Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Days I Don't

I'm sitting in a hotel room in British Columbia while an airplane my company wants in Alberta sits on the ramp at the local airport. It's a nice airplane, but some of the equipment that required for dispatch into "known ice" has been removed for weight consideration, so with today's cold weather and convective conditions, it isn't safe or legal to fly it over the mountains. The clouds are too low to go under, too high to go over, and too highly composed of supercooled (liquid below zero) water droplets to go through. And, to be thorough, I should add too extensive to go around. An air mass that has moved across the Pacific Ocean is being forced up and over the BC mountain ranges, producing a lot of precipitation and humidity. It's a very nice hotel room, but it's stressful having my company want me somewhere, and me be unable to go.

I scrutinize each new METAR, each new TAF and each new set of GFAs looking for an opportunity. I set myself a "not after" time: if I left after that time then I would not be able to reach my destination and shut down within my permitted fourteen hours from when I started this vigil. I should just say, "screw it, not happening," but there is always a faint hope of success. And it's miserable weather here, too.

I go for a run in the miserable weather. Too slow, and I can't entirely blame my poor speed on the stumble-making cracked sidewalks, the muddy trail, the cold temperature or the traffic lights and crosswalks I have to navigate on the way to the running trail. I haven't been running enough lately. My body forgets how to do what it hasn't done consistently. I'm always on the road in the summer so I can't enter races to give me the incentive to train hard. Often in the summer there literally are not enough hours in the day for me to get legal rest and work out, too. And in the winter it's so dark in the evening I don't want to run on uneven sidewalks.

I get back to the hotel and before I do anything else I check the weather again. No miraculous path has opened through the mountains.

The glass wall of the shower stall makes up one wall of the bathroom, so I can see though it into the bedroom. It's made of a special adjustable glass, that can switch between transparent and opaque. It's fun to make it clear, and watch TV while I'm in the shower. Too bad there is no switch that will make the weather clear through the mountains.

I call the vigil off for today and go to dinner.


Martin Beauchemin said...

I'm guessing you're on the coast? Looks like navcanada hired 5 year olds to make the BC 0600Z GFA. There's just so much clutter. WX is forecasted to remain crap past 1800z. I guess the IFR outlook is rather useless but it doesn't look good either lol. Hopefully the forecasters were out to lunch and a window of opportunity opens up for you soon!

By the way, I swear that every time I've checked out the BC GFA, there's consistently a trowal just of the coast. What's up with that?

Aviatrix said...

Yep, the BC GFA usually has a trowal off the coast, just like there's usually a massive storm coiled around Winnipeg, a giant low over the Hudson's Bay, a ridiculous pressure gradient across the Grand Banks, and a beautiful high across Nunavut. The last sounds wonderful, until you realize that it's cold enough to freeze your eyeballs, and when it warms up just enough to breathe, it will turn to an eighth of a mile in snow. O Canada.