10:40 Tue Nov 26, 2019
My Internship Comes to an End
It felt like just yesterday was my first day as an intern driving up the road with chains on the truck with my face glued to the window in awe. It has now officially come to my final day on the summit and I could not have asked for a better experience.
As a meteorologist mountain forecasting on the summit is never an easy task, but forecasting every day this fall and learning so much from the observers I feel I have truly advanced my skills in forecasting. Being on the summit has really boosted my confidence and reassured me that meteorology is the right field for me. Mountain forecasting really makes you think more and dissect every weather variable and how the various variables interact through different levels of the atmosphere interact. Being an intern also improved my social skills as a meteorologist, improving my ability to explain different types of weather phenomena and forecasts to the public through daily tours during the summer, Facebook lives, and curious customers in the museum gift shops.
I thought I have seen some crazy weather before I came on the summit from seeing tornadoes and hail cores storm chasing, to seeing incredible snowfall rates during lake effect snow events on Lake Ontario. Nothing is even comparable to the various extreme types of weather that I saw these last 7 months. The internship began with a bang, I was lucky enough to experience a 105 mph wind gust and snow for my first shift. Then a few different shifts during the summer thunderstorms would pass over the whites brining direct lighting strikes to the radio towers which was so exciting. However nothing is comparable to the weather I was able to experience this week my last shift on the mountain. This last Friday I was lucky enough to experience what a real wind event is like on the summit of Mount Washington, where I was outside deicing during a 124 mph wind gust. Then just two days later the summit received nearly a foot of snow with moderate winds creating massive drifts around the summit cone. Let’s not forget about the incredible amounts of rime ice formation for nearly half of the shift.
The internship at the Mount Washington observatory internship was a once in a lifetime experience and it was everything I expected and much more. I learned so much about forecasting and became an all-around better meteorologist. I even picked up hiking, exploring the summit and the various mountains in New Hampshire. This internship further fueled my passion and fascination for extreme weather and allowed me to fall in love with the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
I want to thank everyone at the Mount Washington Observatory for making this an incredible experience especially the observers on my shift Ian, Jay, and Adam. Also thank you to anyone that has supported and is still supporting the Mount Washington Observatory, all of the great observations and research that we do cannot be done without you.
Ben Charles, Summit Intern