, fairs start springing up, the leaves are changing color and the air in general just has a certain feel to it that signals that fall is here or at least on its way. And that was certainly the case today.

Unlike Wednesday, today was cool with seasonable temperatures (approx. 40F/4C), it was drier, visibility was infinite at times, and there was plenty of sunshine with just some fair weather clouds. So weather wise, it felt like fall to me. However, it was the valleys below that signified the more notable change was on its way as leaves were starting to show color for the Great North Woods and parts of the Mount Washington Valley. They were not vibrant and nowhere near their peak quite yet, but the orange/brown/muted yellow look they take on when they start changing was definitely starting to show. Having seen this vista for a number of years now, I can say, we are not too far off from when the big transition starts to spread across the region providing a wave of color across New Hampshire and New England in general. If you are looking to track it further for yourself you can head to our Fall Foliage page for various links that can further assist you.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

18:42 Sat Sep 14th

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Field Trip to NWS, Gray, ME

A common misconception people have of the Mount Washington Observatory is that we're funded purely from the National Weather Service (NWS). This is not the case though; the Mount Washington Observatory is a private, non-profit, membership based organization. However, we do maintain a yearly contract with the NWS to provide them with our hourly weather observations and weather documents for a minimum amount of compensation. The weather data provided to them is then fed into the NWS regional and national forecasting models (GFS, NAM, etc) to assist in generating various weather maps used by NWS, local/national media, online media, and the public. If our relationship with them is still confusing, think of them as a neighbor we provide a cup of sugar to (our weather observations) so they can provide us with a piece of cake (the forecast models).

While we all have a great working relationship with our local NWS office in Gray, ME, most of us had never spent any significant amount of time with them observing and learning what they do. So on Wednesday, most of the summit staff went to Gray, ME to visit our local NWS office and get to know what they do a bit better. We toured their facilities, learned about their structuring, shadowed some of their day to day operations, and lucked out in assisting in launching their 18Z SPECI weather balloon. It was very interesting and informative and helped fill in the how, when, and why of their side of operations to better assist us in how we see and use some of their products. To everyone at NWS, Gray, ME, thank you for your hospitality and taking some time out of your schedule to shows us a bit of what you do.

Ryan Knapp – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

17:51 Fri Sep 13th

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Putting my weather & avalanche knowledge to use.

Being the Educational Specialist, I am always excited when I can promote educational material. Three years ago, the White Mountain Avalanche Education Fund was established by the White Mountain National Forest's Mount Washington Avalanche Center to educate kids in the Northeast about avalanches. Focusing on students who look to take their sport into avalanche terrain, this year's Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW) on November 9th has the opportunity for 15 scholarships.

For the rest of us, the workshop still has an incredible amount of information to provide. This is not an avalanche class, but a higher-level, one day symposium that encompasses new science, useful practical skills for the field, and interesting presentations about avalanche problems around eastern North America. As an added bonus, when you sign up for ESAW 2013, they are offering a $10 gift certificate if you are a member of one of their selected organizations; and the Mount Washington Observatory happens to be one of them! Even if you are not a member of the Observatory, it isn't too late to join prior to the workshop.

I myself have been to and presented at ESAW and know the value of the information that is provided during this workshop. Understanding the weather and making a safe assessment prior to an outdoor adventure is only half the battle in the winter. The other half is understanding the risk of avalanche prone areas around the mountain. This conference brings what we work so hard to distribute and educate on to the next level in promoting safe recreational use at the 'Home of the World's Worst Weather' and beyond.

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

16:42 Thu Sep 12th

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Mesoscale Activity Map

After a very hot and humid afternoon, the atmosphere was perfectly set up to bring severe weather throughout last night. Isolated thunderstorms were prominent on the summits bringing some heavy rain and strong winds. The night sky was lit up so bright at times from frequent lightning, that it felt as if someone was turning the lights on and off in a pitch black room. By the morning the summits seemed quiet, but strong gusts did occur for very brief periods of time. Early this morning, we experienced a strong downburst which peaked around 75 mph. Downburst are very dangerous because it's a cold pool of air plummeting towards the ground as it is denser than the surrounding air. This is created as precipitation falls and evaporates creating a cold pool of air. This cold pool air is denser and heavier than the air around it and sinks very rapidly towards the ground.

