Archive for Weather or Not

How the hell does this keep happening?

There’s been one explanation already, but there’s always the chance that somebody missed it the first time around:

WJZY News presents: Rain Causes Wet Streets

Fox 46 is WJZY, Charlotte, North Carolina.

(From reddit via Miss Cellania.)

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Nontropical depression

Hurricane, schmurricane. Hold my umbrella:

Comparative rainfall at Wilmington, NC and Fittstown, OK

Fittstown, in Pontotoc County, has about 100 people and one rain gauge.


Obviously new here

Guy in north Texas seems baffled for some reason:

There is, of course, an explanation:

Rick Mitchell used to work in this town, at KOCO-TV; he was laconic while Gary England was avuncular and Mike Morgan was We’re all gonna die!

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Aw, shuddup and do yer job

Friday a friend of mine received a notification from his Smart Thermostat:

Alert! Loss of Cooling

Your cooling equipment is not adequately cooling your home, and the temperature inside your house is at least 5 degrees higher than your thermostat temperature setting. This problem can be caused by the following:

  • A door or window may be open
  • Power to your cooling equipment may be lost
  • Your cooling equipment may not be working properly

Evidently beyond the gizmo’s ken was the actual cause of the situation: it was 109 degrees Fahrenheit outside, tying a record for the date, and only four degrees short of the all-time — well, since 1891 anyway — record for this town.

In my own house, with classic/antiquated (choose one) equipment, the gap was 9 degrees.

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Excessive Rhetoric warning

When the National Weather Service starts using scare quotes, it’s time to be alarmed:

NWS Norman Forecast Discussion 19 July 2018

Translation: Hotter than two rats copulating in a wool sock.

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Caramelized by now

At the very least:

Damn that heat index, anyway.

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Hot town, summer in the city

The last time it hit 113°F in this town — it’s happened twice since they started compiling records — we could see it coming; the low that morning was a stifling 84°F.

“Hold my kahwa,” says Oman:

The day of June 26 was a scorcher in the town of Quriyat, Oman. Temperatures in the town, which is weathering a miserable heat wave, peaked at 121.6 degrees Fahrenheit (49.8 degrees Celsius) during the day, according to Weather Underground. That’s just shy of the Omani record-high temperature of 123.4 degrees F (50.8 degrees C), set on May 30, 2017. But anyone in Quriyat hoping for an evening respite from the extreme heat would have been disappointed: Temperatures fell to a low of just 108.7 degrees F (42.6 degrees C). That’s a world record: the highest “low” temperature ever recorded in history.

“But at night, it’s a different world,” hah! And relief may be slow in arriving:

Summer begins in mid-April and lasts until October.

Fifty-four thousand people live in Quriyat. Presumably they can stand it.

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Oy, it’s so humid

Fillyjonk is so done with this humidity:

My dehumidifier runs almost constantly and I’m emptying it generally three times a day. This equates to about 12 gallons of water sucked out of the air. I know some years ago I read a news story about “wow there’s this new innovation that can get water for the desert out of THIN AIR” and I was like “you sillies, that’s called a dehumidifier” though maybe in a desert it has to work harder to suck water out of the air than it does in swampy Southern Oklahoma.

But still, yeah, like every eight-year-old has said to their parent, when said parent tried to shame them into eating some gross vegetable with the old “Children back in China are starving!” line “Well, then, let’s get an envelope and mail it to them!”

There’s always at least one gross vegetable, right?

(Title via 2 Live Jews.)

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You think I like telling you this?

The weatherman is tired of your complaining:

I’m surprised this happens as little as it does.

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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Not necessarily Channel 6

Although the reporter is, in fact, six:

(Recorded yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. Via reddit.)

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Unaccented robot

The National Weather Service in Norman supports several VHF radio signals, generally between 162.40 and 162.55 MHz, which provide fast forecasts and such for the service area (central and western Oklahoma, minus the Panhandle, plus several northern Texas counties in the general vicinity of Wichita Falls). In recent years a robotic voice has recited the text products; the first one I remember sounded vaguely, sometimes not so vaguely, like Arnold Schwarzenegger. They phased out Arnold in favor of a more modern voice box with more of a North American Television Newscaster timbre, and it’s easier to endure, but it has its quirks.

