Monday, August 3, 2009

No Weather Map Gets the Four Corners Region Right

Watching The Weather Channel, a traveler might feel eased by the sweeping forecasts for rain, snow, heat, and cold. The truth is, the maps never get the weather right. In the valleys, it’s always warmer, and in the mountains, the weather is always changing.

In the desert regions, even a 50% chance of storms is a crap shoot because the dry air just sucks the life out of storms. A quarter of an inch could fall in 15 minutes at one location, and a half mile away, the rock remains dry.

During the winter, temperatures are vastly different from the maps, as even slight elevation changes will affect the precipitation and temperatures. In just a matter of minutes, I have moved from 35 degrees to 65 degrees, just by going down a couple thousand feet in elevation.

People will always ask about the cold conditions when I’m traveling in the winter, and I always have to explain that I am avoiding the colder temps by staying in the valleys. Though an eye has to be trained on possible monster winter storms that can spread across a state at a time, it is usually better to gain a feel for the ripples in the landscape. The bends and rises become a part of a trip, and directions traveled run like rivers of relief from extremes.

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