Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:20 am

Questions About Weather Over Great Lakes Region

Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:36 am

Hi everyone... I'm sort of an anomaly in that I love aviation, but I'm a fearful flyer. I wanted to invoke some of your expertise with this question. My apologies if I'm not in the correct forum...

I'm going to be flying AUS-MSP-BDL tomorrow morning/afternoon and have noticed a strange weather system over the region. The winds, especially the winds aloft, seem to be quite powerful (upwards of 150 knots in some places... this is stronger than I've ever been in before I believe) and seem to be moving in a circular motion. There's also a powerful low pressure system right there in the same region that seems to be kicking up some nasty looking weather. What's the consequence of all this for flying? Will it make the flights bumpier than usual? Will we be up above the clouds associated with the weather? I'll be on Northwest DC9 and 320 for the two legs...

Thanks for the help...
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 4:23 pm

RE: Questions About Weather Over Great Lakes Regio

Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:17 pm

Hi phxflyer,

Well, you happened to post your question on a day when an airplane crashed into a building in New York. So, I think the people that usually would have responded are a bit preoccupied with the big news story.

Anyway, you are correct, the storm system you describe is vigorous for this time of year. However, in relation to a typical winter storm system it is not unusual. You do have a good chance of encountering some turbulence on your MSP-BDL leg, but you have to put this in context. In aviation, turbulence is officially classified as either light, moderate, severe, or extreme, and on your flight route the forecast is for "occasional moderate turbulence". Since moderate turbulence is relatively low on the classification scale, there shouldn't be anything extraordinary about the bumps you encounter. Just enough to ruffle your feathers.

As for other weather phenomenon such as snow or thunderstorms, your route should be free of them. The frontal system is already through MSP. And since it is moving a bit faster than forecast it should be through BDL by the early afternoon. Just remember to bring a coat  cold 
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Joined: Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:00 pm

RE: Questions About Weather Over Great Lakes Region

Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:51 pm

The weather is historically really really bad after October, which is why there are more shipwrecks in the Great Lakes than the Bermuda Triangle. All that means is a bumpy ride for a plane though.
Dont take life too seriously because you will never get out of it alive - Bugs Bunny
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Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2003 1:34 pm

RE: Questions About Weather Over Great Lakes Region

Fri Oct 13, 2006 12:54 am

NWA is known to be a leader in the industry when it comes to predicting dangerous turbulence, and provides this service to other airlines as well. Of course no one can guarantee a smooth ride, but you can rest assured that the airline--both the crew on the plane and the staff on the ground--will be doing everything possible to ensure a safe flight.

As someone who doesn't love turbulence myself (you're not an anomaly, even among aviation fans!), I know that it's an irrational thing and there's not much anyone can say to make you feel better--even if the rational part of you knows that, as long as you're buckled in properly, there is very little danger from turbulence. However, my one piece of advice is to avoid looking at weather maps before your flight and trying to predict whether it's going to be bumpy or not. I have had perfectly smooth flights on days although we were flying over all kinds of nasty weather on the ground, and I have had rough clear air turbulence with no clouds or storms in sight. There are so many variables that it's virtually impossible to know until you're actually up there, so it's not worth getting stressed out about before you even head to the airport!

I hope you have a smooth flight and that you enjoy your trip.
Common sense is not so common. -Voltaire

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