Archive for Weather or Not

The autumn un-empire

There are those who would prefer that summer stick around a bit longer:

I keep seeing all these things on Facebook that say, “Share if you are ready for fall?” No! No, I am not ready! I’m a summer person. Yes, fall is nice — pretty colors and all that — but it doesn’t last long. You get four to six weeks of nice weather, maybe two or three weeks of pretty colors and then the leaves all fall off and it gets COLD long before official winter arrives. And don’t tell me, “Cold is better than heat because when it’s cold you can put on more clothes.” That’s not a feature; it’s a bug! That’s part of the problem. I don’t want to put on more clothes! As long as it’s just “shirt sleeve weather” that’s okay but I hate coats and jackets.

Not for her the layered look.

Then again, anyone who doesn’t get annoyed by that “Share if” crap on Facebook isn’t paying attention; you’d think by now someone would have shot the “Share if”. (Consider yourself deputized.)

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By the yarbles, downwardly

No one, I assume, has ever ordered one of these in January:

The husband, who is pretty good with this sort of thing, checked out the air conditioner and discovered that it had a bad capacitor. Just so happened we had another one from an old air conditioner so he installed that one and it worked. Yay, we’re cool again. But, not knowing how long that old part would last he looked up a new one online and asked me to order it. The total, with standard shipping, came to $19 and change.

This seemed to me like something we might want in a hurry. If the air conditioner quit completely with temps in the upper 90s we might think an extra $30 or perhaps even an extra $50 would have been worth it.

Which makes sense to me — and dollars for the vendor:

There are not enough curse words in the world to express my feelings upon seeing the price for two day shipping. Keep in mind this part is slightly smaller than a 12 ounce soda can and not exceptionally heavy for an object of that size. Total cost for 2 day shipping: $276. Or something like that. It was definitely 3 digits starting with a “2” and I’m pretty sure there was a “7” and a “6” in some order. Sorry, I’m a bit traumatized by the experience. I mean, what the hell? Are they going to hire James Earl Jones to bring it in a limo and deliver it personally to my front door? (Yeah, I’d pay $276 for that.)

It works the other way, too. I bought my Big Nasty Snow Pusher from Amazon one summer for $50ish. Same device last December: $109. (Shipping, at least, was free.)

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Out of the Garden, into the Sunshine

There is much chatter about the 21st Century Exodus, from California to Texas. We don’t hear so much about this move down Interstate 95:

I moved to Florida from New Jersey a couple of weeks ago because of a number of personal and financial reasons.

Many New Jersey residents are doing the same, including my accountant. She, as I, can pay for a small mortgage, real estate taxes, insurance and association fees on a condo in Florida on what we paid for real estate taxes alone in New Jersey. Add the fact that Florida has no personal income tax, and you’ll have loads of New Jerseyans heading to Florida. I had my car transported by truck, and the man who delivered it told me the 9 other cars belonged to people who are moving to Florida.

There is, of course, a drawback:

New Jersey is hot and humid in the summer, but you don’t know humid hotness until you’re in South Florida to stay. The main difference between the two is, Miami doesn’t really cool off at night.

I’ve never been to Miami, though a couple of trips to Orlando gave me a healthy respect for — or maybe an abject fear of — Florida humidity, especially since it can do things like this:

Morning walks before the temps hit the mid eighties (in both temperature and humidity) become a streaming flow of sweat pouring down from my scalp, through my clothes, slowing down enough to puddle in my bra — not stopping until reaching my ankles. Anything not made of natural fabrics (including two tops made of “wicking” material) then becomes clammy the moment you step into an air-conditioned building. The result can best be called a synthetically-induced hot flash: Brutal sweat followed by chilling dampness.

And people wonder why LeBron would go back to Cleveland.

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Making a dew point

Osaka Jack, as his name implies, lives in Japan, but in a part of it with ridiculous humidity levels not unlike what we’re having to endure this week on the Baked Plain. So this My Little Pony fiction idea gets my vote:

Which was apparently a reaction to this:

The only worry is that it might take longer than 22 minutes to clear this mess up.

