Tahoe Daily Snow

Florence, 9/11, Tarantulas...


The Weather:

We have a trough moving through the Pacific NW that is bringing strong wind gusts to the Tahoe region.  A cold front will cool temperatures into the 60's the next few days at lake level, and 50's in the high elevations.  It will start to feel like fall!  

We will warm back into the 70's towards the end of the week ahead of another Pacific NW trough coming in next weekend.  That could bring more wind and some cooler temperatures into early next week.

No signs of any storms of significance making it into Northern CA yet.  There is a trough on the long-range GFS 2 weeks out that could have more legs and could bring in some precip if it pushes far enough South, so we will continue to watch for the first storm...

The Winter:

Not much to add to the discussion this week.  Still watching the ocean temperatures as we go into the fall.  Some of the warm water in the Western Pacific that I showed in the last post did move East.  We did see some warming in most of the ENSO regions this week, but not all the way East to region 1+2.


We are watching that area because if the warming is mostly further West in region 3.4 & 4 this Winter we will have a modoki version of El Nino which historically has been less favorable for wet weather in CA.

Not much discussion of the upcoming winter in the meteorologist chat rooms as the focus is in Florence this week.  Meteorologists from all over the country become hurricane forecasters when we have a big storm like this, even though the storm won't be affecting their region.  Tracking hurricanes is a lot of fun if you marvel at the power of nature and severe storms.  Not so fun if you are affected by the storms...

Here is a look at the Atlantic right now with 3 storms churning towards the west.


The latest model runs show a direct hit on Southern North Carolina, but the effects of the storm will be felt up and down the East Coast.

Growing up on the coast in NJ I was an avid tracker of hurricanes and Nor' Easters.  I would be standing on the beach watching the huge waves pound the shore, or even rolling through the streets of our town!  My friends and I would take a trip every September to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  There were several trips that were cut short as we had to be evacuated ahead of a storm.  Ophelia comes to mind.

Luckily I never had to ride out a major hurricane during my time in NJ.  Only storms that brought flooding and beach erosion.  I did, however, ride out a direct hit of a category 4 typhoon on the island of Mauritius.  That was one of the scariest experiences of my life and I don't' want to relive it again.  Luckily we were in a cinderblock house, but we hid under our beds and could hear the freight train sound coming ahead of each wind gust pounding the side of the house!

Our surfing trip turned into a recovery effort for the locals.  Walking outside the next day was unreal as every tree was snapped in half and houses flattened.  Debris was everywhere.  It did cause the river to create a new delta into the beach and a new A-frame wave in Tamarin Bay that had never existed before.  So we did sneak in some surfing while helping in the recovery.

This is going to be a huge storm impact wise on the U.S. if hits at category 4.  Maybe one of the worst on record.  So thoughts and prayers to those about to be impacted.  That is the unfortunate other side to the fun of tracking big storms.  I hope everyone is heeding the warnings and getting out of the way to limit fatalities!


The other big media event today is the anniversary of 9/11.  Everyone remembers where they were if you were alive then.  We do have some readers now that weren't alive yet.  In case you were wanting to feel old today.

Growing up in NJ I had been to the twin towers on visits to NYC.  You could see the towers from where I attended college.  I knew people who worked in the city, but not anyone personally that worked in the towers.  

What I remember about that day is the weather.  It was the most incredible weather.  Clear blue skies, light west winds, and cool air.  I can't remember if it was a storm or hurricane passing the coast that caused the waves that day, but there were incredible waves that day as well.  The water was packed full of surfers.  Because we had all gotten up early to go surfing we didn't even know the attack had happened as we sat out in the water.


Above is a shot that was taken that day.  I later heard that there were some people who called in sick to work to surf that day and were saved from the attacks.  I remember finally getting out of the water and running into someone on the way back to the car who asked if we knew what had happened.  Then we drove home as fast as possible to watch the television.

I'll never forget that day, or how incredibly nice the weather and the waves were.  Almost eerily too nice ahead of the disaster about to hit.  We paddled back out that afternoon and could see the smoke across the ocean to the North from the city.  By then cars were already driving around with flags flying on them.  I had family and friends that were police and fire personnel that volunteered to go to the city to help with the recovery efforts.

It was a day that changed us forever, and one that we all reflect back on each year on this day.  Back this past September I was in NYC on my way to JFK for a flight back to Reno.  I decided to go and see the 9/11 memorial.


