Groundhog Day at the America's Challenge?
October 3, 2022
October 3, 2022 7:30 PM (0130 UTC 10/4/2022)
Unpredictable, unstable weather continues to plague the America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons. A briefing scheduled for 8 PM MDT (10/4 at 0130 UTC) has been postponed until 2 PM (2000) tomorrow, as race officials and meteorologists continue to look for a weather window that will allow for a safe and competitive race.
Earlier today, it looked like the weather stars might align to allow for an overnight launch, sometime around 3 AM MDT (0900 UTC). But there are once again storms in central and northern New Mexico, both in the Albuquerque vicinity and eastward, with the potential to develop outflow winds that could disrupt the inflation. There is also a lack of agreement among various weather forecast models. One pilot joked to his crew that the round of delays and briefings feels like “the Twilight Zone, or Ground’s Hog Day.”
The race officials and pilots remain hopeful that a weather window will open in the next couple of days to allow for a safe launch and flight. Under the race rules, the teams can launch as late as Wednesday evening.