Feeling like storm season
I'm sitting here in my office with the window open, taking in the sound and smell of rain and warm breezes outside. I'm also reading about photogenic tornadoes and good observing already happening out west in New Mexico, Texas and Kansas. The GFS shows no end to the 70F+ temperatures that we've had here in West Virginia for the past week, and some of the trees in the neighborhood are already blooming. It appears highly unlikely that we will see any further snowfall, barring any freak storm in mid-April. April 1 is almost here, and it's almost time to shift into 'weather expedition prep' mode. I may start the 2007 storm season blog a little early, as things are awakening - including my excitement about the expedition season.
If the Lord is willing, it's looking a little better for Weather Expedition 2007, as the financial picture has improved in recent weeks. My travel budget for spring had been devoted to family and friend visits in Boston, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Pittsburgh and Raleigh, with anything left going to the weather expedition. Now it looks like at least a ten-day trip is doable, especially with the four-person team we may end up with. Will a 2-week or more trip be possible?
Just to break it down, a weather expeditioning expedition costs us around $1,500 per week per 4-person vehicle. That's 7 nights of hotels costing $50-$80 a night (over $500/week) plus an average daily fuel cost of $126 ($900/week, three fill-ups per day at $42 each, assuming gas at $2.75/gallon). I don't count food as a weather expedition cost, since we eat meals every day whether we're observing or not. Sometimes we'll stop for a big steak dinner or two, which adds another $50 or so to the per-person trip cost. Since we put 400-500 miles per day on the car, oil changes are needed at least once per week. That's another $40 or so per week. A ten-day trip will set us back around $2,000, a two-week trip around $3,000. But that's not bad when it's split four ways - $750 per person for two weeks of observing, $500 for ten days, and $375 for one week.
As of today, the four seats in our car are full. Matt, Tom, Bill and I should be the crew this year.
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