It was incredible to see holes where towers I had once stood on top of used to be.  This was on 9/24, not 9/11.  As I was standing there all of a sudden hundreds of police, fire, and rescue workers began parading up the street past the memorial.  Once they had filled the streets as far as the eye could see, they stopped and all began to sing God Bless America. 

god bless america

Talk about getting the chills!  It turns out that they were from all of the responding towns in and around NYC on 9/11.  They had had a charity race that day.  Whatever the reason it was unexpected and I'm glad I was standing there at exactly that moment to see that.  I'll never forget that day either.

The Road:

If you have been following along this Summer you have been seeing posts about my travels around the country to the National Parks.  I had been posting on Sundays, but we were off the grid this Sunday.  Next Summer I may be moving the hiking/camping/travel blogs over to the planned new opensummit.com website.  

Since the last post in Tennessee, we continued to head West into Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.  

bath house

Unlike the hot springs out in nature that you can swim in out west, these hot springs are inside of historic bathhouses.  They were used for healing in their day.  The park is more of a bathhouse museum, but still pretty cool to see all the uses for them back in the day!


You can still pay to swim in the 2 that still operate today, but not with 3 little ones that will want to scream and splash.  So we spent most of the day hiking the park in the hot and humid weather...

hot springs

and walking the town to see some of the natural springs in the parks.


The National Park campground was one of the nicest with full hookups and a stream flowing through the campsite. 

We then headed southwest into Texas.  We first stopped in Lindale to visit some family and to get some of what they call "real barbeque".  They let us set up camp on their 40-acre property.  There is a lot of land in Texas.  Can you find the RV?


There are also long straight roads in Texas where you can drive long periods of time without seeing anyone.  Like this one on route 54 which I think may be lonelier than 50 in Nevada...


From there we went to Austin to visit more family.  I didn't take any pictures of that, just a fun time in town watching the bats and drinking good beer with family.

On Friday we were back on the road on our way to Big Bend National Park.  From Lindale across to Big Bend, we had rain all week.  I read an NWS discussion in which they said they were seeing record-breaking PWAT (precipitable water) forecasts.  We spent a muddy weekend camping in and exploring Big Bend.


In the picture above you can see the kids looking at the Rio Grande river towards Mexico.  You can see how muddy the water is and it over its banks.  Unfortunately, that meant some of the trails we had hoped to hike into the hot springs and the canyon were raging rivers.    There were some spots on the road we had to get out and check the depth of the standing water before driving through.  

It was a cool experience though to see it in that element, and when there were breaks in the rain the clouds hanging on the mountains made for beautiful scenery.


Sunday we drove North and camped in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  Another breathtaking view of the mountains.  We did some shorter hikes with the little ones.  It would be a great park to go back to when they are older and do some longer hikes.  The coolest part was learning about the ocean that was once at the base of the mountains, and how it formed a large reef through the area.


The best part for my wife was being able to finally see and touch a tarantula.  Not sure why she had wanted to see one so bad.  I am no fan of spiders, but when they are out in the wild and not in your house they aren't so bad.


On Monday we were up early and drove right up the road to be the first ones into Carlsbad Caverns National Park.  It was a cool experience being the only ones in the cave.  All you could hear was the dripping of the water.


We, of course, decided to take the long route to Las Cruces through Cloudcroft and the White Sand Desert National Monument.  I had been to these areas several times before when my sister lived in El Paso.  I've skied Ski Apache which is a fun mountain.  It is cool going from the desert landscape quickly up into the mountains that look like Tahoe with the tall pine trees, and then quickly back down to the desert.  Then briefly through the beautiful freak of nature that is the White Sand Desert...

white sand

If you have been missing updates on the dog, don't worry she is living the dream!


We arrived in Las Cruces last night.  Today is a great day to catch up on work, to post this update for you, and to do some laundry!  Looking forward to an evening of chilling in the campsite and enjoying some local brews we picked up along the way!

Here is the updated trip map.


31 states and 21 National Parks so far.  One more week until we are back in Tahoe.  Then it's time for snow!  We will spend the next week going through 3 parks plus some other great spots in Arizona.  I'll do a final trip report next week when we return.

In the meantime, I'll continue to look for the first snow of the season and at the forecasts for the upcoming winter.  Until then, remember those affected by 9/11 today, and think of those about to be affected by Florence this week.  

One of my favorite things about forecasting weather for a living is that I feel like it is something that transcends race, religion, and political views.  Whether it is the love of weather, snow, and skiing that brings us together or coming together to help each other through some of its aftermaths...

Stay tuned...BA

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