It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and your mission today is critical for staying married: you’ll be flying with your wife from your home outside San Francisco to visit the in-laws in Seattle for turkey day. It’s a longer flight, just over 3 hours in your Cirrus SR22 from KPAO to KBFI, but it’s one you’ve done a few times before so you know what to expect. The weather is typical for late fall in the Pacific Northwest, with scattered rain and windy conditions, but your SR22 is well-equipped, with a glass cockpit, WAAS GPSs and TKS known ice system. You are instrument rated and current.
Your flight is scheduled to depart in an hour (1730Z). Read the weather briefing below, then decide if you’re flying or driving.
Your route will take you through a few lines of rain as you fly up the Pacific coast.
The surface analysis shows a cold front with an occluded section moving in from the ocean.
The 12 and 24-hour prognostic charts show the weather continuing to move through Oregon and Washington as it slides east.
There are two distinct bands of rain across your route of flight, although they don’t appear to be convective right now.
Airframe icing is always a consideration this time of year, and a look at the icing AIRMETs shows some activity.
There are some Pilot Reports of icing, although most are above your typical cruising altitude.
The CIP forecast product suggests that you might be able to stay out of the ice if you can cruise below 7000 ft.
It looks like there will be a few bumps today, as well, with some strong surface winds.
Text Weather Reports
The weather at your departure and destination isn’t bad, with good visibility and relatively high ceilings. But in between, conditions are worse at Medford, OR and getting worse at Portland, OR.
KPAO 201547Z 16012KT 10SM BKN022 OVC035 15/12 A3015= KPAO 201447Z 15013KT 7SM BR FEW007 SCT015 BKN023 OVC035 15/12 A3014=
KMFR 201627Z 00000KT 2 1/2SM +RA BR FEW029 OVC039 11/09 A2980 RMK AO2 PRESRR P0016= (SPECI) KMFR 201553Z 18005KT 7SM RA OVC055 12/09 A2974 RMK AO2 PRESRR SLP068 P0021 T01170089= KMFR 201453Z 06003KT 5SM RA BR OVC055 10/09 A2974 RMK AO2 SLP067 P0020 60043 T01000094 55007=
TAF KMFR 201120Z 2012/2112 VRB03KT P6SM SCT015 OVC040 TEMPO 2012/2016 -RA BKN015 FM201800 VRB03KT P6SM -RA SCT015 BKN025 OVC040 FM202300 VRB03KT P6SM -SHRA SCT025 BKN050 FM210500 VRB03KT P6SM -RA SCT025 OVC040=
KPDX 201553Z 11012KT 10SM OVC033 09/08 A2963 RMK AO2 RAB06E23 SLP031 P0000 T00940078= KPDX 201453Z 12013KT 10SM SCT039 BKN050 OVC070 09/08 A2967 RMK AO2 SLP048 60018 T00940078 58017=
TAF AMD KPDX 201438Z 2015/2112 11008KT P6SM -SHRA SCT025 BKN035 OVC060 TEMPO 2016/2018 BKN025 FM202200 20011KT P6SM -RA SCT025 BKN060 FM211000 18014G25KT P6SM -RA SCT020 OVC050=
KBFI 201553Z 00000KT 10SM SCT050 07/05 A2960 RMK AO2 SLP024 T00670050= KBFI 201453Z 13005KT 10SM SCT065 BKN150 08/06 A2963 RMK AO2 SLP034 60000 T00780061 57014=
TAF KBFI 201140Z 2012/2112 15005KT P6SM VCSH SCT040 SCT060 OVC200 FM201500 15004KT P6SM BKN120 OVC200 FM201900 18014G22KT 5SM -RA BR BKN030 OVC045 FM202200 18015G24KT P6SM -SHRA SCT020 BKN035 FM210500 16006KT P6SM VCSH SCT035 BKN100 FM211000 16004KT P6SM -RA BKN040 OVC060=
You Make the Call
It’s time to decide. This is certainly an IFR day and there might even be some ice in the clouds. But you’re instrument current and have a capable airplane. Can you go? Should you go? Add your opinion below.