The first is the unavoidable word “winds,” which is usually, but not always, rendered the way you or I would say “winds” with regard to the meteorological phenomenon. But once in a while it comes out as “winds,” as in “Grandpa takes a few moments every afternoon and winds his pocket watch.” Sometimes you get both in the same forecast. And is it “WRECK-ord” or “re-CORD”?

With the return of storm season I’ve picked up another word with which it seems unfamiliar: “supercells.” You or I would divide it in the middle as though it were two words: “super,” then “cells.” The robot invariably renders it with the second syllable accented: “soo-PURR-sells.” It may be a while before I get used to that.

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Somewhere around forty below

McG’s lived in some places one might fairly describe as Pretty Damned Cold:

Now, in Fairbanks we frequently saw 30 below, 40 below, one morning during our time up there it got down to 58 below. At certain low temperatures the difference between any one degree value and another becomes a matter of thermometric curiosity more than anything else. The Settled Science™ boffins assure us cold snaps like these are just a passing fad and by the time Wyoming becomes a coastal state the entire planet will be uninhabitable anyway. In fact I seem to recall being assured at one point that snowfalls are already a thing of the past.

We used to have a client in Fairbanks, a small nonprofit which would suspend its bimonthly meetings if the temperature was below -45°F.

And you’ll notice that none of the dullards predicting beach houses in Laramie have moved so much as twenty miles farther inland.

I suppose the biggest difference between a Wyoming winter and a Fairbanks winter is latitude; Fairbanks, just a couple of degrees south of the Arctic Circle, has sunrise and sunset all year round, but in December those events can practically both be observed during the same coffee break.

Kind of makes you wonder why there’s such a thing as Alaska Daylight Time.

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Progress by inches

Fortunately for me, we have had a total of 0.1 inch of snow this winter. (I’m not really in shape to deal with more than that, and I don’t happen to have a four-year-old girl handy.)

About three seconds into the song, I muttered: “That ain’t 2Pac.” And it ain’t.

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It’s different in Dixie

Nobody’s getting French toast:

WBTV has been broadcasting from Charlotte, North Carolina since 1949.

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A tornado with no rotation?

Occasionally the Weather Guys say something about “damaging straight-line winds.”

Looks like Enid is getting some serious damage:

KFOR-TV weather map 15 January 2018

And I’m not about to sit down and calculate the wind-chill factor.

(With thanks to Jeff Thompson.)

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Twice in a millennium

A 500-year rain, by definition, has a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year; it does not mean that occurrences are 500 years apart. How much water would that take? From the Sunday Oklahoman:

For Oklahoma City, the following rainfall amounts would be considered 500-year rainfall events, according to Gary McManus, state climatologist, who referenced a report prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey:

  • 2.6 inches of rain in 15 minutes.
  • 3.7 inches of rain in 30 minutes.
  • 5.2 inches of rain in one hour.
  • 6.8 inches of rain in two hours.
  • 7.6 inches of rain in three hours.
  • 8.4 inches of rain in six hours.
  • 9.6 inches of rain in 12 hours.
  • 12.5 inches of rain in 24 hours.
  • 14.8 inches of rain in three days.
  • 15.5 inches of rain in seven days.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the first three of these, and maybe more, during the 40+ years I’ve lived here. Example:

11.26 inches recorded on 6-14-2010 at a station 6.1 miles north of downtown Oklahoma City.

That’s almost certainly the OKC North Mesonet station. The “official” total for that day was 7.62 inches at Will Rogers World Airport, where the National Weather Service takes readings.

Yours truly reported at 8:53 am that day:

I think we can kiss that record goodbye. One of the Mesonet stations in town has already made it up to 8, the others aren’t far behind, and it’s still raining. The office ranges from 0.5 to 4.5 inches of water inside. Jesus Christ could walk through the parking lot, but He’s just about the only one.

On the upside, this served as a test for my new $10,000 roof, installed a few days before.

