[at-l] Weather craziness
nayrdrofwarc at gmail.com
Sat Dec 4 22:07:06 CST 2010
Quite often times during the winter months you'll find inversions occuring
under crystal clear skies. I had my encounter up on Moosilauke quite a few
years ago. I kept trying to find the decent weather to go hiking in the
Whites...yet alone during the winter. Everytime I would get almost to the
top to get nailed by the weather, whether it be clouds or wind.
I finally started thinking it through. It always seemed like I was getting
nailed by the forecast. The forecast would be in my favor but the reality
was otherwise. I decided to try a new approach. Instead of trying to find
two days back to back that would be sunny skies I went for three instead.
Figuring, it seemed like the Whites were acting like a magnet to the
outgoing storm front and a magnet to the incoming storm front. The longer
time delay I saw between the storm fronts, I figured, the better my chances
of getting nice weather.
I finally found a nice stretch and called it 24 hours beforehand and decided
to head up on the night before the full moon in December '04 or '05. As I
drove up from central NH I did notice as I got beside Mt. Sunapee that the
temperature had climb. At least according to the overhead console in my car
it had. I didn't think anything about it. I got to the parking lot on the
south side of the AT. It was 0 F. I decided to try to keep as little on as
possible it keep from sweating. I started the hike up and it was long
before I noticed it seemed rather strange. It felt like it was warming up.
I remind my plan was to hit the top right at sunrise.
I continued climb and finally after a while took a layer off. I got on up
to the left hand turn where the DOC trail coming up from the DOC cabin meets
the AT, right around treeline. I put on some extra clothes and took a
look...finally, at the thermometer I had taken with me. I about crapped my
pants. It 26 F and the sun was still below the horizon. I missed the
sunrise from the top by about 4-5 cairns. I was totally above the trees
though so I was darn close. I ended up spending an hour up top with 28 F,
dead calm winds, and 100% clear skies. As I headed back down I noticed it
was still only around 10 F when I got back to my car.
I drove home and took a quick look first thing on www.mountwashington.org
and saw it was still showing EXTREMELY light winds and around 30 F. It
ended up being the warmest spot in New England for the entire day.
A few weeks later I used the same approach to have my first great day up on
Lafayette. The inversion wasn't quite as pronounced but I would say it was
During the winter months the colder it is overnight the greater you chances
for seeing extreme temperature inversions.
I saw one happen here a few weeks ago. The forecast had been for 4 days in
a row of sunshine. I hadn't thought about it until I woke up in the morning
and after looking at the thermometer hanging outside the kitchen window and
seeing 26 F and then seeing Lebanon/Hanover was only reporting 23 F it got
me to thinking. I quickly hopped ontro MW.org and took a look. It was
showing 41 F and very light winds.
Yeah, you typically want to see a warm front coming through if you want to
find a nice temperature inversion but if you have a nice pocket of cold
air...0 - subzero on the ground their are good chances you'll find what I
indicated above as the results. If you want clear skies, calm winds and
warmer temps at the summit than the base...look for temperature inversions
and go hike.
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