15:29 Fri Nov 17, 2017
My First Week, Part 2: Long Drive, Quiet Week
The first time I have ever really been east of the Mississippi River was coming to New Hampshire for my internship here at the Observatory. I had grown up in Colorado and gone to school in North Dakota but Mount Washington was always something that I paid attention too and was very excited to learn that I was given the opportunity to come out here for a few months and experience the weather first hand!
Moving out to New Hampshire happened really fast. I had applied for the Fall of 2015 internship Mid-July of 2015 and started my first week August 19th, 2015. At the time, I had just finished school and was still living in North Dakota helping out with some research projects as well as a few part time jobs. I had to put my two weeks’ notice at all the places I was working. Luckily I was staying at a friend’s apartment for the summer while their current roommate went home for the summer so I didn’t need to worry about breaking a lease or anything since I had to move out at the beginning of August anyways.
Driving to NH took about 3 days, though I took a more scenic route because I would be able to visit more states. I also took a detour through southern Canada as well. It was really neat driving by several of the Great Lakes as well as seeing Niagara Falls. The longest part of the Drive was after I made it to New York and drove to Lincoln NH in one stretch. I was not used to the slower speed limit as well as all the slow downs in all the little towns that you go through. I way underestimated how long this section of the drive would be.
I had about a day to settle into the apartment before I needed to head up to the summit for my first shift. Meeting at the base for shift change, the temperature was already in the 80s at 8:30 in the morning so I could not wait to get to the summit with the natural air conditioning from the higher altitude. The feeling that I was going to live up there for a whole week didn’t really set in until all the tourist left for the day and it was just the Observers and a few State Park employees left on the summit.
A few days into the shift, I finally got to experience my first cold front passage. There were a few thunderstorms that approached the summit but none of them made a direct impact. We did get a few heavy rain showers with it. Behind the front, temperatures dropped into the upper 40s with winds gusting over 50 mph. At the time, I thought it was really intense, but now it is barely a breeze after several winters up here. After the cold front, temperatures warmed back up into the upper 50s with a few showers for the rest of the week that barely made the ground wet.
Towards the end of my first week, we had some shallow fog that resulted in a weather phenomena that I had heard about but not seen. Early in the morning with the sun at my back, some banks of fog rolled up the side of the mountain, with a brocken spectre that surrounded my shadow. This is caused by back scattering of visible light by the small water droplets in the fog. All in all, it was a good week to ease into Mount Washington. I really hoped for worse weather on my first week but at least I was able to get out and explore a bit on the trails in the evening!
Adam Gill, Weather Observer/IT Specialist