The Icarus Trophy Weather 2015

OCTOBER 21st: Day 10

Recap from Yesterday: The day progressed as forecast. For the guys of Wing-It, taking a chance in the lee side block from the prevailing 25-30mph NE winds over the mountains might have paid off since they made goal but I would curious to hear about along track turbulence. Around the valley the readings varied but the forecast high winds materialized, particularly in the Yuba City area where there were gusts over 30mph, for a good portion of the day. 

Straight Scoop (High Confidence): 1. (Central Valley). Today will be a sort of gift for making the right call yesterday and waiting out the high winds. In addition to getting to the beer sooner, starting early is a good idea – particularly for those still in the northern valley since surface winds will build on the west side to 10mph gusting to 15mph by late morning after a light and variable start to the day.

The most sensible course line is to fly generally Southeast in order to avoid the higher winds on the West side that will dominate in the afternoon. For all remaining adventurers, it would be advisable to pass north of Sacramento as the Wing-It team did vice tracking around the southern side where you will be exposed to North winds nearing 20mph by 1300 on the West side of Sacramento and which will increase closer to Napa. 

Passing just north or south of Yuba city on a straight line path to the finish flying near or below 6,000ft will assure that winds will not exceed 10-12 mph and they should be slightly quartering from the Northeast at 5-10mph from the surface up to 6000ft. It should be a very pleasant ride to a hard earned finish! ENJOY!

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6,000ft Winds at 1100:

6,000ft Winds at 1400

Wednesday – Sunday Meteogram (Central Valley)

Wednesday – Sunday Meteogram (Central Valley)

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2330 Tuesday:

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2330 Tuesday:

Weather Geek Stuff: The pressure gradient that caused the high winds yesterday has eased and the winds will be lighter on Wednesday that they were Tuesday. Ridging and its associated favorable motoring conditions will allow fairly easy passage to the finish for most today. The persistent low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska seems hell bent on continuing to spit off a series of short waves into the cascades and as the week moves on, some of that energy will make it to the northern portion of the central valley.

 

OCTOBER 20th: Day 9

Recap from Yesterday: Today some made it over the pass near Dunsmuir using a combination of patience and a little luck. The Central Valley was a mixed bag of perfectly sane to completely insane conditions, depending on where you found yourself. For most, if you were anywhere but the extreme eastern edge of the valley, a very sensible thermal pause was issued that had very clear meteorological reasoning.   

1. (Central Valley). It appears that everyone still pushing ahead will make goal prior to Friday provided sensible choices are made this morning. As late as Monday morning, the National Weather Service had an extreme fire hazard watch/warning issued out that covered all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday near Yuba City. These warnings are due to dry air and strong, gusty winds blowing down from the mountains. That warning has now gone away but the winds today are still forecast to be strong – particularly if you are anywhere but tucked in close to the foothills on the Eastern side. The problem with being so close to the mountains on the East side, however is that there are high winds spilling from the North East over the mountains at higher altitude bringing a high probability of of mechanical rotor with them.

 In the morning, North winds will prevail at the surface ranging from 10-15 mph with some areas locally stronger. If this is the case, it is better to wait out the day because at 4000ft, winds will increase to speeds over 20mph, also from the North then shifting and building from the North East higher up. By 11:00, the winds will shift more Northeastward and build to exceed 20mph and will not subside until very late in the day.

 On Wednesday, the wind will be significantly lower; even better on Thursday. It makes sense to be conservative today since boldness won’t pay and lighter winds are coming.

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6,000ft Winds at 0800:

6,000ft Winds at 1100  

Tuesday – Saturday Meteogram (Central Valley)

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Tuesday:

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Tuesday:

Weather Geek Stuff: There is still a very tight gradient in the surface and mid level pressure fields that leave a high probability for strong winds today. Despite the NWS backing off in the fire risk level, the winds will be an issue today. In addition to the winds, there will be mechanical turbulence spilling into the Eastern portion of the valley as the North to North East winds cascade (no pun intended) over the mountains. The gradient begins to slack off tonight and the high pressure dome normally present at this time of year will dominate Wednesday and Thursday. The outlook for the remainder of the adventure looks great after the winds abate.