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Sweaty in Seattle

Parella Lewis of KCPQ, aka Q13 Fox (Seattle/Tacoma), presents a startling statistic:

Five. Whole. Days.

And the record for consecutive days with highs 90 degrees plus in Oklahoma City (again, per NWS)?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Meanwhile beyond the sky

Tim Blair quotes a writer on the environmental beat:

“The Anglican Church has told the Abbott government to change its approach to climate change, urging it to respect and base its policy on scientific evidence.”

The comic power in that paragraph is equal to several kilotons of the finest plutonium. Here we have an organisation founded on belief and faith now demanding that selected scientific opinions inform government policy. These same people think they can talk to the planet’s inventor just by putting their hands together.

I demur somewhat on that last sentence — apparently there are Anglicans of a sort who don’t even believe in God — but one thing I have learned is that false prophets are generally trying to generate profits. (See, for instance, Saint Albert the Gaseous.)

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Warming just before the dawn

Said I on 12 August 2012, nine days after the Hottest Damn Day Ever in this town:

It’s not the 100-plus afternoons that bother me so much; it’s the 80-degree sunrises, with the neighborhood runners sweating at 0530 and wondering what they did to deserve this.

On said Hottest Damn Day, the high merely tied the 1936 record (113°F), but the low, if you can call it “low,” was a darkly scorching 84. If you’re in the habit of counting degree days — and why would you be? — the first thing you’d do is take the average of the high and the low, and you’d come up with, um, 99. This is almost Phoenix-level searing.

Aside: We have 123 years of records for Oklahoma City. On how many days did it fail to drop below 84 degrees Fahrenheit? Answer: one.

Now comes this disturbing bit of news:

[O]ne thing that is never, ever mentioned in the press but is generally true about temperature trends — almost all of the warming we have seen is in nighttime temperatures, rather than day time… This is one reason why, despite claims in the media, we are not hitting any more all time daytime highs than we would expect from a normal distribution. If you look at temperature stations for which we have 80+ years of data, fewer than 10% of the 100-year highs were set in the last 10 years. We are setting an unusual number of records for high low temperature, if that makes sense.

People wonder why I have so damned much foliage. I’m trying to maintain some shade in the face of hellish warmth — even when it’s dark.

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In the meantime, we have weather

A semi-elegant thought experiment on the question of carbon dioxide:

[I]f one goes back to (say) 1850 and spawns a parallel universe in which one instantly and without pollution kills all the humans, then runs the clock forward to today, is there more CO2 in our universe than in that parallel universe’s 2014? In that case, my even-money bet would be “yes”. But I don’t feel hugely strongly about that. I also don’t care or think it is germane to much of anything.

We would like to disclaim, expressly and in full, any responsibility should some farking maniac transport himself back to 1850 and destroy all of mankind. If we wait long enough, we can do it ourselves, thank you very much. And we’ll probably do it with financial derivatives and similar bogus constructs. This is the way the world ends, not with a whim, but a banker.

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Doo point

Under the circumstances, “windy” probably goes without saying:

Fartly cloudy and windy

Mama said there’d be days like this.

(Via Bad Newspaper. The paper in question is the News-Democrat & Leader of Russellville, Kentucky.)

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That’s one crummy thermostat

You know, if we’re going to take this climate-change stuff seriously, the first thing we have to do is determine the optimum temperature of the planet. (I vote for 23°C, or as the Americans persist in calling it, 74°; this is precisely the temperature I maintain in my house, so I admit to exactly as much bias as that takes.)

Unfortunately, the planet refuses to cooperate:

There was global warming. Then global cooling. Then warming. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

It seems to me this melting and warming has been going on long, long, before we started the Industrial Revolution, eons before Duke Energy and ConEd fired up their first coal burning power plants, hundreds of centuries before Monsanto screwed with the DNA of a kernel of corn, way before we started raping Mother Nature like a Nigerian schoolgirl sex slave.

It’s almost like the planet didn’t care about us, or something.

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Meanwhile, back in the desert

This statistic is startling, not least because it has the ring of truth to it:

They’ve been saying on the local news that this has been the driest January to May period since 1936.

