Old 08-05-2008, 04:08 AM   #1
trainboysd40
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Default Never pay attention to weather forecasts

So I was all geared up for a railfanning expedition. I was going to check out uncharted territory west of Cochrane, Alberta, in the early morning. I get a delicious snack made, print off train lineups, charge all my batteries, get all my kit together, everything's ready.
Right before I go to bed to nab 4 hours of sleep, I check the weather.
"60% chance of severe thunderstorms in the early morning"
I think that they're going to be accurate for something in five hours, so I decide to sleep in instead.
Guess what?
There wasn't a cloud in the sky until the afternoon.
Moral of the story: Don't pay attention to the weather, just do it.
[/rant]
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40
"60% chance of severe thunderstorms in the early morning"
Next time you see that forecast bring a poncho and an umbrella and get yourself some lighting shots

I feel your pain man.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:40 PM   #3
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Indeed, I'd kill for some good severe thunderstorms right now. I've been wanting to get some good lightening shots for most of the summer, but I keep failing in some form or another.
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:46 PM   #4
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My story:

We go to Lake Champlain, in Northern NY, a few times every summer.... it's a lake house/ cottage my grandparents own that we stay. My dad and I had planned camping on the tracks (less than 100 yards behind the house). We found a nice location away from the house, and were all set for that night. We then heard heavy rain almost 100% forecasted. We stayed at the cottage. Keep in mind CP freights and amtrak trains pass through here. Only about 8 trains daily. Most freights run at night there. So we slept at the cottage, and probably 4 freights passed through, no rain. The next night we slept by the tracks. 2 lousy trains passed through, we were awake for one. Talk about MAD!
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:03 PM   #5
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I find it very annoying when the weather forecast predicts it to be fine & sunny, when you start out (and don't see much) it's a cloudless day. Move to a better spot a bit later in the day and the sky is covered in clouds and useless for photos, and it wasn't even forecast as "partly cloudy".

And of course you have the times when you see it's sunny for a moment despite the poor weather forecast, decide to go out for some photographing, it goes cloudy, and then the sun appears out of some awesome dark clouds as soon as a train appears!

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Old 08-05-2008, 04:16 PM   #6
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Or get your degree in meteorology and make up your own mind (like some of us)!
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:34 PM   #7
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Severe thunderstorms? I would have left an hour earlier to get some of that action, but you know that I like shooting in that stuff. The weather is never predicted right in my expierience. I also just look at the radar myself and take a more educated stab at that.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Or get your degree in meteorology and make up your own mind (like some of us)!
I moved to Oklahoma to get a Meteorology degree at OU... not a wise move on my part (no offense to the other forum members who are METR students there )

The guys at the NWS do a reasonably good job... as you might imagine it's pretty hard to guess where a swath of rain 10 miles wide will land on a surface 25,000 miles in circumference.
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Old 08-05-2008, 06:32 PM   #9
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I did it because I figured I could get 50% on my test and still pass...unfortunately, they graded on the normal 100% scale...
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
I did it because I figured I could get 50% on my test and still pass...unfortunately, they graded on the normal 100% scale...
Based on weather forecasting , that should have been a very successful passing grade
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:28 PM   #11
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That's what I was thinking...50/50 seems to be about as good as you get with the Wx folks...
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:47 PM   #12
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My wife calls me the meteorologist because I am always looking at the doppler chart ("weather in motion") to see what is coming! It is pretty easy to do, actually, at least in this flat territory where storms move in a straight line once they come off the Appalachians. It's only a two hour advance notice but I like to look at it when storms are in the forecast.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
(no offense to the other forum members who are METR students there )
None taken.

No matter what the weather says, just go out and railfan. Railroads work in all types of weather, why not yourself? This is where you can get the best shots of your collection. While everyone else is inside watching it through your windows, you're out in it getting shots that they are not (not that this is a competition or anything ).
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
None taken.

No matter what the weather says, just go out and railfan. Railroads work in all types of weather, why not yourself? This is where you can get the best shots of your collection. While everyone else is inside watching it through your windows, you're out in it getting shots that they are not (not that this is a competition or anything ).



Exactly correct .
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:14 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quiksmith10
None taken.

No matter what the weather says, just go out and railfan. Railroads work in all types of weather, why not yourself? This is where you can get the best shots of your collection. While everyone else is inside watching it through your windows, you're out in it getting shots that they are not (not that this is a competition or anything ).
Amen! I took a gamble this past May when the forecasts kept flip-flopping everyday for Altoona, PA from sunny to partly cloudy to sunny to rainy. I sucked it up and decided to plan my angle based on weather. When I woke up the morning after I had gotten there, clouds were beginning to move out of the area to the east. As it got later in the morning clouds rolled in again. After in and out sun, the clouds hurried off and the train departed...
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The rest is history now! *Note - If I remember correctly the 'current conditions' as of 9AM that morning were 'cloudy' when my brother checked at home.*

My suggestion is to study weather patterns and learn to read forecasts for what they really say. By now I realize, 'isolated thunderstorms with a 40% chance of rain' really means it'll be sunny until a storm cell passes and it will clear up again. Be smart, if you have a few days free and they say a cold front is passing Tuesday with a high pressure system falling in behind it, you know it will be sunny Wednesday. I don't have a degree in meteorology nor do I study it, it just becomes second nature in a hobby that is dependant (sometimes) on weather. Mountain patterns are also important to know and can be fairly unpredictable for a visitor as was the case when I went to the Clinchfield in 2006. The morning would be sunny, clouds built up against the mountains throughout the late morning, it would pour from noon until 2-5PM and then it would clear up. Every day the same thing happened so we knew to be out at first sun, take a long lunch/drive to a new location, and set up for late afternoon trains. If you only have a day or two and can't watch for several days, ask a local resident!

I highly recommend www.weather.gov over the WeatherChannel or Yahoo! or Google weather as it is really "the horses mouth". But the best meteorologist of all...is your window. =)
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Railroads work in all types of weather, why not yourself? This is where you can get the best shots of your collection.
Perhaps, but for me, I don't like the look of 99% of the shots I take in foul weather. On the flip side, I like ~90% of the shots I take in nice weather. I'd rather save my time/fuel/money/wear & tear/etc. during bad weather days and put that stuff to use when I can get the results that I like...
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:26 PM   #17
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Like right now the weather in Texas there saying sunny all week end at Summer Rail, I would bet some of that ends up in Ohio by the weekend.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:09 PM   #18
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I don't know about you guys, but personally the idea of sitting out in the middle of a field with a bunch of metal during a thunderstorm seems a bit silly to me :S
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Old 08-07-2008, 11:50 PM   #19
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Matthew, you know around here too that when they forecast sunny, its the opposite, you just can't win sometimes with Alberta forecasts/weather. Nothing like planning a photo trip when they forecast sunny and we get screwed by high chinook cloud or something.
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Old 08-08-2008, 12:18 AM   #20
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Tell me about it! Like the part where they said it was going to be sunny this morning...?
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