 

OCTOBER 19th: Day 8

Recap from Yesterday: I took the bait on the over-optimism of the models yesterday and the conditions were no where near as favorable as it seemed they should have been. That being said, there was some interesting progress and even more interesting decision making on Sunday. Judging by some of the photos from the central valley, flying conditions were downright dangerous – particularly near the pass at Dunsmuir.  

Straight Scoop (Medium Confidence): 1. (97 Corridor from Bend to Cali border) A short wave trough and its associated frontal boundary will be the driving force for the today’s weather. There will be partly to mostly cloudy skies along the route but flying should be possible. The winds will be from the east and be less than 5mph at the surface in the morning. As the day progresses, the winds will remain out of the East but build to 15-18mph. Closer to the California border, valley winds will have an influence over the flying and progress beyond Klamath Falls may require patience to cross safely on today. If you make the Central Valley in the afternoon, expect high winds from the North above 4,000 ft.

Sfc Winds at 0800

6,000ft Winds at 1400

Monday – Friday Meteogram (97 Corridor)

Monday – Friday Meteogram (97 Corridor)

2. (From Weed, CA into the Central Valley) The conditions for getting across the pass today will be much more favorable today than they were yesterday. The important thing to remember is that just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should and perhaps some more flying around the higher altitude flanks of Mt Shasta was done than should have been yesterday. Again today, patience will be needed to navigate the tricky valley systems that can funnel the otherwise sensible winds. In the morning, the winds will be light near Weed than yesterday but still 5-10mph from the NW. Around 7,000ft there will be a large wind sheer that will bring turbulence and by 12,000ft wind speeds will exceed 30mph. If the valley winds cooperate and the clouds burn off as they should for extended periods, there will be a 10-15mph tail quartering wind from the NW and progress can be made. Winds will be over 15mph  above 4,000 ft in the Northern part of the Central Valley after 1400 so if you are making good progress, be sure to watch for visual cues over the mountains. The East side of the valley will be markedly better than the West.

Sfc Winds at 0800

6,000ft winds at 1400

8,000ft Winds at 1400:

Monday – Friday Meteogram (Weed to Central Valley)

Monday – Friday Meteogram (Weed to Central Valley)

3. Central Valley: The Central Valley should be back to a more typically pattern today but winds will still play a factor in the flying – particularly in the Northern portion. In the morning there will be a 10kt tailwind from the North which means that there will also be turbulence near the foothills at the Eastern edge of the valley. This is problematic because as the day progresses winds will be building, particularly in the central and western portions. By noon at 4,000 get the winds will be NNW at 15mph. Further south in the valley, particularly once south of Yuba City, the winds will abate slightly to 10mph if you are on the Eastern edge. The center and Western portions of the valley will reach wind speeds in excess of 20 mph above 4,000ft.

Sfc Winds at 0800

4,000ft Winds at 1400

6,000ft Winds at 1400

Monday – Friday Meteogram (Central Valley)

Monday – Friday Meteogram (Central Valley)

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0030 Monday:

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0030 Monday:

Weather Geek Stuff: The weather patterns dominating the course line today are distinctly different. There is a frontal boundary that is driving the weather along the 97 corridor whereas around Weed, there are remnants of the weather experienced yesterday. While there may be periods of high wind in the central valley this week that stop flying periodically, it looks very favorable overall. The conditions are certainly different in the Southern Oregon and the Northern CA Cascades region. The pattern should allow everyone to still complete the race prior to the end of the week but getting over the pass near Dunsmuir will prove to be a significant undertaking – particularly if you are looking to do it driven by skill vice luck.

 

OCTOBER 18th: Day 7

Recap from Yesterday: Despite the fact that it seems some made limited progress, it looks like there was much more success in draining the booze supplies from the 97 corridor in and around Bend. A few periods of flyable weather for short distances to be made for the really dedicated.  

Straight Scoop (Medium Confidence):

1. (97 Corridor from Bend to Cali border) The pattern that dominated the region on Saturday is moving very quickly and it is likely that Sunday will work – at least for a good portion of the day. I would not focus on getting in the air too early since there is quite a bit of fog potential but as the sun starts to heat the route, it will clear up – or at least will force the stratus to lift. Once it becomes flyable, good progress should be made since winds are generally light from the surface up through 6,000 ft. Unfortunately, high ceilings are unlikely for Sunday. It is also unlikely that if you don’t make Cali by the end of the day, you will again deal with low ceilings on Monday.

