Saturday, November 5, 2011

Around The Clock

Snowmaking is heating up! The temps have been staying cold in the wake of the cold front that passed over the Tahoe Sierra Thursday evening. It wasn't long after the frontal band swept through that Boreal had their fans and guns lending Mother Nature a hand.

I've been looking in every couple of hours via Boreal's webcam, and Boreal's kept them blowing all day Friday, and into Saturday morning. Every once in a while I'd see a grooming machine working in the frame. I looked at the nearest remote sensor station...behold!

Tale of the Temps
Now at 2:17AM Saturday morning, Boreal has been making snow for more than 24 hours non-stop. This is the first 'round the clock snowmaking session I've seen this season. More natural snow will blow into the region Saturday evening.

Things are looking good going forward...the forecast says they could go full bore/nonstop until Monday afternoon!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winds Of Change

I woke to the twin symphonies of Talk Radio and prefrontal winds blustering outside. I like to start my days with a chortle or two, and the Armstrong and Getty Show always delivers.

It is really howling out this morning! Before I started packing, I looked around the web for some weather intel...Boreal's webcam, nearby remote sensors, Reno's AFD. Wind Advisory this morning, and a Winter Weather Advisory for the afternoon (5PM PDT) Forecasters say the front is dawdling a bit, and the precip is limited at best...mostly right behind the frontal boundary. They say 4-6 inches at the Crest at 1-2 inches an hour.

Another round of snow for the weekend, and unsettled weather 'till midweek. It doesn't look like a season starter, but it should favor snowmaking.

While data harvesting, news of the 2012 AMGEN Tour of California bicycle race caught my eye...I've been waiting months for the announcement of the Route and Host Cities. Regulars will recall what happened last May when the AMGEN was slated to run right through Truckee and over Donner Summit on Old Highway 40. That's right...a May snowstorm forced organizers to cancel Stage 1 from South Lake Tahoe to Northstar, and shorten Stage 2 (My local stage) bypassing the climb over Donner Pass. We did catch up with the AMGEN for Stage 4, enjoying our delayed gratification.

Actually light on Route information, the Host Cities do tell a tale. Not much racing in the High fact-None! Sonora is Mother Lode territory, not high mountains. Burned last year by La Niña's last blast of winter, AMGEN doesn't appear to be taking any chances with lingering winter in 2012.  The mountaintop finishes are all in SoCal, though winter could linger there...witness Mammoth Mountain's July 4th closing date this year!  Also MIA: Sacramento, Modesto and Solvang.

Worth waiting for! Chain controls are already moving up the mountain.
The snow began falling on Donner Summit right at 6PM.  Interstate 80 closed at Drum at 8:15PM Multiple spinouts cited. I escaped it all but a few sprinkles around Vacaville.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Big Tease

Tonight the mercury just doesn't want to fall those last few degrees. Snowmakers earn it when they're watching the thermometer.

The Reno AFD says the cold front will bring some snow Thursday evening...not a bunker-buster exactly, but snowfall in early November none the less...

I wrapped my chores this afternoon, so I can make my final escape to the Inland Valley before Thanksgiving ushers in the new season. I'm the family turkey chef now that my Dad's passed away, I treasure the Thanksgiving ritual...two days in the kitchen. I love those free range turkeys from Sonora.They seem a little pricy...until you taste 'em!

I guess I'm plugged in for ski season now...I've been looking in on Boreal since sundown...and the nearby PWS stations tell the story. After getting down into the low 30s, the temps are rising into the 40's

You can't see 'em, but here's Boreal's snowmaking crew...really earning it.
No worries...natural snow by this time Thursday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Back On the Horse

Change is in the air tonight. The weatherman promises snow later this week. Since Friday the overnight  temps have trended up, up, up. About 6PM Tuesday I looked at the remote sensors around Donner Summit. They looked promising...the afternoon highs were down from Monday, and the forecast said cooling overnight pending a cold front due Thursday afternoon.

After dinner I sidetracked myself with some WW2 Documentaries on PBS. Before I realized it, it was after 10PM! I looked at Boreal's webcam...yep, they're back in business...snowmaking-wise. I'm sure they're shooting to reopen Friday.

