Monday, December 02, 2013

A Strange Trip To Winslow

We took a quick trip to Winslow this weekend - left Friday am and returned about dark on Saturday. Mild and warm here when we left, but with a band of Pacific cirrus overhead. Up on the Rim north of Payson there was still about 6 to 8 inches of snow cover from the previous storm - snow was generally above 6500 ft MSL. Skies were clear and temperature was up to 48F, so it was sloppy and the snow was melting and sublimating. However, when we headed down into the Little Colorado drainage the temperature dropped markedly and we drove into low clouds and fog. Temperature when we pulled into La Posada Hotel in Winslow was a damp and cold 35F. It had been as low as 33F as we approached the town across the grasslands to its south. Photo above was taken from Highway 87 about 15 miles south of Winslow, looking toward mesas to the west. Apparently the high basin was filled with saturated, cold air draining north from the snow fields on the Rim.

On Saturday morning there was cold fog in Winslow and temperature was stuck at 33F, although the low had been down to 29F. There had been ice on a couple of small bridges along the front entry way to the hotel and they had scattered salt. As we headed south at mid-morning we drove into colder air and by the time we reached the forested areas the temperature had dropped below freezing and the fog was depositing rime ice on the pines - photo below taken at about 7,000 ft MSL where the temperature was 28F. When we checked out of the hotel the forecast for Saturday, noted on a white-board at the desk, was for cloudy skies and a high of 50F. Not to be - high in Winslow was 37F, after the early morning low of 29F (on Friday the high had been 37F after a low of 28F). In a few places on the rim the weather was about W0X0F - was really quite something. The satellite visible image, just below, from 7:45 am MST shows widespread low cloud and fog continuing over northeast Arizona and beyond this Monday morning.

After we drove through the highest terrain along the highway the cloud and fog dissipated almost instantly. Was warm and sparkling in Payson, but as we drove south to lower elevations the skies were increasingly dirty.

We stopped at Boyce Thompson Arboretum which is just east of Superior off of Highway 60. Skies were dirty and we were back under the Pacific cirrus again - so not a very good day for photos, but I took some anyway above and below.

The Tucson business leaders who support the development of the proposed Rosemont copper mine should all be forced to drive slowly from Globe to east of Superior. It is difficult to look at the terribly ravaged and ugly landscape that has resulted from the copper mining in that area!

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