Sfc Winds at 0800

4000ft Winds at 1400

6000ft Winds at 1400

Sunday - Thursday Meteogram (97 Corridor)

2. (Medford into the Central Valley) Most of Southern Oregon has a good chance of early morning fog and lingering showers. Around Medford, the morning will likely be a late start but then give way to conditions favorable for comfortably making the central valley by late afternoon provided that its possible to get across the pass. Higher elevations may be socked in for much of the day. Once airborne, there should be a 5-10mph Northerly tail wind up to cloud base, which will persist through the day and make progress easy

 

Sfc Winds at 0800

2000ft winds at 1400

4000ft Winds at 1400

Sunday - Thursday Meteogram (Medford to Central Valley)

3. Central Valley: There may be lingering showers in the Central Valley Sunday but they will give way very early to sunny skies and great conditions for James to make it to the ranch comfortably. Once the sun warms the valley, if there is any lingering cloud cover it will quickly burn off. At the surface in the morning, winds will be light and variable and once airborne, there will be a light (5mph) tailwind. The wind profile has an Westerly component, either NW or SW at 10kts above 3,000 ft. Conditions will be great up through 6,000 feet but will increase abruptly around 7,000ft to a strong headwind of 15-20 mph. That boundary will likely be pretty turbulent.

Sfc Winds at 0800

4000ft Winds at 1400

Sunday - Thursday (Central Valley)

Weather Geek Stuff: The system that was giving me fits yesterday when I was trying to make the call for how long it would linger has moved very quickly and has moved out very quickly. Overnight in the northern portions of the course, there will be lingering rain due to the remnants of the front. This week appears to be very favorable for the bulk of it with light wind profiles and huge altitude possibilities over the Central valley to tour around prior to the fly in.

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2330 Saturday


 OCTOBER 17th: Day 6

Recap from Yesterday: Lots of interesting flying along the course Friday (and apparently some landings that sound interesting!) but then the forecast bad weather rolled in likely making for some outstanding beer drinking given where everyone is.

Straight Scoop (Kinda Sketchy Confidence):

1. (Bend Area) For the folks around Bend, it is likely that there will be little flying for a couple days but then a window will open to finish the adventure before the fly-in. Today it is possible that there will be an opportunity to fly in the morning but the atmosphere is very dynamic and there is a lot of instability coming. Any flying should be done early, if possible (not likely), and staying as far East as away from the higher elevations will be the only possible way to make anything work. It doesn’t look like a great day. Sunday looks worse. Winds will remain light throughout the day with the exception of gust fronts from squalls. (green is 100% cloud cover – grey is light cloud cover)

Sfc Winds at 0800

6000ft Winds at 1400

Saturday - Wednesday Meteogram (Bend Area)

2. (Southern Oregon) As with most of Oregon today, there is a very good chance of rain for most of the day. If there is going to be a period of flyable weather, it will be mid morning to early afternoon but be prepared to deal with gust fronts and rapidly deteriorating conditions. Below 5,000 ft, winds will be light during flyable periods. There might be a chance to find another super random valley that few humans have have ever seen like the ones that it looks like Robert and Matt landed in en route to Medford. I would like to see the field that Robert landed it! Looks small on Google Earth.

(green is 100% cloud cover – grey is light cloud cover)

Sfc Winds at 0800

600ft Winds at 1400

Saturday - Wednesday Meteogram (Southern Oregon)

3. Northern California: The crew on the western flank of Mt Shasta will have the most interesting day Saturday. There is not a great chance that it will be flyable near Weed (so, why did you land there?) but 50 miles south of there will be periods of flyable weather which will continue to improve as you move south. The winds will be light at the surface for most of the morning outside of any gustiness associated with squalls. Those gusts will be significantly strong, though. It is unlikely that that it will be a big distance day but there is enough model disagreement to warrant making preparations to fly. There will be a 5-10 mph head wind near the start of the race just above the surface and then there will be south-westerlies and westerliesat 6,000ft ranging from 5-10 mph with locally much stronger winds associated with gust fronts.