Since the Dust Bowl. That’s scary.

I’m a bit to her north. Let’s see what kind of numbers we have:

    January: normal 1.39 inches, actual 0.07.
    February: normal 1.58, actual 0.36.
    March: normal 3:06, actual 1.26.
    April: normal 3:07, actual 1.00.
    May so far: normal 0.85, actual 0.00.

So instead of the ten inches we should have had so far this year, we’re below three. This isn’t creating a water-supply issue yet — last year, we had over fifty inches of rain (normal is about 35), and we’ve had watering restrictions for over a year — but it’s probably just a matter of time. (Meanwhile, Wichita Falls proposes to recycle wastewater.)

What I find remarkable is that the winter of 2013-14 (defined as December through February by meteorologists) was the ninth driest on record — 1.69 inches — and yet we had over eight inches of snow. (Plus an inch and a half in March, which counts toward spring.)

This does not bode well. Drought depresses me, the long string of rainless cloudless days, and also the worry about what will happen to my trees (my lawn, I’ve given up on). The constant unending days of heat. I know people in northern climes complained about this winter, but honestly, for me, the four to six months of summer is worse than any winter — in winter, you can bundle up and go outside for 20 minutes or so and come back in and make tea and feel grateful. In summer, here, I can never get my house quite as cool as I’d really like it to be, and while it is a relief to come back into the house after being out in the heat, it’s not quite as GREAT a relief.

The wide swings perplex me. Wettest August ever was 2008 (9.95 inches); 2009 followed with 5.74, good for 7th place; and then 2010 dropped a mere 0.48 inch on us, tied for fifth driest, and just 0.02 inch above the entire summer of 1936.

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Easily impressed

Lynn tuned into one of those ubiquitous Nature Shows — this one about Alaskan wildlife — and was perplexed by a statement of presumed certified meteorology:

At one point, talking about the approach of winter, the narrator said, in the usual This Is Seriously Dramatic voice, “The temperature can drop as much as 15 degrees in just a few weeks.” And yes, I’m sure we heard him right. He enunciated very well. He said 15, not 50. We were too stunned to laugh. Fifteen degrees in a few weeks? We do more than that in just one day. In fact, I’ve seen the temp drop 15 degrees in less than an hour. Perhaps he meant the high temperature or the low, or the average. If so he should have said that but still, even if that’s what he meant we can still top it here in Oklahoma. Take yesterday and today, for example. Yesterday’s high was somewhere around 70°F. This morning at 6:30 it was only 40°F. Today’s high is supposed to be 80°. I have no doubt it will get there. How about that Mr. Serious Drama Narrator?

Maybe he was on loan from Canada and was quoting Celsius, in which case we’re talking 27 degrees as we know them.

Then again, caribou probably don’t look at thermometers, so maybe the guy is referring to the overall average, and 15 degrees is a pretty fair drop. Over September, October and November in Oklahoma City, the average drops 34 degrees: about 11 each month, before things start to settle down (and “down” is the key word) in December and January.

And of course, there’s that infamous daily record, set 11 November 1911, with a high of 83 and a low of 17. (It dropped to 14 before sunrise on the 12th.) A sixty-nine-degree drop in 24 hours should impress even Serious Drama Narrators.

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Captain, we are not being hailed

Everything you wanted to understand about Oklahoma weather was contained in a 30-second radio commercial yesterday, when Fiat of Edmond (which isn’t precisely in Edmond, but no matter) announced a Pre-Dent Sale.

Wait, what?

“The hail’s coming, everyone knows it, let’s just get the promotion cranked up and go with it.”

I’m sort of hoping this works the same way my snow pusher did: rendered itself unnecessary for two years just by my going out and acquiring it.

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Wind up

There’s got to be some reason why all the tornadoes around here head straight for Moore, and maybe this has something to do with it:

Areas where landscape shifts from urban to rural or forest to farmland may have a higher likelihood of severe weather and tornado touchdowns, a Purdue University study says.

