When you work at Mount Washington Observatory in North Conway, New Hampshire, you get used to some odd weather; it's on the summit of a mountain, after all. So even in mid-May, the observation deck can be icy, snowy and very windy. And by "very windy," we mean around 109 mph, which is nearly the top speed for the sustained winds of a Category 2 hurricane.
Due to these extreme conditions, employees at the observatory have to trek out from the warm comfort of the weather room every day to deice the various instruments at the top of the weather tower. As Mike Dorfman explains on the observatory's website, it's a delicate process of chipping away at ice with a crowbar and, if it's too windy and cold, hitting pipes with the aforementioned crowbar.
After the instruments have been freed from the ice, employees will head down to the observation deck and check for snowfall and other precipitation. The easiest way to do this, Dorfman explains, is to grab a felt-covered board and hold it in the wind and see what kind of snow and ice accumulates. Low tech, but it works!
Once all the measurements have been taken, there's the possibility of a bit of fun in the wind. In the video above, Dorfman runs (or tries to) and hops against the blustery gale while skidding around on the rime ice that forms. The deck's railing provides some cover from the wind, as does the observation tower. Dorfman's glad to be able to have the chance to experience Mother Nature near her most challenging.
"It is really impossible to safely face down hundred-mile-per-hour winds almost anywhere else; you'd either be risking your life trying to hike into them (I was exhausted after several minutes of playing in the wind) or risking your life in a hurricane, where flying debris and shrapnel poses a huge threat. 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!"