Flight Plan

My flight plan....to encourage, mentor, guide those pining for the sky. I'm also here to virtually open the flight deck door for those who want to take a peek at the many aspects of aviation.....enjoy!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Frigid Frankfurt - an omega block?

This Weather Network diagram depicts the upper flow over the North Atlantic as a possible Omega block. It resembles the capital Greek letter "omega". There's no doubt about it, an upper low is wreaking havoc over Western Europe. It's kicking off snow storms and pulling cold temperatures over the area. Maybe tomorrow, I'll write about the omega block? Seems like lots are talking about it. No wonder in Canada nine out of ten conversations begin with the topic of weather. For an ex-meteorologist I should have lots of "weather pick up lines." lol

Our B767 if Frankfurt (Erik's photos)
Be sure to click on the photo to see the clarity Erik captures!

Lufthansa's B747 contending with the "white stuff"

Cathay Pacific under a blanket of snow. Can you say deicing?


Daniel said...

First pic is a 767 :P

I noticed the Jetstream looked weird yesterday. Appearently its hellish with the London/European flights in jeopardy.

From the Flight Deck said...

Daniel. You're right! It's FIN 684 meaning it's a B767. Plus it has four wheels on each bogey.
It's time for me to get glasses. I corrected the caption.

Yes, many of our LHR fights were cancelled.

Mother nature is playing hardball with the Christmas rush.


Christer said...

Great pics- thanks for posting! Seeing these sure make me glad I don't have to travel through Frankfurt again this Christmas:)!

When I lived near there a few years ago, this was quite uncommon and the worst weather-related delays I repeatedly encountered were fog-related, not being dumped on like that (LHR and FRA in particular).

Looks like AC and everyone else sure have their hands full this holiday season- best of luck to all employees and travelers!


Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

Captain Doug,

That reminds me of YWG a few days a go! We got a huge dumping of snow and it is really cold! How is the weather by you?

The Cold/Snow covered Winnipeger,

Bryan said...

Doug, is there a place we can visit to view all of Erik's photos? They would make some great wallpapers.

Thanks, Bryan

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

I was wondering if you'd talk about the European snow and delays. It looks worse than I pictured. Glad I'm not travelling this holiday season!

I'm curious - what happens to the crew that's stuck in Europe? I'm assuming the airline looks after their food and lodging? Also, is their schedule all messed up once they get back or is it just lost days?

Take care and Merry Christmas!


From the Flight Deck said...

Christer. It will be days trying to get back on track. When you close LHR (world's third busiest as far as passengers) it's disastrous.

Aren't you glad you are in CLT for the holidays? :)

From the Flight Deck said...

Adam the YWGer...

Here in the immediate area of Toronto, we have been relatively unscathed.

However, places that are conducive to onshore snow squalls have been dumped on. The major highways in the areas have been closed.

I see a wicked storm will be visiting the East coast today bringing heavy rain.

Weather is happening all over the place except here in Toronto. Why do I feel our turn will be soon? :)

Appreciative Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Bryan. You made a great point! I keep meaning to set up a site for Erik's amazing shots. He sent me more this morning.

Maybe he has one himself? I'll email him today.

Captain Doug

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Heather.

The airline looks after the hotel and per diems. And yes, their schedules gets changed. Sometimes it works out great, other times not so great.

During 9/11 I stayed at a hotel for three days.

But like passengers, crews have lives to live with many extremely inconvenienced. It may be fun for the first day, but it eventually wears on you.

I read in the paper this morning, London Heathrow was shut down.

There will be extra sections put on to handle the back log but one has to remember there are a certain amount of landing slots available at Heathrow.
It can be a nightmare trying to restrain order.

Yes, Merry Christmas to you!

Captain Doug

Christer said...

Doug, I'd be glad to be in CLT weather-wise (although it's been unusually cold here too), but we'll be making the drive back up to your neck of the woods for Christmas very soon.

Hoping the snow holds off along the way, the interstates can be pretty nasty through the mountains this time of year! While my kids would love to see snow, I'm much less excited about it- please hold on to your clear weather for us if you can:)!

Merry Christmas-


Daniel Asuncion said...

First of all, Merry Christmas to you Doug, and Family.

And to all of your Bloggers!

This post is a perfect opportunity to ask the following:

How representative is that flow illustration of the real thing? Is the actual air mass shaped like this, or is this merely an indication of what's happening?

And how many miles deep can these air masses be?

carlton said...

Heathrow opened one of their runways yesterday, but was not accepting any arrivals.

Last night I believe that they lifted the night cufew to ease the backlog.

Today only one runway is open and I think only 1/4 of flights will fly.

More heavy snow is forecast for London tonight and tomorrow, so no let up any time soon : (

From the Flight Deck said...

HI Dan.

The jet stream depiction is either actual or a forecast position. The one I posted on my blog was for this weekend. I just checked the actual upper air analysis and it looks very close to what was predicted.
Those weather people are bang on! :)

Yes, the air masses are shaped like this. You have a tug of war going on with the cA (Continental Arctic) and mA (Maritime Arctic) air masses.

An airmass is described by its temperature and humidity on the horizontal covering hundreds of miles. Their thickness is predicated on the
tropopause which caps the airmass at the top of the troposphere. According to the high altitude aviation charts the "trop" over Britain it is quite low
at 25,000 feet. It's due to the quasi stationary upper low causing all this havoc.

Good questions.


From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Carlton.

Thanks for the update! I'm glad to hear they lifted the curfew.

Yes, I see the weather gods are not finished.
Baten down the hatches. :)

Here in Toronto everything is benign. Perhaps a calm before the storm?

I remember we had a few Christmases where a snowstorm decided to pay a visit.

Good luck with it all!

Captain Doug

Chris Gardner said...

First of all I would like to wish you and your family a merry christmas and a happy new year. Here in St. John's NL the weather have bee real hard with the strong winds and heavy rains have been hard for the past couple of days and people wonder why do suffer from SAD,lol. Other news I did pass my political science course with a good grade. 30 courses down another 10 to go while working full time and doing this at one course per term. Take care Chris

From the Flight Deck said...

Hi Chris. Good stuff about your courses! Yes, all the best to you and your family.

SAD? I guess every Canadian suffers from it now and again. :)

All the best!