All this nice weather has been seductive...I've been soaking it up...luxuriating the DaveCave. I've got a day or two of chores to be ready for the season, so I'm guilt-free. However, I did miss a big deal down in the Inland Valley.

When SturgeUrge and I go sturgeon fishing, most of the time we launch at Martinez and fish the Mothball Fleet (MBF) on Suisun Bay.

The National Defense Reserve Fleet has been one of America's  retirement villages for America's decommissioned warships since the end of World War Two...and a great sturgeon fishing hole. Most of the MBF ships are troop ships, freighters, tankers and oilers. The fleet gained a distinguished fighting veteran in the spring of 2001, the battleship, USS Iowa.

Launched in August 1942, the Iowa was the first of four Iowa Class fast battleships built in New York and Philadelphia's Naval Shipyards during WW2. The Iowa was the only Iowa Class battlewagon to serve in the Atlantic.

After her maiden shakedown cruise, and two weeks of maintenance, the Iowa ferried President Roosevelt to Casablanca, the first leg of FDR's journey to the Tehran Conference with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

After the Atlantic voyage, the Iowa sailed to the Pacific Theater. USS Iowa fought her way through the Pacific from January 1944 all the way to Tokyo, seeing action in the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein, Eniwetok,  Guam, Saipan, the Marianas, Truk, The Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Iowa survived Typhoon Cobra that devastated Task Force 38. TF 38, seven fleet carriers, six light carriers, eight battleships, 15 cruisers, and about 50 destroyers, was slammed broadside by the typhoon during their attempt to refuel at sea.

Three destroyers capsized and sank with nearly all hands, while a cruiser, five aircraft carriers, and three destroyers suffered serious damage. Almost 800 sailors perished and 80 were injured.

Iowa reported zero injured sailors as a result of the typhoon, but suffered a loss of one of her float planes, and damage to one of her shafts. The damaged shaft required Iowa to return to the US, and she arrived at San Francisco on 15 January 1945, for repairs. During the course of the overhaul Iowa had her bridge area enclosed, and was outfitted with new search radars and fire-control systems. before returning to action.

Iowa's sister ship, the USS Missouri was the site of Japan's formal surrender on Tokyo Bay, Iowa entered Tokyo Bay a day later.

Seen from the water in a small skiff, Iowa is very impressive. To this day you can see the typhoon battered plates of her hull. Low slung and 887ft long, she looks fast even at anchor. Iowa's 16 inch main battery still looks lethal.

Iowa ended up at the MBF after San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed on berthing her on the San Francisco waterfront as a floating museum. In September 2011, the USS Iowa was awarded to Pacific Battleship Center for placement at the Port of Los Angeles, after some rehab at the Port of Richmond.

Here's what I missed: Last Thursday and Friday Iowa began her journey. Thursday's very high tide was perfect to move her from the fleet and under the three Benicia Bridges. She spent Thursday night side tied to the Subaru Wharf in Benicia before her tow to Richmond on Friday's high tide. Iowa draws 37ft, and Richmond spent a good part of Summer dredging it's Inner Channel.

Iowa will be in Richmond into January. We'll get down there ASAP...while there's still some halibut stragglers still haunting San Francisco Bay!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Good Tired

Watta night! I've just watched the inaugural GP of India LIVE from New Dehli. Young Champion Sebastian Vettel scored his 11th victory of the season, set the record for most laps lead in a season, and scored his first Grand Slam...Winning the Pole and the Race, leading every lap, and recording fastest lap of the race.

Before the race, the drivers, crews, F1 brass, and crowd observed a minute of silence in honor of IndyCar racer Dan Wheldon, and MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, who both perished on the track on the last two weekends.  It was a very moving minute before an exciting race.

About a third of the way into the race, I streamed the Soyuz rocket launch carrying the Progress 45P resupply ship for the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on the internet.

The weather has turned warm, Boreal says they hope to re-open next weekend-stay tuned.

I'll be going to bed now...