“I owned the world that hour as I rode over it … Free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them.”
~ Charles Lindbergh, aviator
(the first transatlantic-solo and nonstop flight)
Last week’s Weather in the Foothills included a prediction for “a slight chance of showers.” There must be a new meteorological meaning for slight. According to my rain gauge, we received .94 inches of rain and several nearby communities reached two inches. No apology needed for the more than anticipated rain. It seems the expected cold front met up with a heavy band of moisture moving up from the south. It was a “perfect storm” – steady and slow moving for our drought stricken area.
At the start of this week, the storm moved on and left us “in a bit of a fog.” Short-lived, though; within 30 minutes on Tuesday morning the weather went from a thick, swirling fog to clear, windy Santa Ana conditions.
An interesting article from The Telegraph caught my eye: “Jet Stream Blasts British Airways Plane Across Atlantic in Record Time.” It seems on Jan. 8 a Boeing 777-200 jet flying at speeds reaching 745 mph flew from New York to London in just 5 hours and 16 minutes. Meteorologists explained the reason – triggered by plunging temperatures back east (USA) hitting warmer air from the south, the normal jet stream’s winter pattern was extra-powerful. The plane landed an hour and half before scheduled time. Its flight is considered the fastest since the Concorde retired.
A jet stream is to a pilot as is a wave is to a surfer. Pilots have long used jet streams – air currents that flow from west to east – to cut journey times and save fuel. Enticed by nature’s invisible force, many enjoy the challenge of safely maneuvering a jet stream. Hmmm… was it surfing or flying these lyrics referred to, “Catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world…?”
Let’s say you were traveling from London to Los Angeles the same day as the aforementioned jet. I use for example our sons who were returning home from a trip to England, Italy and Malta. What happened? Quite the opposite; instead of a tailwind to assist, their plane would be against a headwind causing a slow and turbulent ride. To avoid these and ensure a safe flight, the Virgin Air pilot consulted with aviation meteorologists. It was decided the flight would take a northern trajectory over Greenland to avoid the jet stream’s negative influences. Welcome home, boys.
The Crescenta Valley is home to ideal weather as the upcoming week will attest. Clear and warmer days will see us into next week. Enjoy…
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.