Last night, Observer Rebecca Scholand took a screenshot of the radar (shown in the thumbnail) that shows us the progression of lightning throughout the region. As you can see there are a lot of things occurring on the map, but the one thing that stands out the most is the lightning strikes indicated by the various squares of different colors. The white squares represent the most recent lightning strikes that occurred approximately 12 minutes before the stated time. Following all the colors, you can clearly get a better visualization of the movement of the thunderstorms. This is just many of the tools we use to determine the path of the storms that traverse through the region.

In addition, the weather on the summit will continue to be active for the next few days. As a cold front moves into the region, it will trigger some thunderstorms also bringing colder air into the New England region, leading to falling temperatures.

Pratik Patel – Summit Intern

22:01 Wed Sep 11th

Today is Wednesday, which is ordinarily shift change day for summit staff. The up-going shift meets at the base of the mountain, and ascends the Auto Road during the early morning hours, meeting the down-going shift at the front of the Sherman Adams building. Shift-change Wednesday is generally an information exchange between both shifts, through a series of meetings, which are vital to ensure a smooth transition and minimize any lapses in operation.

However, today is an exception to the rule, and a very special shift-change day. Instead of the normal procedures, most of the summit staff is headed over to Gray, ME, to visit our local National Weather Service (NWS) office. Throughout our time at NWS today, MWO staff members will be learning the inner-workings of a forecast office, and observing the NWS staff in action! Since most of us are self-proclaimed weather geeks, we are most certainly looking forward to this field trip. In addition, this is one of the few opportunities for members of opposite shifts to get to know each other in a different setting than our mountaintop station.

As for today's summit operations- fear not! Weather Observer/Education Specialist Rebecca Scholand has graciously offered to stay behind and man the ship up on the Rockpile until her shiftmates return.

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

16:12 Tue Sep 10th

What a week it's been. On a blue sky Wednesday morning we met the crew, loaded groceries, gear, and us into the van, and drove up the Auto Road with the folks who would be our companions for the following seven days. The abyss of Great Gulf and the brutes that are the northern Presidentials seemed intent on intimidating all who saw them, and in our case they succeeded. If you've been here you know that anyone who disparages these mountains because they don't reach extreme heights doesn't know what they're talking about, and that's not even considering the weather.

Ah, the weather. We've enjoyed four lowland seasons in a week. That tranquil Wednesday in the valley was nothing like it at the summit. While the sun graced the high peaks, sustained winds in the 40s gusted over 70 miles per hour. We played on the observation deck like a couple of kids. Do you remember windy days in your childhood when you leaned back into the wind to see if it would hold you up, but it never did because it wasn't strong enough? It's strong enough here, and what a kick it was. On Thursday we spent most of the day in the clouds, but they began to break around sunset, just in time for alpenglow to set the remnants ablaze as they dashed by close enough to touch. Dawn broke crystal clear on Friday and it remained that way all day, an autumnal alpine gem ideal for hiking but kind of boring weather-wise, and Saturday was similar until mid-afternoon, when a spectacular multi-layered lenticular cloud developed above the eastern horizon. Later, thick clouds moved in again, pouring over the summit a few hundred feet above our heads like swiftly flowing water. One long-time observer said he'd never seen anything like it.

On Sunday it all broke loose: temperatures fell into the 20s, the wind chill hovered near zero, and rain, snow, sleet, and hail fell in turn, all driven by wind gusting over 80 miles per hour. It was positively malevolent. Ice crystals hitting your face at that speed feel like a million stinging nettles. Hapless hikers who hadn't checked the forecast or had ignored it huddled in the public area wondering how to manage an escape. We felt bad for them while relishing being able to venture out into it before returning to the safety and comfort of the Observatory. Yesterday, dry conditions returned and temperatures rose into balmy mid-40s, while the ever-present wind blew at benign (for here) speeds.

We'll long remember the weather, but most of all we'll remember the people. Observers Mike C., Mike D., and Brian bring high expertise and professionalism to their work, and they take it uber-seriously. At the same time they have infectious (dare we old guys say youthful?) enthusiasm for all things meteorological. Interns Tom and Sam, here to learn from the best, have been our guides, keeping us abreast of what's happening in the skies and what's to come and why. Simply put, these guys dig weather. They're also fun to be around. We'll remember hanging with them in the evening, enjoying conversation and laughs around the dinner table, and joining them as humble subjects of Marty the Great.

But as the philosopher said, it isn't over til it's over. As we write, a line of storms races across Vermont bearing heavy rain and threatening to push the wind here to 80 mph again. Thunder and lightning should arrive soon, and the warm air contributing to the impending fireworks may bring record high temperatures in the next 24 hours. There's never a dull moment here on top of the rock pile. It's been our great good fortune to spend the week here, and while we look forward to going home to our families, we'll start missing this place the moment we leave.

