Dr. Anne Case Hanks
Day in Leesville
Today was supposed to be an exciting experience in Monroe, Louisiana. Dr. Anne planned a road trip to Shreveport for the Atmospheric Science class. We were going to the Barksdale Airport to visit the weather station. I was so excited that I set my clothes aside and prepared myself for the next day. Well, it was getting pretty late so I set my alarm for 8:00 a.m. Our road trip was set for 10 a.m. The sun woke me up before my alarm clock, so I got up and said to myself, “I can’t wait to see what’s planned. I wonder if everyone is outside of Hanna already?” Even though it was still early, Dr. Anne was very precise and would leave you stuck in Monroe. So I hurried and got dressed so I could meet Cece downstairs. At this time it’s 9:45a.m. We walked to Cece’s truck and drove to Hanna to find that there were no cars in line ready to leave for Shreveport. We thought that was odd, so Cece called Dr. Anne and came to the conclusion that the trip was cancelled. She said over the phone, “Well, I said in class that the trip was postponed so….” I replied in the background, “Aww, man! I really wanted to go!” She probably said the trip was cancelled before I got to class because even though class technically starts at 1pm she starts teaching or making announcements around 12:55p.m. Nevertheless, Cece and I didn’t let that get us down. We said Ok what do we do now? Cece said, “Let’s go home to see my mamma!” I said, “Yea!!!” And the adventurous road trip began. Cece’s mom lives in Leesville, Louisiana, which is an hour outside of Alexandria. We drove two and a half hours when we realized some altocumulus clouds gathering in the sky. Altocumulus clouds are grayish-white and usually form in groups. The clouds tend to be about 1km thick. These clouds are called altocumulus because they are formed in the middle of the atmosphere which is about, 2000-7000m up. This is where the word “alto” comes from meaning the middle of the atmosphere. An altocumulus cloud can form in two ways. One way is moist air is cooled by turbulence, which is a whole bunch of air moving in different directions at the same time, then this moist air rises and cools to form a cloud at that particular height. The other way is these clouds usually form in a layer of moist air, where the air currents move in a gently wavelike motion. As a wave rises, the water vapor condenses and the cloud forms.
As we were driving along we rolled the windows down and noticed how the air was becoming stronger based on the evidence that the truck would not stay on the road as easily. When we were driving down the road with the windows down it caused a force called, drag. Cars are created to have air flow over them not through them and with very little resistance. So us having the windows down caused the exact opposite, which was making the road trip even longer. We quickly rolled the windows up and blasted the music as we cruised down the highway. Well we were almost at the destination when we realized Cece had a heavy foot because next thing we knew the police was behind us. The sheriff came to the car and was trying to be all friendly as usual but still walked back to his car to write a ticket. As he was writing the ticket we looked to our left and there was a field of corn and vegetables that had caught on fire. I said to Cece, “This is going to cause the air to become unstable.” Strong surface heating develops numerous kinds of convective systems. Upslope winds develop along heated slopes and convection currents continue to rise. Superheated air in flat terrain escapes upward in bubbles or in the form of whirlwinds or dust devils. Unstable air produces strong gusty fronts. Unstable air fuels thunderstorms, the more unstable air is the more the thunderstorms feed off of it like a fat kid at a buffet. The officer finally came back to the car and issued the ticket, saying, “Now you ladies have a good day.” So…