(green is 100% cloud cover – grey is light cloud cover)

Sfc Winds at 0800

6000ft Winds at 1400

Saturday - Wednesday Meteogram (Northern CA)

Weather Geek Stuff: The ridge that brought such great weather for this week has now been pushed out and a trough is just offshore from the West Coast. There is a fair amount of Scottish Conditions flying weather coming in. It is unlikely that the large amount of moisture and instability entering the North West will offer much in the way of flying for Sunday. Monday, however, is a day to watch Saturday night and into Sunday in the models once this system has become better defined. There is a decent chance of having a repeat of last Saturday where there was a lull between systems for the better part of a day.

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0030 Saturday

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0030 Saturday


OCTOBER 16th: Day 5

Recap from Yesterday: A solid day of racing – It seems that the eastern route really was much faster (and less committing). The Central Valley was less favorable than predicted owing primarily to the micrWo low being more of a significant influence than I thought.

Straight Scoop (Medium Confidence): 1. (Bend Area) The beer is bend is amazing and the flying should be good tomorrow as well. The focus of all adventurers in OR should be making it to the CA border tomorrow 

– better yet, to the northern edge of the central valley. Despite isolated regions of cloudiness, the conditions will be favorable for making good progress and those who are South of Bend should not have a difficult time reaching CA. In the morning, the winds will be light and getting in the air early is advisable since a head wind will build as the morning progresses. By noon, a 5-10kt headwind will slow progress and will increase as he afternoon goes on. Flying below 7k will be important to ensure that forward progress is not halted.

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6,000ft Winds at 1400:  

Friday – Tuesday Meteogram (Bend Area)

2. (Southern Oregon) The conditions are good to finish the race by getting into the Central valley before the weather turns bad on Saturday. If you delay, and wind up not making it by the end of the day, it is likely that you will have a few days to drink beer and make plans to cross into Cali in time for the fly-in. In the morning winds will be light and suitable for an early take off. The winds will be light and build with altitude to 5-10 mph at 6,000 ft.

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6000ft Winds at 1400:

10,000ft Winds at 1400:

Friday – Tuesday Meteogram (Southern Oregon):

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Friday:

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Friday:

Weather Geek Stuff: The weather is dynamic. Period. Today is a great day to get out of Southern Oregon and into the Central Valley. If this doesn’t happen today, it is likely that there will be a few days of waiting before conditions in southern Oregon ease and become more favorable for flying. Fortunately, the conditions will be good today and most should have no trouble making by the course closure. The ridge that brought very good conditions for racing this week will break down and a trough will push across OR and bring much less favorable.

 

OCTOBER 15th: Day 4

 

Recap from Yesterday: Another great day of racing! Conditions appeared as forecasted and nearly everyone was able to take advantage of the great weather to make good progress toward goal.

Straight Scoop (High Confidence)1. (Central Valley) It will be favorable again over the Central Valley today. Winds will be light and variable at the surface at race course opening but will be locally gusty after noon owing primarily to thermal activity but also to a small scale circulation within that basin. In any event, it will not hinder progress for those who make it there where the winds will be light and variable even at 8000ft in the middle of the day. There will likely be high clouds for part of the day.

Sfc Winds at 0800:

 8,000ft Winds at 1400:

Thursday – Monday Meteogram (Central Valley)

2. (Southern Oregon) For the first time in the race, those on the bold line will not be rewarded. The conditions early in the morning will be favorable for both groups in Southern Oregon but those who chose the more conservative line through Bend will be rewarded with better conditions than those who are facing the line over the trees south of Eugene. Expect light and variable conditions in the morning but even at 4000ft, both lines will be afflicted with a headwind of 5-10 mph, which gets worse with height. It is possible that both sides of the mountains will have cloudiness early on but which will burn off fairly quickly. Around noon, the winds slack on the east side of the mountains but build to 10-15 mph from the south. Those still North of the pass near Mt Hood should consider paying close attention to the observations as they reach that decision point because it could make or break making it to the central valley by Friday at close of race day.

Sfc Winds at 0800:    

6000ft Winds at 1100:

6,000ft Winds at 1400:

Thursday – Monday Meteogram (Southern Oregon):

3. Chase Group: Those in the North have to push hard on Thursday and Friday if they hope to make it to the Central Valley by mid-day Saturday when conditions in Oregon will begin to degrade significantly. Conditions on the surface at race start will be cloudy at altitude but winds will be light from the south. Those still north of Portland will need to remain below 5000 feet or risk being parked in a strong headwind by 6000ft. As the day progresses, conditions will be more favorable on the East side of the mountains but on either side southerly winds at 6000ft will be an issue. On the West side, they will be as high 15-18mph while on the East side they will be 10-13mph.

