Tennessee Tree Toppers

Sequatchie Skies
by Dan Shell
September 22, 1997

We haven't seen any substantial rain in a while. The autumnal drought contributes to convection and better altitude gains. Nevertheless, most folks won't object to the chance for moisture in the tea leaves for this week. It probably won't be enough to spoil the colors or tame the thermals.

Saturday was postfrontal, west, and strong. Patience paid and it finally laid down to a glassy smooth wonder. Bruce Hawk, Steve Lee, Kathy Lee, and I enjoyed some of the best magic air. It was easy boating around at 500 over or swoopin' and divin' over the treetops. Not strong velocity, just generous lift!

Sunday was expected to be better if not too east. Dale McCartney, Cindy, and I noticed the flags at his place indicating east at around noon. Dale remarked to the effect that it could be blowing northwest at launch anyway. That's exactly what was happening, as Curly Dunn, Steve, Kathy, and Phil Proctor launched, climbed out, and headed down the valley. They all got somewhere between Suck Creek and the end of the valley before turning for home. Phil landed at Dale's place at New Hope and Kathy landed in a field nearby. Steve made it across another gap to Centerpoint. Curly got all the way back to Henson's, reporting a max altitude gain around 3700 over. He was marking a thermal out front while I was scratching in light lift on the corner just after launching. He was climbing persuasively enough to peel me off the ridge, but I missed the bottom while he went back to cloudbase. Been there?

Look for southerly winds and increasing cloudiness through midweek. Temp differentials around 10 degrees suggesting poor convection. Best chance of rain Wednesday. Winds turning NW and strong under clearing skies Thursday. Northerly, lighter, sunny and warmer Friday with temp diffs back in the low 20s. Could still be good Saturday if not too east. If it's Whitwell Sunday, remember not to land until after church. See you in the sky!