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Observer Comments

00:35 Sat Feb 06, 2016

Wintry Weather Ahead!

It’s been a warm but also stormy start to the month of February across the high peaks of New England, with three out of the first four days of the month seeing above freezing temperatures. We also saw winds gust up to 125 mph on the 1st, with sustained wind speeds of over 100 mph for over an hour.

Wednesday was an especially interesting weather scenario for Mount Washington, with a strong warm front causing temperatures to surge to near-record territory in the mid-30s overnight after starting out only in the lower teens during the morning. Very strong and gusty southerly winds along with thick fog quickly made a big dent in the snowpack, with plenty of standing water and slush on my way out to grab the precipitation can at midnight.

Despite the forecast of Mr. Phil the groundhog, colder air looks to make an extended stay across northern New England for much of the next week ahead, with a few chances for snowfall. Saturday night and into Sunday morning a cold front will cross from the northwest, with upslope snow showers and the summits likely picking up 1-3 inches of snowfall. Monday looks to be the one completely dry day across the White Mountains, with weak high pressure allowing for fog free conditions and at least some sunshine.

Tuesday a more significant storm system is possible, with low pressure moving through the Ohio River valley before redeveloping off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Although the storm is several days away and things could change, temperatures will be cold enough for all snow in New Hampshire. Not every model has a significant storm for New England, however, and for now we’ll just have to wait and see how the models handle the development of the storm across the western U.S in the next few days. Either way, much more winter like conditions are returning to the mountains of New England, and I’m hoping for plenty of snow!

Tom Padham, Weather Observer/Meteorologist

16:06 Thu Feb 04, 2016

My Volunteer Trip #3

As I look back on my third week on the summit, by comparison to my previous visits, it has been a mild week. We did manage to get a peak gust of 125 mph Monday, and the rime ice formations and clouds on the horizon are always spectacular. The opportunity to make it to the century club was close at hand, but safety precautions had to be respected on this occasion. Last year I was with the team when the winter storm went through that caused the Boston Logan Airport to shut down, and caused our trip departure from the summit to be delayed by one day! Regardless, the time spent as a summit volunteer at the at Mount Washington Observatory is always worth every moment!

The visits here are a break away from the normal every day, and an opportunity to volunteer for a wonderful organization. To be in an environment where I can enjoy the silence of the mountain which allows time for escape and relaxation, and also be inside heavy weather events as they happen, offering one of a kind experiences that only those who seek this summit can fully appreciate. Within this framework of relaxation and sudden weather changes, my co-volunteer Jan Berriochoa and I have the responsibility to create meals for the summit team, summit edutrips, overnight guided hikes, and ourselves. Furnished with a well stocked set of freezers, and spices from A to Z, we are able to be creative with food offerings! The dinners are family style, and offers great down time to review the day's events, and to hear about the observers and interns interests in weather.

I was fortunate to meet Tom Guilmette, the videographer behind the production of Extreme Mount Washington videos. He was working on an upcoming project for MWOBS. In addition, I met the leader of this week's MWOBS EduTrip Joe Lentini, who is a professional guide and Vice President of The New Hampshire Mountain Service. Both of these men presented interesting insights into the mountain.

Thank you Mount Washington Observatory team: Mike Carmon, Tom Padham, Mike Wessler, Adam Gill, Will Broussard, and Snowcat Operators: Slim Bryant and Elissa Gramling for another great week on the summit.

I look forward to next January's volunteer week!

Summit Volunteer Jeff Swanson on observation deck

Jeff Swanson, Summit Volunteer

13:23 Mon Feb 01, 2016

A Taste of Spring

This El Niño-influenced winter we're currently in the midst of continues to throw a plethora of monkey wrenches and curveballs our way. The seemingly constant oscillation of warm-up to cool-down has been quite intriguing to witness from the perspective of the Northeast's highest peak. No matter how many cold and snowy days are thrown at us, we continue to harbor that feeling that it won’t last long, and another warm-up is not far down the road.

After a fairly-average shift with respect to temperature, last night harbored a remarkable warm-up as the mercury soared to 34 degrees F. Temperatures remained above freezing for approx. 12 hours, which resulted in a brief yet significant thaw around the summit station. Brief thaws such as this are not unusual in the winter months on Mount Washington, but it's nevertheless interesting to observe and record.


In the wake of that warm-up, a cold front came charging through earlier today, ramping winds up to a peak of 125 MPH on the summit! With colder air rushing in behind the front, temperatures will be back down into the single digits by tonight.

But we're not getting comfortable there! Yet another shot of milder air is headed our way on Wednesday, which could harbor more above-freezing temperatures and even plain rain at 6288'!

Mike Carmon, Co-Director of Summit Operations


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