Saturday, June 19, 2021

putting the adventure in flying

Tropical storms and airplanes are not a good mix.

And I may be dealing with both this afternoon.

For the past few days we have been watching a weather disturbance develop in the Pacific off of the coast of Central America. Most of these patterns never develop into anything. But this one did.

Dolores is now a tropical storm and she is heading right at us with 65 mph winds. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) drawing, that looks a bit like a sixth-grader's view of a Venn diagram, shows what we may face. This afternoon the storm should make landfall just south of where I live.

The NHC is predicting Dolores will continue to gain strength until it is near-hurricane force. Once it hits land, the winds should start waning.

But that is one of the bad aspects of living right on the coast. We are the landfall. The good thing about Dolores is that it will only be a category 1 hurricane -- if it even makes it to that status.

I discovered during Patricia (a category 4 hurricane when it came ashore) that my house is built to withstand the rigors of hurricanes. Because I live in a concrete bowl, loose items like lawn furniture are safe in the patio, but they are wind-fodder if left on the upper terrace. Before I leave for the airport today, I will retrieve the plastic chair and table that I use as my Faulkner nest and bring them downstairs.

Ah, yes. The Airport. The second half of our volatile weather mix.

I am scheduled to fly out of Manzanillo airport at 4:20 PM on my way north for another week-long family project. That is just about the time that the storm will be visiting our area.

The aircraft I will board is scheduled to leave Los Angeles for Manzanillo in about two hours (at 9:55 AM PDT). The question is whether Alaska Airlines is going to fly its plane directly into an airport that is about to face tropical-storm winds. According to the flight status report, the flight is listed as "on time." If that holds up for another hour, I may be leaving Mexico on a jet plane this afternoon.

We will just have to wait and see. In the past, when Alaska has been forced to change its flight schedules due to weather, the flight down and back has been moved to the next day -- Sunday, in this case.

But I will just wait and see. 

We are beginning to experience the edge of the storm right now. Light rain started during the night and is continuing this morning. The rain will undoubtedly increase before we feel the edge of the wind storm.

As most of you know, I am not fond of the ritual "be safe" greeting that usually accompanies such events as we are experiencing today. If my flight takes off today, it should be an adventure.

And that is something I can look forward to.   

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