introducing Escaype's Expert Stations

Hi all! Some of you have noticed that certain stations in the Escaype app now have an asterisk by the location name. (Yosemite, Portland, Tahoe, etc.) 

The asterisk indicates this is an expert station. These are locations that we do not regularly monitor because they are outside our official forecast area, which is the greater Bay Area. Many of them are in mountainous areas, where weather patterns can be very localized, sometimes having different phenomena than we see here in the bay area. 

We call them “expert stations” because they may require some knowledge and experience on your part. Often times, things will work out fine and the model forecast will be spot on. Other times, though (especially with storms), you may have to chase the clouds based on satellites and webcams. If the model forecasts a stormy blowup in Yosemite, you might not be able to drive straight to Tunnel View and plant your tripod. All of the information you need is on our members-only blog, and we highly recommend reviewing those articles before taking a trip outside our forecast area. In particular, you’ll want to look for telltale signs like open sky on the horizon, clouds being higher than the tallest mountains, blocking clouds on the satellites, and using satellites and webcams to head for the best clouds. 

We run our model outside our official area as a courtesy only. We can’t fully vouch for those forecasts, because we don’t regularly monitor the conditions, which often change quickly. If you’d like to check in with us before making a long drive, we welcome and encourage it. That said, we don’t have the same depth of information readily available for those places that we do for our official area, and if there is a weather event coming up in our official area, please understand that this event will remain our priority. 

Many of us follow a soft “two skies rule” when venturing out on long drives. Sometimes, especially when you’re in the mountains, things happen. If your location isn’t flexible and you can’t really chase the light, getting stuck in a little blue hole can ruin a 5-hour drive. For this reason, if you’re making a long drive, we recommend you wait until the app is forecasting two good skies in the next couple days. The two skies rule has saved me several times. Last year, several of us drove up to Shasta and got “blue holed” during a 100/0 sunrise, but scored big with a 100/0 sunset the same day, then drove home happy. If you make the trip just for one sky, especially if your destination is not flexible, we’re rooting for you, but please understand that you’re taking a risk

Thanks, and may the light be with you!

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