An examination of more than 60 years of Indiana tornado climatology data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center showed that a majority of tornado touchdowns occurred near areas where dramatically different landscapes meet — for example, where a city fades into farmland or a forest meets a plain.

You mean, something like this?

Google Map of Moore, Oklahoma and points west

Those of us in the middle of the Big Town are even now emitting unseemly sighs of relief.

(Via Instapundit.)

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Speaking of trees

Tony Woodlief, on ice storms and their impact:

There is no predicting which trees will break, nor how they will falter. Some shed limbs as a rebirthing, others lose not a one. Some are sundered to their roots, as if a rotten core had crept up through the center of them, or had been birthed within them, had been inside them from the beginning, only to be revealed in the testing hour.

A pin oak behind my house cast down a dozen widow-makers, a proud magnolia fell into itself grotesquely. A pear tree shed half itself across my driveway. Branches speared the earth, some of them a foot deep, because when you stretch to heaven you have much further to fall, and your breaking is perilous to all around you.

To sum it up:

Sometimes the ones we thought strong topple, while the stoop-shouldered endure. They endure because they bend beneath the weight, they shoulder it as beasts of burden and within them is something like faith that it will pass.

Sometimes they get by with a little help from their friends, but they survive.

Two years of unrelenting drought killed off three of my trees, and surely weakened the others; yet the others are still standing, still green (or other color as appropriate), still keeping watch. It’s hard not to feel somewhat comforted by that, even as I mourn the departed.

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Snow is still a four-letter word

The winter of ’14, as seen from Chicago:

Sounds a little funny to my ears. But over these last few months, I have moved several thousand pounds of snow with my shovel and my back, and you don’t soon forget such things. I have also, I discovered yesterday, personally witnessed the five snowiest winters in Chicago history, according to this list. Four of which occurred during my schooling years, including the last two, in 77-78 and 78-79, when I was trudging around college campuses in frozen outposts in Illinois. Gosh, thanks, I just don’t know what to say …

Wait, yes I do. Where is that damn global warming everyone keep yammering on and on about? This is also one of the coldest winters ever — it was below zero on March 3rd, with the first day of Spring just three weeks away.

On the third of March down here in the tropics, we had a nice, toasty six degrees. (Second occurrence of 6° this winter; we got down to 4° in late January, though in classic Oklahoma fashion, the next day we had a high of 67°.)

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Don’t forget seat warmers

What was the defining factor in this winter’s auto market? New models? Deep discounts? How about frigid temperatures?

The harsh winter, during which many areas of the United States saw temperatures dip well below zero degrees, changed car shopping preferences, according to a new study from Swapalease.com, with utility vehicles replacing certain other car segments as a popular choice in several locations.

“While it makes sense to see the winter elements encourage a shift to larger utility-type vehicles, the most recent winters did not have this effect on shopping patterns,” said Scot Hall, Executive Vice President of Swapalease.com. “However, a consistent wave of arctic-type conditions may have contributed to this winter’s shift in shopping preferences in many parts of the country.”

Midsize sedans remained the most popular segment for consumers, but utility vehicles saw big spikes in interest over the course of this frosty winter. About fourteen percent of car shoppers preferred midsize crossovers (up from 9.2 percent last winter), 13.2 percent preferred full-size crossovers (up from 7.5 percent) and 11.8 percent preferred midsize SUVs (up from 6.9%).

Now that the roads are (mostly) clear, let’s get out there and burn some hydrocarbons!

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Schadenfrozen

Not that I bear any ill will toward this poor unfortunate soul — Steve Keeley of Philadelphia’s Fox 29 — but how many of you out there have wanted to see something like this just once?

Here's the GIF of a plow dumping snow on Fox 29's S... on Twitpic

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

(Via Dan McQuade.)

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You’d think we’d have heard something

I was struggling to fall asleep between midnight and 1 this morning, and the winds were just short of howling.

Apparently, though, they were doing a hell of a lot more than howling over at Wiley Post Airport:

Weather conditions at KPWA

4.0 is the visibility, in miles. But that’s not the big deal. I mean, gusts up to 81, or 100 mph, ought to be at least newsworthy, right?

