Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stormy Weather

After a wonderful March and a windy April, May has been stormy and unstable. I'm sure my memory is faulty, but every day seems to have followed the pattern of
  • blue sky in the morning, with clouds clinging to the hillsides
  • clouds burning off the hillsides by 9 or 10
  • tall cumulus start building between 10 and 12
  • an afternoon or early evening storm, highly variable in both scale and timing
  • rain stopping in the evening or overnight

I've managed some 'goldfish bowl' flying on a few of the days, but I can't say they've been much fun. Most flights have been a matter of staying out off the clouds and making sure you land before things go crazy. The forecasts don't seem to be very good at distinguishing the 'big early storm' days from the somewhat more manageable days. Sometimes, the afternoon looks threatening for hours before the grumbling turns into rain. And sometimes things degrade very quickly, with lots of rain, hail, thunder, lightening and wind. The critical observation is how early the tall cumulus clouds start to form. 

The previous day's rain hangs around, increasing humidity and generally making hiking less fun. I've been doing quite a bit of cycling because the roads dry more quickly than the paths. The rivers are rather full and milky with sediment. The rain affects many things; paths are damaged, cell phones don't work and drains get blocked. The church clock was restored to working order more quickly than cell phones!

There are a few signs that the weather will improve over the next few days and it can't come too soon for me. Some pics.