It’s COLD and WINDY outside today (by Texas standards). I decided to run a quick prediction on a balloon launched with a standard payload and good lifting capacity as if we were launching ‘right now’.
The ascent times and descent times basically don’t change: 2 hours up 1 hour down. BUT the recovery location would be over 100 miles east of the launch location.
I’ve got it modeled in Google Earth so you can visualize it better. The balloon starts and ends with little jaunts to the south because surface winds are blowing ~20kts from the north. The majority of the flight though we are moving HARD to the east. Check out the current wind observations at 10,000-45,000ft; everything is 60-90mph.
That’s a LOT of variability and introduces a lot of error into landing predictions. 10-20 miles of error.
Today would not be a good day to launch.