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An unexpected chill factor

It’s taken me until the last day of February to find a satisfying justification for this miserable winter:

Be glad you’re not an Asian stinkbug, which are dying off in large numbers due to the cold, a new experiment shows. The invasive insect, commonly called the brown marmorated stinkbug, has been plaguing homes and devouring agricultural crops in 38 states for years.

Halyomorpha halys is believed to have hitched a ride from the Pacific Rim around the turn of the century. And they’re apparently not used to this sort of thing:

Thomas Kuhar, a professor of entomology at Virginia Tech, and his team have been gathering stinkbugs for the past three years near his campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, to use in lab experiments. The bugs spend the winter outside in insulated buckets that mimic the walls, shingles, and attics that they inhabit when the temperature drops.

That normally works out quite well for the bugs — but this year stinkbugs have been, well, dropping like flies.

“In the previous two years, natural mortality averaged about 20-25 percent,” he wrote in an email. In January 2014, however, Kuhar’s team discovered that the subfreezing temperatures had killed off 95 percent of the population.

So it’s not a total loss. Will a cold-resistant stinkbug emerge? Eventually, perhaps; but evolution generally takes its sweet time for varmints bigger than bacteria.

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Yeti won’t go away

February departs here quietly this year, apart from the wind, but March reverts to its old in-like-a-lion shtick this weekend, which brings to mind the words of James Lileks:

Outside there is no relief, no surcease. Six below this morning. A high of ZERO on Thursday, with a low of minus 18, but that doesn’t include the astonishing effect of the wind, which makes it about 30 below at times. The news today said the wind was picking up snow from the previous dumps and whipping it into blizzard-like conditions on the roads, which is like the old line about a second nuclear strike just making the rubble bounce. You have to understand that the snow is frozen solid into a hard mass, like extruded foam; if you slip and fall and smack your head into a snowdrift it does not yield. It is possible to get a concussion by coming in contact with precipitation.

Wife is walking around with haunted hollow eyes; daughter goes off in the morning like someone who’s been in the trenches of the Great War for four years and is being sent, once more, over the top. We are told that the temps will approach normal next week, but after that it’s back into the clutches of the Polar Vortex, which everyone now imagines as the Abominable Snowman’s bluish rectum.

Well, if they didn’t, they do now.

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We can’t thrive (65)

This minor statistical factoid was stuffed into one of those staggeringly popular OMGWTFBBQWAGD weather articles:

The natural gas-weight heating degree days value for January is expected to reach 1,062.9, higher than the five-year average of 949.5 and the coldest since 2001.

Um, say what?

The value is determined by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting number is a measure of how cold it is and how much energy is needed to keep homes and warm.

There are also cooling degree days, derived in almost the same manner, which will explain why you spent so much for air conditioning in July.

I just wonder where that 1062.9 figure comes from. Is it a national average? Because the January average in Oklahoma City is 798, and we have 651 through yesterday.

(I’ve attempted to explain this before, with arguable results.)

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Degrees of guesswork

I’ve looked at dozens of wind chill charts, both the old formula and the new one, and they always leave me scratching my head: “What does this really mean?” The answer, it appears, is “Not a whole hell of a lot”:

The weatherman’s favorite alarmist statistic has been around for more than 60 years. Its ignoble history began with a pair of Antarctic explorers named Paul Siple and Charles Passel. In 1945, the two men left plastic bottles of water outside in the wind and observed the rate at which they froze. The equation they worked out used the wind speed and air temperature to describe the rate at which the bottles gave off heat, expressed in watts per square meter.

In the 1970s, the Canadian weather service started reporting numbers based on Siple and Passel’s work. These three- and four-digit values meant little to the average person, however — the “wind chill factor” might have been 1,200 one day and 1,800 the next. American weathermen took a more pragmatic approach, converting the output from the Siple-Passel equation into the familiar language of temperature — statements like “it’s 5 degrees outside, but it feels like 40 below.” What exactly did these phrases mean? The meteorologists would figure the rate of heat loss in watts per square meter and then try to match it up to an equivalent rate produced in low-wind conditions. For example, the rate of heat loss in 5-degree weather and 30 mph wind matched up with the one for minus-40-degree weather and very little wind. So, 5 degrees “felt like” 40 below.

