Sunday, September 27, 2009

Snowmaking 101F

It's damn hot here in the Inland Valley. I won't lie, I'm still bone tired from my driveway work, and the heat isn't helping. One more day, and SturgeUrge and I hit the waters of San Francisco Bay for another Halibut Hunt...should be cool, though reports aren't that anyway.

Looking at the Forecast Discussion is like hearing the proverbial stuck record. Same old, same old...the Bay Area Summer Forecast Mantra. There should be enough wind Monday to keep us cool in the afternoon...let's hope the halibut are hot to trot.

I could use some Snowmaking Temperatures! The radio weather tease said we wouldn't even get into the 60's over night here. Iced coffees and Czech-style Pilsner aren't gettin' the job done tonight, either. I clicked up to the Reno NWS Discussion, hoping just maybe I could feel some relief.

Well, change is afoot in the High Country. A Fire Weather Watch is up for Monday owing to gusty winds associated with an approaching Cold Front. Some records fell Saturday for High Temps, but the models say a big cool down begins Monday and Tuesday in the mountains. The Weather Guy said the cold front probably would not bring any thunderstorm activity, though showers are possible when the mercury drops another 15F into Tuesday. The High Country is Scary Dry right now, so some rain without lightning would be a Godsend.

Snowmaking crews across the Central Sierra have to be getting the itch. In just a couple of weeks, truckloads of Air Compressors will start arriving at Ski Resorts, crews will be recalled from their Summer Pursuits, and the Preseason will begin. Inventory will be taken again, hoses and fittings will be checked, valves and hydrants serviced and sensor packages will be deployed. Software upgrades will be installed and crew schedules will be penciled in...Then the Waiting will Begin.

At first, the waiting is for Mother Nature to cool enough to get everyone excited. Once this happens, the waiting becomes the Wait for the Cooling Trend. Once the Cold Trend is established, then the crew will spread guns and fans, and hoses around the mountain, ready for the first shot at making snow for the season. Then they're really, really... waiting.

I don't know how definite the Cooling Trend will be this Fall. Based on the variability of the past six weeks, I'd say trends won't be obvious right away. The past weeks have been full of wild, unexpected swings in our weather, with never enough time for changes to organize into a trend.
Tonight both Monterey and Reno NWS Offices say next week will be very Fall-Like.

Here in the Inland Valley, the 11PM Weathercasts are all trumpeting a cool-down by Tuesday/Wednesday. The models have been running and running, and they must all be starting to agree on the timing of our first big Fall cool-off...I hope they're right...I'm waiting too...

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