Dave and Bob – Summit Volunteers

17:18 Mon Sep 9th

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A sleet drift late in the day Sunday

This week has been a roller coaster ride of weather, with winds ranging from nearly calm to 85 miles per hour, and the summit seeing rain, sleet, freezing rain, and even small hail all in a single day (Sunday). Yesterday we were below freezing for most of the day, allowing for rime and glaze ice to coat the top 500 feet or so of the summit. This small taste of winter was short lived however, as temperatures rebounded very nicely today from 26 degrees to the mid-40s.

The roller coaster ride looks to continue, with a very strong warm front approaching the area tomorrow. Strong storms could be possible tomorrow with gusty winds and small hail. Regardless of gusty winds from any thunderstorms, winds are expected to ramp up to near hurricane force (over 74 mph) with higher gusts by the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to soar into the 60s on the higher summits for Wednesday, possibly breaking a record high for the day, and strong thunderstorms could be possible once again. So as you can see there could be some very interesting weather going on over the next 48 hours!

Tom Padham – Summit Intern

16:10 Sun Sep 8th

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Observer Mike Carmon observing lenticular clouds.

While there may not have been a visible sunset last evening, there was plenty of weather excitement during the Observatory's annual Sunset Soiree. Guests of the Observatory were greeted at the summit with temperatures falling through the mid 40s and winds sustained between 50-65 miles per hour. Those who were willing to brave the winds on the observation deck had a spectacular view of lenticular clouds forming above the Wildcat and Presidential ranges.

Fast forward to this afternoon, and the Rockpile is experiencing more winter-like conditions with temperatures tumbling through the 30s and eventually the 20s this evening, with winds gusting so far up to 80 miles per hour. Ice pellet showers and glaze icing have only added to the winter excitement today- and as you might imagine the summit crew, myself included, have been more than happy to run up the tower stairs to de-ice the instruments and try to catch ice pellets. Hard to believe models are suggesting near record highs on Wednesday!

Although it was said last night, it's worth saying a HUGE Thank You again to Mount Washington State Park, the Mount Washington Auto Road and Thompson House Eatery for all of their help with last night's Soiree! For more information about the Mount Washington Observatory and upcoming events, visit MountWashington.org!

Brian Fitzgerald – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

20:58 Sat Sep 7th

Born and raised in seacoast New Hampshire, I have experienced a variety of severe weather phenomena, including thunderstorms and nor'easters. They say that if you don't like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes and it will change. Up here on the summit however, it is a whole different story. In the blink of an eye the summit can go from being engulfed in fog, to in the clear with visibilities of over 100 miles! It is hard to believe that at night, lights from ships in the Atlantic Ocean can even be seen!

In the three days that I have been up here, I have already experienced some extreme weather conditions. On my first day, I assisted two of my colleagues in taking down two of the Observatory's R.M. Young anemometers from the top of the tower, as we were expecting icing conditions, and these instruments are not heated. Normally, this is a relatively easy task under calm conditions, but on this day however, we were battling 70+ mph winds. Two days later, on Friday, I awoke to the summit coated in a thin layer of rime ice, as temperatures dropped well below the freezing mark overnight. Although I have seen rime ice before, its delicate, feather-like structure never ceases to amaze me. I look forward to more of the same in the months to come!

I am honored to have been chosen for the Observatory internship this fall and I look forward to learning about the responsibilities of an observer as well as about the early climatology of the summit. I hope to gain more experience in higher elevation forecasting and a greater understanding of the atmosphere. I am excited to spend the next several months working in the 'Home of the World's Worst Weather!'

Samuel Hewitt – Summit Intern

17:09 Fri Sep 6th

This first Friday of September definitely felt like summer was behind us, as the observers awoke to temperatures in the mid-20s and even a small amount of rime ice on the deck. Despite the cold conditions, it was actually a very beautiful morning. With the sun rising later each morning, my normal schedule allows me to stroll up to the weather room just in time for sunrise this time of year. This morning I was able to quickly run outside and grab a few photos of the first rime ice of this fall season against the brilliant orange and pink hues of the rising sun.

Looking at the forecast for the next few days, we may not need to wait long until we see some more icing conditions. A cold front will bring temperatures tumbling back into the upper 20s Sunday night, and if the higher summits remain in the clouds as the models are currently indicating we should see some more substantial ice than this morning. Winds have also been looking like they could be gusty, so I'm looking forward to some potentially exciting weather!

