Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cold Front And Sprinkles For Book Festival - Thunder And Lightning For Davis-Monthan

The annual Tucson Festival of Books has become a very successful event, since the first one took place back in March 2009. It is held on the University of Arizona campus during the first weekend of Spring Break - a time of the year that can be a bit unsettled. The 2016 Festival is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday, and there are a couple of complications this year. 

First, the University has decided to charge parking fees at the four nearest parking garages ($5.00/entry/day). This seems a nasty, money-grubbing maneuver from my perspective. One of the big draws of the weekend has always been that anyone could come on campus and enjoy the very rare opportunity of open parking. This was true whether for the main event, or for any of the tours and other activities scheduled to coincide with the Festival - for example, tours of the Laboratory for Tree Ring Research (LTRR) have been popular during past Festivals.

Perhaps equally distressing is that the U.S. Air Force and Davis-Monthan AFB has scheduled an open house, and very large air show, for the same weekend. Again, from my perspective, this is a very unfortunate conflict that probably could have/should have been avoided by the local military officials in charge of base activities Details regarding the event from our local media indicate that, although general admission is free:

 - Flight Line VIP tickets are available for purchase for $125 online and $135 at the gate. Flight Line tickets include VIP access to entry and parking, catered meals, unlimited soft drinks, private bar, private restrooms and a shaded area to enjoy the demonstrations.
Attendees 21 and over may purchase tickets to the Beer Garden online or in person for $30.00 per ticket. A Beer Garden ticket includes one drink, access to a private bathroom and a shaded area from which to enjoy the demonstrations.
With approximately 40 aircraft will be [sic] on static display and performances from 12 groups, including the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, it promises to be a fun and educational experience for the whole family. -

Good grief, what is our DoD and local military up to? - some of this sounds more like an NFL Championship game than a USAF base open house. 

Regardless, the intellectual attractions of each event are quite different, and hopefully they won't have too much impact on each other.


Now, on to the expected weather for Saturday.  A small, fast-moving short wave at 500 mb will zip across Arizona on Saturday. It will be accompanied by a fast-hitting cold front here in the Tucson metro area, with perhaps some light showers or sprinkles on Saturday morning. Breezy winds will also come in with the front. So, a fairly typical Festival weekend, starting out with unsettled weather.

The 06 UTC forecast from the WRF-NAM at Atmo indicates some showers over eastern Pima County before noon (composite radar echo forecast for 8:00 am MST above) and the forecast surface plot (below) valid at 9:00 am indicates an unsettled and chilly morning for Saturday. Second graphic below shows the WRF-NAM forecast for winds at noon on Saturday.

The plumes from the 06 UTC GEFS forecasts are similar. The QPF plumes (above) indicate a high chance of showers, or sprinkles, on Saturday morning (19 of 21 members forecasting light, but measurable rainfall at the airport). The plumes for temperature (below) illustrate the big change from Friday to Saturday, with highs on Saturday staying down in the 60s, 20 degrees F or so cooler than the 80s of Friday.

So, the model forecasts are indicating wind-breaker weather for the start of the Festival, and the early bird attendees might consider adding a small travel umbrella to their backpack.

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