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There’s a road under there somewhere

Not that I’m willing to challenge the methodology or anything:

A new report issued by SafeWise identified Wyoming as the most dangerous state for driving in snow.

The online resource that provides information on safety for communities compiled stats from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2016 crash data to make a calculation that put Wyoming far out in front of any other state for winter driving hazards. Safewise calculated the likelihood of crashing during snow per 100,000 people in each state with Wyoming receiving a 1.5 chance compared to the nearest state: Vermont (0.8).

Best and worst states for winter driving by Safewise

McG points out that much of the problem comes from a single stretch of Interstate 80:

[U]sually it’s a particular stretch of I-80, running roughly between Rawlins and Laramie. The Snow Chi Minh Trail.

I’ve driven that stretch twice — both times in the summer — and though it’s scenic as all get out, it can also be nerve-wracking when unprepared car drivers are sharing just two lanes each way with the constant stream of big rigs.

Now add several inches of snow to the mix. From John Waggener’s book on the “Trail”:

The newly constructed stretch of I-80 was dedicated Oct. 3, 1970, but residents had warned highway officials of the adverse weather conditions around the Elk Mountain area and advised them not to build a road in that location. Wyomingites who knew their history reminded highway officials that the Union Pacific Railroad looked at that same area 100 years earlier when planning and constructing the nation’s first transcontinental railroad and decided against the shorter, more direct route.

But, just four days after the highway was dedicated, a winter storm wreaked havoc on motorists traveling on the new highway, which Wyomingites referred to as a “monument to human error,” Waggener says.

If the first week of October seems an unlikely time for a snowstorm, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To quote a resident: “There’s only two seasons — winter and July.”

As for that green patch in the Southeast: call me when you have a map for freezing-rain crashes.

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Even Jenny is cold these days

Specifically, these seven:

KWQC-TV, licensed to Davenport, Iowa, serves the Quad Cities area, where it’s just about that cold right about now.

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It being too warm in Alaska

Mount Washington, New Hampshire ain’t no kind of place to raise your kids, either:

By the end of this week, parts of the Northeast will be colder than Mars.

At Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, the temperature will plunge to minus 35 degrees Friday night into Saturday, weather observer Taylor Regan said. At last check several days ago, the high temperature on Mars was minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

Neo-neocon demurs:

No fair comparing the low on the mountain to the high on Mars! But Mt. Washington is famous for having the most extreme weather on earth. Yes, you heard that right — on earth:

“Hurricane force winds occur an average of 110 days per year. Mount Washington holds the Northern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere records for directly measured surface wind speed — 231 mph, which was recorded on April 12, 1934.

“On January 16, 2004, the summit weather observation registered a temperature of −43.6 °F and sustained winds of 87.5 mph, resulting in a wind chill value of −102.59 °F on the mountain. During a 71-hour stretch from around 3 p.m. on January 13 to around 2 p.m. on January 16, 2004, the wind chill on the summit never went above −50 °F.”

Too many significant digits, say I: you can’t take two numbers accurate to three digits — assuming they actually are accurate to three digits — and get a result accurate to five digits.

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Why we rule

It’s simple: we survive crappy weather like this. Hell, some of us flourish in it:

Weather extremes remind me why humans are the predominant creature on this planet. We are remarkably adaptable. We can survive in a wide range of temperatures from bone chilling cold to numbingly hot. We thrive in deserts and swamps. We live in mountains and prairies. Not the fastest of animals, we can run for hours on end. A man can run a horse into the ground. Man is cunning and despite our veneer of civilization, surprisingly vicious. Man can eat nearly anything, including our fellow man, in a pinch. Whether you credit an infinite Supreme Being, Mother Nature, or random genetic mutation, Homo Sapiens is adaptable. I could fly from freezing weather to overheated tropics today with no ill effects at all. There is a reason we are at the top of the food chain, the true King of Beasts. I am willing to prove it if anyone wants to send me to the tropics. I can name some Caribbean Islands that would suffice as proper testing grounds.

