Workers on Mount Washington put a new twist on the phrase “running against the wind.”
Early Monday morning, employees at the observatory on the New Hampshire mountain stepped out onto the deck to experience some seriously strong winds.
In a video posted to the observatory’s Facebook page, weather observers Mike Dorfman and Tom Padham can be seen standing outdoors, trying their luck at charging into the extreme weather conditions, which at times gusted up to 109 miles per hour.
“Essentially, when the wind is that strong, it feels like a football player is pushing you as hard as they can to try and knock you down,” Dorfman said in a telephone interview.
At the start of the video, Dorfman tries sitting down in what he called “an invisible chair.” The gusts are so powerful, that Dorfman, who has worked at the observatory for three-and-a-half-years, is nearly lifted off his feet.
At another point in the video, Dorfman leaps into the air, and swiftly goes sailing to the snow-covered deck before rolling like a tumbleweed.
Eventually, Padham takes a crack at walking head-first into the wind, and manages to get in a few awkward steps. As Padham pushes forward, his torso is nearly parallel to the ground.
Dorfman said wind gusts topped out at 109 miles per hour around 8:03 and 9:53 a.m, while sustained winds held steady at around 80 miles per hour for most of the day.
At the time that workers were on the observatory deck making the video, the wind gusted to 102 miles per hour.
“The force of the wind is really incredible,” Dorfman said.
Temperatures were between 12 and 13 degrees, with a wind chill of -19 degrees, at the time.
Dorfman said while it may look as though they’re goofing off, staff at the observatory take safety very seriously, and are trained for such weather conditions.
“We are up here because we love extreme weather and winds,” he said. “It’s what we do for work, and for fun.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.