October 27, 2009 Neenach, CA Wind Chase
A rare full day off from work + windstorm forecast = local chase to the desert. A strong NW jet stream was moving over SoCal while low pressure deepened at the surface over northern Arizona. Very strong west to northwest winds were blowing through the western Mojave Desert this morning, with gusts over 65 mph at more than one station. I grabbed my stuff and headed to the Antelope Valley via Hwy 14. Winds through Palmdale and Lancaster around 1 p.m. were somewhat impressive, gusting to maybe 45 mph, and visibility was only a mile or two in dust. Weather radio indicated that winds had died down since late morning at Mojave and Edwards, though. When I reached Mojave, winds were gusting to only 30 mph at best. Great—I’m chasing the wind during a big lull in the wind. I had lunch at Taco Bell and decided to head back south into the Antelope Valley. Wind had indeed subsided on this afternoon, and the dust was not nearly as bad as on the way up.
I elected to go into explore and sight-seeing mode, so I headed west from Rosamond and towards the vast emptiness of the western Antelope Valley, just south of the Tehachapi Mountains. I found a few interesting (i.e., bleak) spots to do some photography, primarily along Gaskell Road. As the sun descended, wind picked up again near Neenach, and blowing dust and sand provided additional photo ops.
Today’s windstorm chase wound up a slight dud, wind-wise, but was salvaged by some desolate scenery. And is it “Gaskell” or “Gaskill”??