When the summer turns cold, it’s all in the attitude

Oh, it got a little chilly and breezy over the weekend, did it, Minnesota?

So sad.

Let’s check in on New Hampshire’s balmy Mount Washington.

That’s Mike Dorfman doing his job on Monday.

He takes weather observations for NOAA, the 109-miles-per-hour winds be damned, he writes on his blog.

It’s really impossible to imagine the winds on the summit without experiencing them firsthand. The Sherman Adams building has 3 foot thick concrete walls and 3 layers of bullet-resistant glass windows.

Even with this protection, the constant, dull roar of the wind is ever-present in the Observatory’s Weather Room. Heading up to the tower to deice every hour is an adventure; the enclosed parapet-like tower roars like the sound of a jet engine as a plane is taking off, and exiting the top door of the parapet is like opening up the window of that ascending jet.

The top of the tower is surrounded by a solid, chest-high railing that blocks most of the wind. In the center of the top of the tower is a 5-foot-tall, concrete cylinder designed to raise the wind instruments above the turbulent influence of the tower railings.

In low and moderate winds, we climb up a vertical ladder on the side of this concrete block and duck under a 3-foot-wide red, metal ring attaching various vertical instrument posts. Carefully using a delicate deicing instrument (crowbar), we chip up to half a foot off of the instrument posts on top of the tower.

Our critical instruments are heated, but the rime ice building off of these instruments can quickly envelop heated instruments (or at the very least, disrupt air flow).

After wind surpasses around 80 mph, we avoid climbing up the last section of exposed ladder to the instruments, instead opting to deice as much as we can from down below, using a crowbar to send vibrations through the metal posts that attach to our instruments. Next stop is down to the deck to do the real science.

Here’s the part that’s great: He loves his job.

“Whether safely surfing the blustery wind or relaxing on the couch in our living quarters, I am very thankful for my experience here on the summit!” he writes.

So is Meredith Campbell. She started this week as an intern at the weather station.

Photo: Meredith Campbell

“How many people get to experience record breaking low temperatures and 100+ mph winds during their summer internship?” she writes.

The same front that rolled through Minnesota over the weekend, made its way to Mount Washington yesterday.

“I feel pretty lucky,” she says.