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On the Rockpile Week of December 28 through January 3

New Year's Day brings in record warmth and a food hangover

January 06, 2011
Shift change on Wednesday was uneventful. The snow tractor, however, was nearly overflowing with food. This was in preparation for the New Year's Eve nine-course meal. Thursday and Friday (in addition to food preparation) the crew worked diligently to get a working heated anemometer on the tower. The back-up Pitot tube anemometer was placed on the tower on Friday, a few hours after the arrival of our guests (and just in time for the temperature to creep above the freezing mark). The gourmet, nine-course meal had everyone in food comas, fearful of not making it to midnight. Thanks to our volunteers, John Bauhs and Ed O'Malley, who made that amazing meal possible.

As temperatures soared into the forties to bring in the New Year, the summit began to melt. The previous record of 40°F, set in 1945 was broken as the mercury climbed to 42°F. The warm weather lasted through most of the day on Sunday. We were even treated to a beautiful sunset as temperature slipped into the twenties. However, the pleasant weather would not last long. Temperature dove into the single digits, freezing all the slush and water, making an ice-skating rink of the summit. In the wee hours of Monday morning, the heated back-up Pitot tube acquired a stubborn ice clog.

Alas! Winds sounded very strong and felt very strong, it was difficult to effectively measure them. Another instrument was brought out of mothballs – a heated, spinning anemometer. By dinnertime, the Mount Washington Observatory was once again measuring winds– which gusted up to 126 mph. Calmer conditions, along with a more long-term solution are in the forecast for the next week.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
Alton School
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