Saturday, November 21, 2009

Watching and Waiting

Friday 9 AM
It won't be long now. The sun was shining just twenty minutes ago. I could see blue sky through the swaying redwood branches in front of the Ancestral Digs. I made the coffee and loaded the washing machine and looked out the window of the Western DaveCave, and the blue skies had gone AWOL.

The new storm is at my doorstep, the rain is just an hour or so away according to the Weatherman on Channel 2 News. I scanned all the Forecast Discussions all evening, and first thing this morning. This one is really going to mess up the Trans-Sierra highways this evening. Watching the forecast's progression for the past few days has been fascinating. As I suspected, the winds are becoming the Big Story concerning this front. Both Sacramento and Reno used the phrase "White-Out" to describe the event. I'm glad I'll be heating up the kitchen while Mother Nature thrashes the High Sierra!

Here in the Bay Area, CalTrans Spokespeople were featured on the Morning News to assure the motoring public that their latest "Patch" to the cracked I-Bar on the Bay Bridge would be OK in the forecast winds. NWS SF Bay/Monterey has issued pages of warnings, watches and advisories. Everything from Gale Warnings to Weather Advisories are promising high winds to 45mph around the Bay Area.

Friday 4PM Update
I just returned from the Supermarket with a shopping cart-full of Thanksgiving fixins. Here in the Inland Valley the storm clouds are breaking up, revealing some very blue sky. Looking around the webcam world, the storm is really messing with the Trans Sierra Highways. While I was out, I tuned into Sacramento's NewsTalk station KFBK, and their Traffic Guy was reporting 33 CHP units rolling to accidents in the Greater Sacramento Area. The Truckee and Colfax CHP Stations are scrambling to keep up with the spin-outs, stuck motorists, and weather chaos. Chain controls went up after noon, and are in effect on 80 from Drum to Donner Lake Interchange. All Mountain Highways have controls now. This morning my niece saw snow near Orleans in the Siskiyous on her way out of town to drone south to the Ancestral Digs for the Holiday Week.

9PM Friday Night
It's all over for the Inland Valley now. Another trip to the supermarket, this time no wipers required. Judging from the webcam view, it's mostly over in the High Sierra too. It's hard to estimate exactly how much snow landed on my Mountain from the webcam, but there is new snow, but it doesn't look very deep. The wind drifted all that snow somewhere up there. My guess is that it's out in the trees, not on the trails. The mercury is falling fast, but relative humidity is almost snowmaking until things dry out some.

The Reno 21:30 AFD is up, and they're saying it's all over but the crying. Radar images are clear except for some echoes off Eureka. The storm is long gone for most of the Forecast Area. Mountain top sensors are reporting gusty winds still in the 50-60mph range.

6AM Saturday
That's a wrap! The fans are blowing snow this morning, and chain controls have shortened on 80 to cover just Kingvale to Truckee. Sensors say it's still windy up top, but nothing like the fierce blow from the front moving through. I'm curious to see snowfall reports later this morning...I still can't figure out if much snow accumulated by looking at the webcam images. Reno's 03:35 AFD says there's some flurries showing up on their radar, north of Pyramid Lake, but they should exit the area by daybreak. Reno says the winds will hanging around for the weekend, though so dress accordingly!

That was fun! Seeing how I didn't have to drop everything and travel up the hill made keeping track of the system's passage a vicarious thrill that I probably enjoyed a little too much.

Now, back to my Thanksgiving preparations!

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