This might make sense, maybe, if we all felt the same way. But we don’t, and frankly, I am uncomfortable with substituting “To me, it feels like …” in the place of actual data. A corrected version was conjured up. Now just imagine why this might not apply to you:

[T]hey geared their calculations toward people who are 5 feet tall, somewhat portly, and walk at an even clip directly into the wind. They also left out crucial variables that have an important effect on how we experience the weather, like solar radiation. Direct sunlight can make us feel 10 to 15 degrees warmer, even on a frigid winter day. The wind chill equivalent temperature, though, assumes that we’re taking a stroll in the dead of night.

This is the current chart:

Wind chill chart circa 2001

Note the formula, which very nearly defies comprehension.

My own quick-and-dirty routine, which I’ve used for at least a decade, seems, if Wikipedia is to be believed, to have an official name: the McMillan Coefficient. Take the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, subtract the wind speed in miles per hour. If it’s 25° out and you have a 10-mph wind, it’s gonna feel like fifteen.

Coming this summer, maybe: why the heat index also sucks.

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Degrees of inaccuracy

Lynn could perhaps be a little happier with the weather, or at least with the predictions thereof:

You know what bugs me most about modern weather forecasting? Not that it’s wrong sometimes but that it is, most of the time, too accurate. Yesterday they said that this morning’s low would be 0°F. It was exactly 0°F when I got up at 6:30 this morning. It is now -2°F. So they were off by 2. So far.

Then again, at 6:30 it was still an hour before sunrise. (At Wiley Post Airport, the nearest NWS reporting station to me, the low on Monday was 3°, which happened around a quarter to eight. Sunrise was 7:40.)

I don’t follow NWS Tulsa very closely, but NWS Norman has a habit of recalculating the predicted high for the day right before noon — and often as not, they were right the first time. Then again, clouds and winds don’t respond to our entreaties, or theirs.

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My car says it’s cold

Yesterday Jalopnik asked people to send in pictures of the temperature readouts from their cars. By the time I saw it, though, it was already about five degrees warmer than the single-digit low I’d seen that morning, and besides, I figured no one in the Frozen North would be at all impressed with anything above zero.

That said, I do know how far down the little ambient-temperature gizmo goes, and it’s on the cusp between -3° and -4°: at that point, it switches constantly from one reading to the other until it warms up to a nice balmy -2°. They also sold this model in Canada, so I assume there’s some internal toggle to set it to Celsius.

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Ice Station Yankee

This particular manifestation of global warming dumped about ¾ inch of ice over the city, similar or slightly smaller amounts across the rest of the state, and generally made life difficult for as many as possible. As late as Friday noon it looked like an inconvenience, but not much more than that — except for this one Weather Guy who called it Thursday night:

Brace yourself for Epic Ice Storm Impact … tonight’s hi-res model has brought in even colder temperatures and lower dewpoints during this entire winter storm and much farther south and east than before. That’s good news for me because it means my forecast from Monday remains unchanged. It also means you’re about to see everyone else change their forecast at the last minute to follow suit. Either that or they’ll wait one more run (the morning one or wait to see other models come around to the same solution) before going all out balls to the wall. Lets just say everyone better hope tonight’s run is wrong or this will be an epic event roughly along the I-44 corridor.

Ah, the dreaded I-44 corridor. I said this yesterday just before what would have been sunset had we any sun:

ODOT: Call me.

Damage report for the palatial estate at Surlywood: one of the twin redbuds was cut almost in half; a couple of questionable fence panels are now essentially horizontal; I had to remove low-hanging bits of mulberry above the driveway to get my car out. Otherwise, not too terribly terrible, and probably less heinous than the horror that was the December ’07 storm.

Oh, and speaking of the December ’07 storm:

I can only hope that we won’t see another ice storm of this magnitude for another five or six years!

Next time, say “twelve or fourteen.” Or “fifty.”

