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Clouds that portend an unpleasant ride home

May 10, 2012

At the museum this afternoon, a twirling, debris-laden wind suddenly smacked into the building and dropped twigs from the trees and made me consider whether I needed to take shelter in the reinforced “vault.”

I checked the local radio station’s “Storm Center” Facebook page, and found the following:

SCATTERED HIGH BASED SHOWERS WILL OCCUR OVER THE CENTRAL AND NORTHERN PANHANDLE. AS THESE SHOWERS COLLAPSE…THEY WILL PRODUCE VERY GUSTY AND ERRATIC WIND GUSTS WITH VERY LITTLE RAINFALL. WIND GUSTS TO 55 MPH ARE POSSIBLE

High based collapsing showers? Erratic wind gusts with very little rainfall?

That didn’t sound very friendly for biking home.

By the time my board meeting was over and I locked up the museum at 7 p.m., the air was totally still (and warmer than I expected).

“Oh, good,” I told Bugman on the phone. “Looks like the wind has quit.”

Yeah. Not for long.

Note to self – when you see clouds like this, your bike commute home will not be so fun:

Just after I took this picture, the still air was swiftly and suddenly unstill, with the wind slapping me from the westnortheast.

The ride actually wasn’t too bad for a few hundred feet past the Carpenter Center, with the majority of the wind gusts behind me. Also, the grass at the Carpenter Center is well irrigated.

Once I started heading north, with the wind out of the north-northwest, past gravel parking lots and patches of bare ground, the ride quickly became unfun.

I would rather ride through rain, or even clouds of aphids (as happened to me in Illinois), than get sandblasted and nearly knocked off my bike.

I peered around my helmet visor through half-closed eyes. Grit crunched in my teeth. I could feel sand accumulating in my shoes as I rode. I came close to getting clotheslined by a flying Styrofoam cooler lid. I actually dismounted and walked my bike across the 10th Street/Broadway bridge, for fear of getting blown over the rail and into traffic.

According to the Cheyenne National Weather Service, at the time I was biking home, the winds recorded at the airport were sustained at 32 miles per hour, gusting to 47.

Not too long after I got home, the air becalmed. Then, a bit later, the wind whirled again. Then calmed. Then whirled. Repeat.

We just get the strangest weather here. Must be the jet stream curlicuing off the mountains?

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2012 8:21 am

    The wind caught me surprise yesterday. I was playing bird games with the after-school kids at Westmoor, and all of a sudden the wind gusted up as the clouds swirled in. And then by the time I left, it was calm again, only to start up again later (right on time for your commute home) and howled through my open kitchen window. I was hoping we’d get some decent rain with the front, but no luck.

    I’ve decided, since moving here, that crosswinds are my least favorite when I’m biking. I don’t like feeling as though I’m about to blow over on my side.

  2. May 11, 2012 7:14 pm

    And some say it could even get worse–

    oh boy!

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