So what happend to all that blue sky? (you ask). It's still there, just above this deck of stratocumulus clouds clouds hanging over all of East Central Florida between us on the ground and the blue sky above it. The big complexity for today is attempting to determine if the clouds will clear enough for ample launch viewing. The clear skies came to an abrupt end between 2-3am as a deck of stratocumulus moved in over almost the entire Florida east coast at the same time. And its been here ever since, and as of 8:45am doesn't show signs of going anywhere fast. Last nights temperature bottomed out at 67 on the porch as a result of the blanket of clouds moving in, so thermally speaking it's pretty nice out there today. Inland, it was a good 10 degrees cooler.
But will the clouds remain? That's the $100,000 question to which I'm sure all the launch forecasters are sweating bullets over. As of this writing, the official forecast is looking 'predominantly' good..but not entirely. In my blog though, for the sake of having the opportunity to disagree by virtue of 'freedom of speech' without the political hammer coming down on me, I'm going to say the clouds will still be around. You can see from the little graphic above how the low level moisture is even more concentrated just off the coast, and per those little arrows higher values are pointing the more concentrated moisture (clouds) in our direction.
After looking at what meager resources are available on this little home based PC with Windows ME on it...I'm slowly convincing myself that the clouds may very well be here to stay. The only irony in the whole thing is that from all appearances from various models, if the clouds are going to make a decent break at all today it will be within one hour before to one hour after the scheduled launch time. That would be a breath of fresh air for all those officially involved. They're giving it a 70% "go" right now..but even as of right now I'm going 50/50. As for viewing in the south end of the county, not as good even if it does go. So this begs the question, "will that break be enough?". For NOW..I'm committing to "no"..at least not enough for great viewing (that is, even if it goes it won't be a 'Kodak moment').
Unrelated, I've also included a temperature graphic of the surface temperature this morning which shows the early morning temperatures by color. If you look REAL close you can see that the extreme east tip of the Cape indeed was the warm spot over night for Central Florida. We eked that one of by barely a hair..and one had to be east of Merritt Island to experience it (the 'warmer' temperature). What's more..today's forecast high temperature could be affected as well as the launch if the clouds move in. But that won't really be all so bad, 'cause there will be very little wind (less than 10mph)...so all in all it will be comfortable regardless with a high no cooler than 74.
For most of the rest of the week, still expecting some of those 'mares tails' (high cirrus clumps) to start streaming overhead by Wednesday as the southern branch jet stream streaks overhead from the California Baja, across the GOM (Gulf of Mexico), and directly overhead most of the state. As for the lower clouds, by Wednesday those will come and go in mid-range unforecastable amounts. Heck, we're having a hard enough time trying to figure out if they'll be around early this afternoon let alone if they'll be around 2 days from now. But I think we can suffice it to say, that unless one really cares more about 'things' other than clouds..there's not much to look out for. That is to say, rain is on the low end to nil threat. That's not to say that there's a low end 5 percent chance that somewhere in East Central Florida will experience a brief shower, but as of this writing that appears to be it through Wednesday.
So is this a kind of 'cheezy' forecast? You bet! But on the more affirmative side, we can delve into the temperature outlook. For the coast, regardless of what the clouds do, we are very much proceeding with that "70s" outlook from the other day. That being, the immediate coast is going to be right around 70 in the morning and in the upper 70s in the afternoon pretty much all week.