Wacky Weather At Wildhorse During Las Vegas Challenge’s Second Round

Wheather played a factor at the Las Vegas Challenge two days in a row

Some unusual weather led to a turn of events during the second round of the Las Vegas Challenge on Friday. Winds shifted out of the north around 9:00 a.m., providing a chilling breeze despite partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 50s. This combination of the quickly shifting winds and temperature changes made for a set of challenging conditions on the course for those in the Open field yesterday afternoon.

This northerly wind gusted to 25 mph at times and was sustained between 15 and 20 mph for a majority of the afternoon. The northerly wind eventually advected moisture from the northern part of Nevada.1

As moisture worked into the region, the temperature began to rapidly drop in a process called evaporative cooling, which caused virga. Pictures of virga appeared from the course.

A picture of virga near Wildhorse Golf Club. Photo: Jamie Thomas

Virga is precipitation that falls from clouds but evaporates before reaching the earth’s surface. As the precipitation evaporated, it cooled and moistened the low levels of the atmosphere. The temperature at nearby McCarran International Airport recorded a 10 degree temperature drop in about an hour and a half, while relative humidity rose to 70%, shortly after 2:00 p.m. This led to players needing to bundle up for the remainder of the afternoon due to wind chills in the low 30s, and even dropping to around freezing. The downdrafts of virga also led to some swirling of the wind at the course.

As the virga moved out of the region, dry air returned to the course. This led to the cracking and irritation of skin for many of our top players including Ricky Wysocki and Drew Gibson.

The cold temperatures, brisk wind, and dry air caused cracking to Drew Gibson’s throwing hand late in round two. Photo: Jamie Thomas

That didn’t stop Gibson from tossing a 1061-rated 52 and Wysocki from tossing a 1053-rated 53. Both were just a couple strokes behind Dustin Keegan’s 1069-rated 51 hot round.

A nicer day is expected for the third round today. Mostly sunny skies are expected to warm the current temperature of 30° (5:30 AM) to the mid 50’s by this afternoon. Relatively light winds may pick up to around 10 mph out of the southwest this afternoon.

  1. Advection occurs when heat is transferred from one location to another by the movement of liquid. 

  1. Jacob Wilkins
    Jacob Wilkins

    Jacob Wilkins is a disc golfer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Western Kentucky University. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram for a solid mixture of disc golf and weather.

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