Monday, September 22, 2008

First Day of Fall

This morning marks the first day of fall, and the signs are all around. One look at the forecast for the week shows the grey/rainy season starting up again, and the temperatures continue to dip with the waning daylight. The sidewalk this morning was covered with yellow and red leaves dropped in a strong wind last night. It won’t be long until one of these storms lifts to reveal a dusting of snow up high. It’s already happened up north, with the first bulletin of the year from Jeff Adamson at the WSDOT:

The first day of fall brought snow to the North Cascades. While the air temperature at Washington Pass at 1 o'clock this morning was 37 degrees - it was below freezing about a thousand feet higher and the precipitation that started falling came down as snow. By 6 a.m., the freezing level had dropped to 5,000 feet and the temperature at Washington and Rainy was down to 32 degrees - low enough so the 2 inches of snow that had fallen in the previous six hours started sticking on the shoulders. By 10 a.m., it was 41 degrees, but still snowing off and on, according to our maintenance crews. The pavement temperature is still 46 degrees, so nothing has stuck to the driving surface, but there's some slush. The forecast says we can expect an inch or two of snow today, but it will turn to rain on the westside by tonight(none on the east) as the freezing level starts rising for the rest of the week (up to 9,000 feet by Wednesday). Travel conditions are fine, but it's a good reminder that at a mile high in the mountains, winter is on it's way and you need to be prepared. You know the drill - good tires, a full tank, washer fluid, warm clothes in the trunk, a shovel, kitty litter and a flashlight, plus some extra food/water and extra medication or baby care stuff. (A cell phone doesn't do you much good between Diablo and Mazama, but take one anyway). We're still likely more than two months away from the winter closure, but you will want to check the weather very closely if you're planning to do any back country recreating between now and Thanksgiving.

It won’t be long now…

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