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6000ft Winds at 1100:    

6000ft Winds at 1400:

Thursday – Monday Meteogram (Chase Group):

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Thursday :

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 0100 Thursday :

Weather Geek Stuff: The weather dynamics are much more challenging today. In the northern end of the course, there is a split in the winds North of Portland where the strong coastal winds penetrate inland and those unable to get south of the Columbia river early on will face problems. More importantly is the fact that the very well established upper level ridge that has offered perfect racing conditions since Monday is beginning to break down. This will not be an issue for those that make it to the Central valley by Friday in the worst case scenario but it is more likely that making it to the California border by mid day on Saturday will allow for a Sunday finish.

The Mountains are also affecting the conditions on both sides. The peaks are shielding the Eastern slopes from the higher southerly winds that will be experienced on the West side make travel on the Eastern routes much more efficient on Thursday.

Forecast certainty will also begin to degrade after today with a good deal of model disagreement over timing of the trough, which will enter Central Oregon over the next 72 hours. Lets keep our fingers crossed it is on the outer edge of that time window.

 

OCTOBER 14th: Day 3

 

Recap from Yesterday: The second day was perhaps even more interesting than the first all over the course. The tail wind discussed yesterday certainly materialized for Kristan – he was averaging nearly 30km/hr faster than David which allowed him to catch up prior to their course lines converging. Temps were unseasonably warm and a 100 year record for warmest temperature on 12 October was broken today on Mt Shasta at 85 Deg!


Straight Scoop (High Confidence): 1. (Leaders) For the two leaders, the most important factor will be equipment – most notably gloves – tomorrow. Northern California will be absolutely perfect to put in another screaming day on the course to the finish. Temperatures in the central valley are going to be unseasonably high (nearly 95 degrees on the ground) due to the persistent high pressure ridge which has built into the area. The winds will be calm at the surface early on but will likely become gusty down low later in the day as the thermals begin to build around noon – particularly nearer the mountains. At altitude there will be light winds through 11,000ft all day with even a potential for a light tail wind around 5,000ft to 7,000ft on the eastern portion of the valley. Above 14,000 winds are still light but out of the SSE and would slightly hinder progress and oxygen levels!

Sfc Winds at 0800

6,000ft Winds at 1400

14,000ft Winds at 1400

Wednesday – Sunday Meteogram (Central Valley)

2. (Southern Oregon) Conditions will be nearly as favorable for Ryan as they are in the Central Valley. At the surface in the morning the winds will be light and the skies clear. As the day moves on, there will be no limit other than temperature to flying heights and winds will be from 5-10mph from the South which will inhibit progress but not significantly. It is likely around the CA border that there will be a wind sheer around around 12,000ft due to a narrow band of higher winds but this will only bring minor turbulence.

Sfc Winds at 0800

6000ft Winds at 1400

14,000ft Winds at 1400

Wednesday – Sunday Meteogram (Oregon Border Area)

3. Chase Group: Those in the Northern third of the course will finally catch a break today! Conditions are favorable for big distances at high elevations. At the surface in the morning, the winds will be light and variable and will build to light easterlies by late morning. Just above that, though, there will be a 5mph to 10 mph tailwind (slightly stronger the higher or more north you are) all morning. As the day progresses this tailwind will build and conditions will be great until around the Medford area where the local microclimate over the mountains will cause more turbulent conditions and a 5mph-10mph (locally stronger) headwind. Below the dry mountains around Medford and closer to Shasta, conditions should again improve. As with the other competitors further south, heights will be more limited by temperature than winds in the lower portion of this forecast area but it will pay to stay below 10k prior to noon.

The biggest variable will be for Marcus in the chase group. Getting up and south as early as possible will be critical due to the possibility for stronger winds near Centralia under the influence of the much windier Olympia conditions.

Sfc Winds at 0800

6000ft Winds at 1400

10,000ft Winds at 1400

Wednesday – Sunday Meteogram (Medford Area)

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2300 Tuesday

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2300 Tuesday

Weather Geek Stuff: It’s a disappointing day if you are a weather geek looking for dynamic weather – luckily the trade off is that the conditions should be excellent for everyone through at least the weekend. This should allow most of the adventurers to get at least into the central valley where favorable conditions will last quite a bit longer.

