Pictures and video from the week of 3-10-10 to 3-17-10

March 16, 2010, 1:25:19 PM EDT

Another shift on the mountain has quickly gone by and will end tomorrow, so that means it's time to sum up my time on the Rockpile in pictures and a couple videos. I didn't get to take a ton of pictures this week, so I will also be featuring some shots from the two volunteers we had here this week, as well as my fellow observer Ryan.

Here is a shot he took on our trip up the mountain last Wednesday. This shows our snow tractor on the 5 mile portion of the Mount Washington Auto Road, as well as the Northern Presidentials in the background (photo by Observatory volunteer Ed O'Malley):


Also taken on shift change day last Wednesday, this shot is looking through a door frame that is part of the old foundation for a building that burned down in 2003 (photo by Ed O'Malley):


One last shot from last Wednesday of a neat cloud formation below the summit:


Here is a great shot that Ed took of a halo last Saturday (WIKI) (photo by Ed O'Malley):


And another shot from last Saturday, featuring some nice lenticular clouds (photo by Ed O'Malley):


The halo and the lenticulars from the last couple pictures were precursors to a significant Nor' Easter that started Sunday and lasted into Monday morning. While the vast majority of places in the northeast saw rain from this event, we received all frozen precipitation (snow and sleet). By the time it all ended late Monday morning, over 17 inches of snow had fallen on moderate to strong east winds. Because of this, we were greeted by an incredible wall of snow when opening the front entrance to the building Monday morning:


At this point in time, the drift was about 6 feet tall. Here I am standing next to the drift. Keep in mind that I am standing on at least a foot or two of snow:


The drift had a very interesting shape to it:



Here is the first of two videos that we made on Monday. This one is a time-lapse that shows the drift forming. This is about 50 minutes of real-time video that you will see in just over 20 seconds:

As a quick fix, we shoveled a path through the shortest part of the drift. This showed the true depth of the snow:


Later on Monday morning, the fog suddenly cleared off. This shot shows some of the cool rime ice formations that accrued during the storm (picture by Ed O'Malley):


The deck of stratus clouds above us slowly began to lift (picture by Ed O'Malley):


This clearing allowed our snow tractor to make it to the summit with participants in our DayTrip program:



After the DayTrip left, it was time to tackle the immense job of shoveling the drift out of the way of our front entrance. Here is what it looked like by that time (it had grown another foot or two):


It took 5 of us almost an hour to shovel it all out. Here is the second video we shot, showing all that work in a time-lapse that boils it down to just over a minute:

So here is a shot of the entrance after the drift was shoveled:


Fellow observer Ryan made this next shot by layering two photos together. It does a great job showing the difference between before and after:


Now to finish up this week's pictures, here is a picture taken on Tuesday, which ended up being our 'clean up day' after the storm. Volunteer John Bauhs took this shot of us throwing snow and ice off of the top of the Observatory tower where our wind instruments are housed:


Well, my last two shifts on the mountain have brought major snow storms. Let's hope that trend continues when I return next week!

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