This can't be good...it's Saturday's 2:50AM PST AFD from NWS Reno:
DRY CONDITIONS WITH ABOVE NORMAL TEMPS WILL PREVAIL THRU THE REMAINDER OF THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND AS UPPER LEVEL RIDGE AXIS OVER WRN CA MOVES EAST ACROSS NV TODAY AND INTO THE ERN GREAT BASIN ON SUNDAY. AS 700 MB TEMPS SURGE FROM -1 C YESTERDAY TO +5 C BY THIS AFTERNOON THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL JUMP IN TEMPS WILL OCCUR IN HIGHER ELEVATIONS. MEANWHILE, LIGHT WINDS WITH LIMITED MIXING IN LOWER ELEVATIONS WILL YIELD A MORE MODEST RISE IN TEMPS COMPARED TO YESTERDAY. AREAS OF CIRRUS WILL RETURN TO PARTS OF ERN CA-WRN NV LATER TODAY AS THE RIDGE AXIS MOVES INTO CNTRL-ERN NV, BUT COVERAGE IS NOT EXPECTED TO BE THICK ENOUGH TO HAVE MUCH EFFECT ON TEMPS EITHER DAY THIS WEEKEND. WITH INCREASING SW FLOW ALOFT ON SUNDAY, THE INVERSION IS LIKELY TO BE WEAKER AND ALLOW FOR WARMER TEMPS IN VALLEY AREAS WHILE HIGH ELEVATION TEMPS LEVEL OFF. TEMPS IN MOST LOWER ELEVATIONS SHOULD CLIMB WELL INTO THE 60S ON SUNDAY.
ON MONDAY, THE RIDGE WILL FLATTEN IN RESPONSE TO A WEAK SHORTWAVE MOVING ACROSS THE NWRN US AND ADVANCING SOUTHEAST THRU THE GREAT BASIN. A BACK DOOR COLD FRONT WILL BRING TEMPS DOWN A FEW DEGREES COMPARED TO SUNDAY, BUT STILL WELL ABOVE LATE NOVEMBER NORMAL HIGHS WHICH ARE AROUND 50 DEGREES IN THE RENO AREA. MOISTURE WILL BE LIMITED TO A BAND OF LOW-MID CLOUDS JUST BEHIND THE COLD FRONT PASSAGE, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO BREAK UP BEFORE REACHING THE I-80 CORRIDOR. A FEW SPRINKLES MAY ACCOMPANY THIS FRONT PASSAGE FROM EXTREME NRN LASSEN COUNTY TO THE FAR NW CORNER OF NV MONDAY MORNING, BUT MEASURABLE PRECIP IS UNLIKELY SO WILL LEAVE OUT MENTION OF ANY SHOWERS SUN NIGHT OR MONDAY. MJD
The week ahead looks to be a down one for Sierra Resorts and Snowmakers. The Monterey/SFO AFD calls for mild not wild going forward, but not enough warming to qualify as a late "Indian Summer"...
Tahoe Sierra resorts need to make snow to stay open, but I fear the best they'll be able to do is hold the line...barely. There may not be enough snowmaking hours to replace the snow that melts daily...Fingers Crossed...
All Things Mars:
Somehow I missed the LIVE launch of NASA's latest Mars Mission, the Mars Science Laboratory. It roared into space atop a Saturn V rocket from Cape Canaveral Saturday at 7:02AM PST. I thought it was going up around 3PM...I must have gotten my launch times and launch windows confused...
Despite my MIA Status, MSL had a brilliant launch and left Earth's orbit, and is on course for Mars. If all goes as planned, MSL will touch down on Mars in mid-August 2012.
I love that the American Space Program brings cars along when NASA visits other worlds! Remember the Moon Buggy? The first car we sent to the Moon was a four wheel drive...Think 2-Seater Jeep with a satellite dish!
MSL is the size of an American SUV, one ton of nuclear powered, independent suspension, six wheel drive, science-doing machine with satellite dish! As an American 4X4 driver and satellite-o-phile, I couldn't be prouder...
Meanwhile back on Earth...
No contact has been made with Russia's errant Mars probe Phobos/Grunt. Ground observers report that Phobos/Grunt's orbit has stabilized so the chances of success for the next scheduled communication passes on Monday are improved.
I've found Twitter to be unrivaled in getting timely news of these spacecraft.
@PhB_Reentry will keep you up on Phobos/Grunt as it's orbit decays until it reenters in mid-January.
Russia's International News Agency RIA Novosti tweets as @riascience
@PhobosGrunt appears to be the "Official" P/G Twitter Account, charming for it's semi-butchering of the Queen's English
@ESA and @esaoperations are the European Space Agency's Twitter Streams. The ESA operates the communications outpost in Western Australia that's been "talking" to Phobos/Grunt
Here's the MSL-centric Twitter feeds that @CorduroyPlanet follows. I'll post new ones as I find them:
@MSL_101 is @SPACEFLIGHT101's MSL specific feed.
@MarsCuriosity is the probe's "Official" twitter account, from JPL I think.
That's it for business, now I can concentrate on the final weekend of the 2011 Formula One season! Thank you one and all for taking the time this holiday weekend to read CorduroyPlanet, you amaze me! Thanks so much.
12:20AM PST Sunday Update:
My look at the Remote Sensors shows temps holding at or above freezing since cooling from the afternoon highs in the high 50s to 60°F at the Snow Lab in Soda Springs. Humidity is up as has been the rule all week.