 

OCTOBER 13th: Day 2

Recap from Yesterday: WOW – amazing racing and huge first day!! Racers are spread out in several groups based on the leaders bold line and getting into the better weather to the south before the winds built near the start. Tomorrow will be no less interesting. 

Format Change: As the race moves on and groups begin to separate, there will be different broad groupings for the weather products and the geeky stuff at the end will be an overall discussion on the dynamics for the period along the whole course.

Straight Scoop (High Confidence): 1. (Leaders) The three leaders are in a great position to take advantage of the generally more favorable conditions south of the main group. The weather is going to be a factor tomorrow as will the terrain.

Kristan will have the advantage of a 5-10 mph tail wind from the surface up through 7k as he navigates over the mountainous terrain south of Eugene. Early morning fog could influence take off time. The conditions will be slightly less favorable for Bryan as he chases from Beaverton since winds will be 10-15 mph and quartering vice an actual tail wind – but those are some tall trees in the Willamette Hwy if that is the route he takes; winds based max safe altitude is lower to the North as well. David W. is in the best position not only because of the amazing beer in Bend but also because his navigation is much less complex early on and he will be pushing into more and more favorable conditions. In the morning, it will be light and variable around Bend then build to light Westerlies and exceed 15mph over 8k. (orange is thermal potential)

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6000ft Winds at 1400:

10k Winds at 1400:

Tuesday – Saturday Meteogram (between the leader positions):

2. (I-5 Corridor N of Columbia River) Conditions will not be as favorable for the chase group that has made it to the mouth of the 1-5 corridor, but only because the winds exceed 15mph over 5k. Below that, light Westerlies and clear skies should allow for rapid and smooth progress all the way to Portland with increasing max altitudes – as has been the case, the further south you get the more favorable the conditions. Plus there is the advantage of watching what Bryan will do to get across to the other side of the range prior to having to make the huge decision. (orange is thermal potential)

Sfc Winds at 0800:

6000ft Winds at 1400:

10k Winds at 1400:

Tuesday – Saturday Meteogram (Chase group):

Weather Geek Stuff: The ridging has displaced much of the unfavorable weather that defined Saturday. The entire course line is under it! For now, it is off the races (sorry for terrible pun!) for everyone with fortune surely favoring the bold. This is particularly true for the two leaders because dynamics further south are typical of Northern California at this time of year – warm and very sunny with light winds. Relative to standard, conditions are also great in Washington State at the North end of the course – but the standard is not as favorable as further south as the amazing green landscapes can attest.

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2330 Monday:

 

OCTOBER 12th: Race start

Recap from Yesterday: It seems that decent conditions in and about town materialized to shake out the kinks and make last minute preps for the big show!

Straight Scoop (Medium Confidence): The ridging that is going to make the bulk of this week so glorious remains elusive in its timing. It appears that it will indeed begin to influence the weather for race start and most should be able to get in good flights with light surface winds from the South. Lower elevations early will be favorable compared to taking a bold, high mountain route where winds exceeding 20mph from the SW will dominate at elevations above 5000ft but abate later in the afternoon. The winds generally decrease as the day progresses, however, and some of the higher routes will become more viable as the winds shift to more westerly with height and slack. The first day is almost certain to scatter the group based on willingness to push the weather envelope. The interesting part is that the further south you push, the better the weather gets!

Weather Geek Stuff: The riding that has been discussed for the past 4 days is almost here but there are still winds aloft that should give pause to flying. As the race starts, the higher local mountains will be dominated by moderately strong winds (up to 20mph at 8k) opposed to the direction of travel – SSW to W depending on elevation: higher is better. It is likely that the afternoon will prove to be a good time to make significant progress since the Westerly component builds and the upper elevations (above 4k) will likely be NW which provides a nice tailwind component. The weather gods are smiling on the race – take advantage of it since it looks like there might be a pause Wednesday.

Surface Winds at 0800 Monday

Winds at 6000ft at 1400 Monday

Winds at 6000ft at 1400 Monday

Monday - Friday Eatonville Meteogram

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2300 Sunday


OCTOBER 11th: Eatonville to Portland 

Recap from Yesterday: The rain did indeed dominate the general area and was heavy at times. Up in the mountains, wind speeds did hit the 70mph range at about 8k. Not the best day for flying.