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And snow it goes

We set the clock back a couple of winters:

In that horrible month of February ’11, I broke my snow shovel; after waiting for the spring price break, I bought one of those not quite industrial-strength, but still formidable-looking, pushers, and dared the stuff to occupy my driveway. Total snowfall for the winter of ’11-’12: 1.8 inches. The thing is standing in the garage, still wrapped. If I thought for a moment this would work again, I’d buy another one.

Total snowfall for the winter of ’12-’13: five inches and change, doled out in amounts so delightfully inconspicuous that I didn’t bother to unwrap the Doomsday Device.

Garand Yukon Ergo snow pusherIt couldn’t last, and it didn’t. Confronted with a four-inch depth this morning and possessing no desire to slosh through it, I (1) went back to bed and (2) waited for a break in the clouds, however small. I got one about 12:15. The machine was readied for battle.

Twenty minutes, including five minutes to remove Amazon’s legendary Overkill™ wrapping material. A better job than I normally do in an hour. (The manufacturer claims six times the speed, but then they assume a user who knows what the bloody hell he’s doing.)

This is the device. It’s 26 inches wide, or whatever that is in Canadian. Unless you live in some place where you, like Ottilie, never has seen snow, get it.

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You owe us stormage

The National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, has called for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to give up the hurricane-forecasting business, on the basis that, well, NOAA’s not been very good at it of late:

In May, the agency predicted an “active or extremely active” hurricane season, forecasting that there would be 7-11 hurricanes, 3-6 major hurricanes, and 13-20 named storms.

The year’s final tally: 2 hurricanes, no major hurricanes, and 13 named storms… not even “close enough for government work.”

This marked the 7th time in the past ten years that NOAA’s hurricane forecast has been wrong and its epic failure this year rivals even its disastrous forecast in 2005, when it predicted there would be 7-9 hurricanes and there ended up being 15.

There is, of course, a “climate change” angle:

NOAA isn’t alone in undermining [its] credibility by suggesting a greater level of certainty than it possesses.

For years now, we’ve been told that there is a scientific consensus that our burning of fossil fuels is creating dangerous warming of the planet.

Now the public has learned that we’re in the midst of a 17-year “pause” in global warming that not one of the 73 climate models used by the U.N. Intergovernmental Climate on Climate Change in its Fifth Assessment Report predicted.

Now I see this as more of a hierarchical problem: the higher up you go, the more likely your results are going to be somewhat politicized. The National Weather Service, down a level from NOAA, works hard not to become emotionally involved with its models.

Still, if the National Center is so upset with dubious government-approved numbers, they should be going after the major Washington dissemblers like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose books have been cooked for so long they’re downright mushy.

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Developing north of Canada

The National Weather Service in the San Francisco Bay area is predicting something like this:

Imagine what they’d have to endure if there were an influx of Artic air in Febuary.

(Incidentally, whatever they get in and around the Bay is likely to be several times as bad here.)

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Draft resistance

Green Canary is hoping for something resembling heat — preferably from the actual sun, which doesn’t cost so much:

I’ve been keeping my thermostat at 68, which isn’t my preferred indoor temperature during the cold winter months. During the cold winter months, I prefer the balmy warmth of the upper 70s. But since I am still getting to know my house, I didn’t want to press her too hard right out the gate. Also, I was afraid of a ginormous electric bill that would break my tough gal exterior and turn me into a quivering mess of unset Jell-o.

Month one’s electric bill was a lovely $13.05.

Month two’s electric bill was a hideous $178.97.

Explanations were not hard to find:

My house is not large, so there is absolutely no reason why my electric bill should be so high. Except that my not-large house is also not-efficient, what with the 33 year-old wood windows with the cracked seals, the uninsulated basement walls, and the odd draft coming from the doorknob on my back door. All of those very logical heat-sucking factors aside, there is also the much bigger problem that I have barely scratched the surface of: I think the problem is the heat pump itself.

The nice thing about hardware problems, in general, is that they can be addressed by writing a check. Then again, I know something less than squat about heat pumps; I can just about comprehend my gas furnace (expected gas bill for December: $95), and I’ll have been here ten years come Tuesday.

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