Today featured early cumulus, plenty of heat, a prediction of late-afternoon overdevelopment and storms, long tasks, and an early launch.
The storms definitely did materialize, making the return home exciting (lightning, turbulence, dust fronts, etc.) for most pilots, and producing troublesome winds and some briefly heavy rain on the Lake Keepit airfield. But nearly everyone got back before the door slammed shut.
Our US pilots collectively turned in an excellent performance, with Sarah second, Kathy fifth and Sylvia ninth, all with good speeds. Notably, they all got safely on the ground and had their gliders secured ahead of the problem winds (though not by much).
The rain was enough to temporarily settle the dust (which has been a problem, especially on launch) but wasn’t nearly enough to have any effect on the serious drought here. Many locals are unhappy that Lake Keepit has been drawn down to near puddle status. Normally, it’s a feature that attracts boaters, fishermen and swimmers to the State Park that’s normally on the shoreline. The water is now hundreds of meters away, and the park is mostly empty. It’s said that park employees are being let go, and it may be years until the lake is again full.
In some local stores you can sign a petition supporting the idea that the lake never again be reduced below 20% of its capacity. The belief is that the lake water was “overpromised” to area farmers, who responded by installing expensive irrigation equipment to support cotton crops. How this conflict gets resolved is anyone’s guess.