Straight Scoop (High Confidence): The short wave ridge discussed yesterday is more pronounced in the models now than it was 24 hours ago, which is a good thing for Sunday’s flying chances – there should be significant periods of sun. The morning will likely still have some gusty winds but those will back off as the day goes on. At the surface, expect southerly winds to back to 5-10mph by late morning. Eatonville proper will likely be ok earlier since the local mountains will block a lot of the wind. Further south along the 1-5 corridor, the winds abate to 5-8mph but still out of the south which will hamper progress. The profile looks good from mid morning on for altitudes up to 6500ft (possibly 7500) but the winds will pick up to 10-15mph and be from the WSW at that height. Flying the mountains early on will still be turbulent but should be ok by noon.

Weather Geek Stuff: The vertical sheer will still be present during the early morning hours but nowhere near as dramatic as the past few days. The shot wave ridge that will bring Sunday’s nice weather is not the ridging that has been discussed for the last couple days. The timing of the ridging which is going to bring great conditions this week is still uncertain but its persistent depiction in the models brings even more confidence for a nice week this week.

Surface Winds at 0800 Sunday

Winds at 6000ft at 1100AM Sunday

Sunday - Thursday Eatonville Meteogram

Water Vapor Composite Satellitea Shot at 0000 Sunday


OCTOBER 10th: Eatonville to Portland

Recap from Yesterday: Overall, conditions seemed consistent with the wind forecasts. Ceiling heights seemed to vary only slightly with location and the potential for rain showers played out as well.

Straight Scoop (High Confidence): The focus remains on the timing of the much awaited ridge of high pressure that the models consistently build early next week. For now, though, Saturday is a get to know your new friends day in and around town because it will be wet for much of the day with a very gusty wind profile and 50mph winds at 4500ft. It is possible that 90mph reading will be seen at 10k. A short wave trough passing through the area Sunday will bring a period of favorable conditions for short duration, local flights. It will be a perfect time to make last minute gear adjustments.

Weather Geek Stuff: The vertical wind sheer while disheartening is quite impressive. Surface winds in the mixing layer down low below the cloud cover seem quite manageable but readings at the Northwest Avalanche Miur Station (10,010 ft) exceeded 80mph through most of the day on Friday and this is likely to continue into Saturday. 

The good news is that the much awaited high pressure continues to depict itself in the model runs; Monday afternoon if you are an optimist but even the most pessimistic of the models promise it by Tuesday at noon.

Surface Winds at 0800 Saturday

Winds at 4000ft at 1100 Saturday

Saturday - Wednesday Eatonville Meteogram

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2300 Friday


OCTOBER 9th: Eatonville to Portland

Recap from Yesterday: Forecast slightly over-predicted winds at the surface around 

Eatonville however the predicted high winds and overcast verified.

 

Straight Scoop (Medium Confidence): Friday has good potential for flying at lower 

elevations around Eatonville, which is somewhat protected from the prevailing SSW flow 

at the surface by the local foothills. Winds will be progressively stronger the further West 

your flight path takes you. Today will be gustier than yesterday and have even higher 

winds (40-50mph) at elevations above 4000ft. The morning should bring broken skies, 

which will eventually become cloudier and possibly develop ceilings between 3500 and 

4500ft by mid afternoon. Isolated showers are likely late in the afternoon.

The models still build a high into the area early next week but have pushed it off until late 

in the day Monday.

 

Weather Geek Stuff: Oho still influences the weather over the area on Friday although 

the dominant forces are the series of short waves discussed yesterday. There is good 

model agreement on flyable conditions along lower elevation routes along the foothills 

around Eatonville, ceilings around 4000ft in the afternoon and high winds above 4000ft. 

GFS is more extreme at both ends with near calm winds predicted at the surface in the 

morning and exceeding 50mph by 1400 at 4000ft. Saturday and Sunday do not look 

particularly favorable with rain and high South-Southwest winds in most model runs.

Winds at 4000ft at 1100 Friday

Surface Winds at 0800 Friday

Friday – Tuesday Eatonville Meteogram

Water Vapor Composite Satellite Shot at 2315 Thursday