Observer Footnote: Sunset Soiree, our annual fundraising event, is tomorrow night! Enjoy a private wine tasting, dessert and a sunset champagne toast on the summit, and a delicious dinner at the Thompson House Eatery in Jackson! Only 4 tickets remain, so reserve yours today and don't miss out on this unique experience!

Tom Padham – Summit Intern

15:31 Thu Sep 5th

photo - see caption below
This Morning's Glaze Ice

The calendar has turned to September, which serves as an excellent reminder that winter can rear its head on the summit at any time during the calendar year. It does not wait for December!

Today was a quintessential example of this. Despite the fact that it is only September 5th, temperatures early this morning fell to 29F behind a passing cold front, which harbored an unseasonably chilly air mass from Canada. With fog teasing the summits during this sub-freezing period, some very light glaze ice began to accumulate during a two-hour time frame this morning. Couple this with winds gusting in excess of 50 mph, and the result is quite a wintry scenario, that could very easily catch one off guard.

Tonight, temperatures are expected to dip even more, bottoming out in the low to mid 20s. Today's daily record low is 23F, so we are well within reach of that mark tonight. While temperatures are supposed to steadily moderate over the next few days, another cold front with a shot of chilly air is expected early next week.

Stay warm and stay prepared!

Mike Carmon – Weather Observer/Meteorologist

22:16 Wed Sep 4th

While it may seem brisk in the valley tomorrow, it will seem downright wintery up here on the summit! With highs in the low to mid 30's, the summit will be flirting with freezing all day, and mixed precipitation showers will be falling in the morning. With possible de- icing required tonight and tomorrow night, I, as the night observer, won't have a hard time staying awake!

Tomorrow night, temperatures are projected to drop into the low 20's. It may be finally time to pull out the warm EMS gloves for the season! If you're headed above tree line for a hike, be sure to check our higher summits forecast, and don't get caught in wintry weather unprepared!

Observer Footnote: The Sunset Soiree, our annual fundraising event, is coming up this Saturday! Enjoy a private wine tasting, dessert and a sunset champagne toast on the summit, and a delicious dinner at the Thompson House Eatery in Jackson! A limited number of tickets remain, so reserve yours today!

Mike Dorfman – Weather Observer

18:31 Tue Sep 3rd

For those of you that love history, today marks the 230th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris. This treaty marked the end of the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States of America. In addition, it granted the United States of America freedom from England under the rule of King George III. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay signed the treaty in Paris, France along with the opposing parties.

In other news, the weather this evening might be filled with some isolated showers, so dress accordingly. As of right now, the Summit is in a state of Fog with very low visibility. Tonight, there is a chance of some isolated thunderstorms and heavy rain. Also, as Rebecca has mentioned, the NH State Park, The Cog, and the Mt. Washington Auto Road are operating under their fall hours, so please plan accordingly.

Pratik Patel – Summit Intern

18:18 Mon Sep 2nd

Please be aware that starting tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 3), the NH State Park, The Cog, and the Mt Washington Auto Road will all start their first round of fall operating hours. As the season progresses this will continue to change so please take the time to look if you plan to hike up but not down. With this it is also important to mention that the weather on the summit will begin to cool and you should plan accordingly as the valley may be quite a bit warmer then the summit of Mount Washington.

Rebecca Scholand – Weather Observer/Education Specialist

17:05 Sun Sep 1st

As a new Intern at the Mount Washington Observatory, I have to say I am very impressed. The people here are extremely friendly and the weather here is absolutely fantastic in the world of Meteorology. I can't wait to see what this place has in store for me. Working with my team Rebecca, Ryan and Roger has been a great experience so far and I love meeting new people who come to visit the summit. As my internship continues to mature, I will slowly gain more responsibility that will not only help me prepare forecasts, but it will also drastically improve my social skills.

The weather at the summit is nothing like I've seen before. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, I've had my fair share of moody weather. However, here at the summit, it is a whole new story. The winds will blow at a raging 50-60mph and then quiet down to 10mph within a matter of hours. The summit is mostly engulfed in a wall of Fog. Clear skies are a very rare thing and definitely catch your attention because it offers an unmistakable view of the whole region. You can see several other states, as well as Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. I am glad and very excited to be here working with some of the brightest minds the Observatory has the pleasure of having.

Pratik Patel – Summit Intern

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