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Quick weather update + Mt. Washington journal

Jason Samenow @ 9:11 AM


It will be hot and humid once again this afternoon, with high temps between 93 and 97, and heat indices near 105. A late afternoon or evening thunderstorm is also a possibility. The Air Quality forecast for today has improved from Code Red (unhealthy) to Code Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups).

The Washington Post features this story on the heat today: Roadwork, Residents Buckle Under Heat

In the tropics, Tropical Storm Irene has made her turn out to sea and will not affect us. Tropical Depresson #10 formed yesterday in the eastern Atlantic, but is struggling.

Live from Mount Washington, Final Edition features writer Andrew Freedman is spending the summer working at the Mount Washington Observatory, the self-proclaimed home of the World's Worst Weather. This is the sixth in a series of biweekly reports (read the first report, second report,third report, fourth report and fifth report).

It's my last Saturday night on the "rockpile," and the mountain is continuing to delight me with unusual weather. After winds gusting to near 70 mph earlier today (hilariously causing my little brother's eyeglasses to fly 70 feet off the instrument tower during a visit), at 11:00pm the temperature was a whopping 53 degrees, after another above average day. We have had 33 days where the mercury climbed above the 60 degree mark this summer, compared with seven such days in 2004. June was the warmest June on record, July was another hot one, and if August remains warm, we could have the hottest summer on record. This is quite a remarkable turnaround from a miserably cold and snowy spring.

Tonight the day shift observer and I hiked down to the Appalachian Mountain Club's Lakes of the Clouds hut, about a thousand feet below the summit. We had dinner there with the crew and watched a gorgeous sunset, topped off by the formation of a cap cloud that gave the summit of Mt. Washington a distinguished look. On our hike back up the mountain we were treated to a cat and mouse game of fog that would briefly reduce visibility, but then clear to reveal the vast stars above. In the distance we could see frequent flashes of lightning. Only upon returning to the weather room and looking at the radar did I realize the storms were actually over Massachusetts Bay, about 120 miles to our southeast. Now that's some good visibility!

I highly recommend any and all visitors make a trip up here to see this unique observatory. Better yet, become members and volunteer for a week, or take a winter "Edu Trip" to get your snow fix after any disappointing Mid-Atlantic storm events. In any case, bookmark the web site. The comments are always entertaining, and the photographs are stunning.

Bummer that I will have to return to observing the weather from sea level in a few days.

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Image courtesy Mount Washington Observatory

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