A gargantuan steel-grey cloud wall spat lightning across the eastern sky, having sprouted in the hour since I last checked weather.
“Not a good omen so early in the morning,” I muttered to Jean’s chagrin. This was my second attempt to deliver her and her mother to visit relatives in Montrose, Colorado. Last year an unforecast and unreported 100-mile squall line turned us back mid-route, forcing my passengers to drive eight hours instead. It turns out that blank cockpit-weather displays don’t necessarily mean storm-free skies—a huge weather radar gap spans the Four Corners region and not even Flight Service knows what’s there. At least this year I knew weather avoidance would be strictly out the windshield for part of the trip, valuable planning knowledge where usable airports are hundreds of miles apart.
That assumed we could depart in the first place. Despite forecast clear skies, the north-south line of thunderstorms entirely blocked our northeasterly route, and daytime heating threatened further development. Could we safely circumvent the fast-growing line before it engulfed our airport? And if we could, what hazards might lurk in the weather-radar gap beyond?…
**Read the entire column, “GOOD OMEN?“**
Photo: “Earth-bound rainbow south of Flagstaff, Arizona.” (Available as my “Earthbound Rainbow” Fine Art Metal Print.)
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2017 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!