And there’s just one more thing:

Further evidence of our exalted status as top predator: it is cold outside. I could go out and survive, but I don’t have to. And I won’t.

I’ll just point out that nobody ever mentions these facts on a sunny spring day.

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Just in case you thought it was cold

We got nothing on Traverse City, Michigan:

Rite Aid store in the -195º cold

(From and meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.)

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So basically, another year like any other

“The most perverse weather this side of Baffin Bay,” I once said, and the year now wrapping up gives me no reason to change my mind:

Approximately one of those might have been bearable.

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Not a glacial pace

It got up to 82°F yesterday at Will Rogers World Airport, the warmest it’s ever been in this town on the 17th of November, for certain values of “ever.” There were lawns mowed yesterday, fercryingoutloud. Then again, those of us who have been here for several decades tend to respond to the announcement of a new weather record with yawns: scarcely a month goes by without at least one new record of some sort.

NWS Norman, having heard a lot of those yawns, contributed this observation:

Speaking of the 15th of November, that day in 1976 featured the end of one of the feeblest multi-day snowfall events, um, ever: 0.1 inch on the 13th, 0.2 inch on the 14th, and a trace on the 15th.

And then there was the Weirdest Day Ever, 11 November 1911: high 83, low 17, both still records for the date.

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The sleet that’s elite

As reported this past weekend by a Kansas City television station:

Wintry mix in Kansas City

And let’s face it, the time to have a “wintery mix” is when it’s warm enough to stay melted. That wind, though, sounds scary.

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Peak wind

Seems like every time we turn around, someone’s discovered more oil and/or gas; at this rate, we’ll never run out of the stuff.

Wind power? Not so much:

Few people have probably noticed, but the world’s winds are getting slower. It is something that cannot be picked up by watching the billowing of dust or listening to the rustle of leaves on nearby trees.

Instead, it is a phenomenon occurring on a different scale, as the average global wind speed close to the surface of the land decreases. And while it is not affecting the whole earth evenly, the average terrestrial wind speed has decreased by 0.5 kilometres per hour (0.3 miles per hour) every decade, according to data starting in the 1960s.

Known as “stilling,” it has only been discovered in the last decade. And while it may sound deceptively calm, it could be a vital, missing piece of the climate change puzzle and a serious threat to our societies.

If it makes you feel any better, we had a 71-mph wind gust just down the road last night.

What seems to upset these Eurocrats is the fact that the earth, super-complex chaotic system that it is, simply will not do their bidding. On the upside, this phenomenon will enable them to spend more money, which is their major goal.

(Via Tim Blair.)

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Time to flip a table

To borrow a phrase, winter is coming:

Sunrise occurs later and later. There is nothing new in that statement, if made anytime past late June, but it is an indication that the long cold winter is not so far away. We still have warm days ahead. We will be back into the eighties in just a few days. The nighttime lows tell a different story. Winter is indeed just around the corner. We are but a few weeks from Halloween and in quick succession we will have Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then we have the interminable months of January and February. I can look forward to complaining about my neighbors still burning their Christmas lights until April. There is that. The relentless calendar flips its pages.

Eighty-two here Sunday, 85 Monday, 85 yesterday. This is not so far off climatological norms — typical first-week-of-October highs are in the upper 70s — but the speed at which things change picks up considerably from here on out.

Sunrise, which gets here as early as 6:15 in June, now can’t be bothered to show up before 7:30, and will drag nearly to 8:00 before DST is at last swept away, only to blow in again in March.

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The flowers are here

The last place my older sister (she’d have been 62 this fall) lived was out in the West Texas town of El Paso, which gets maybe ten inches of rain a year. “You ought to be here the day we get it,” says the local joke.

But it’s a veritable rain forest next to this place:

What are we seeing here?

“In a normal year, this whole place, the entire environment, including hills, slopes, and plains is gray. There is no greenery, no flowers. Absolutely nothing,” says the researcher with the University of La Serena. “But as soon as a little bit of rain falls, this marvel appears,” she says, pointing out everything around her.

It is the flowering desert, a natural spectacle that occurs every five or 10 years due to the unpredictable phenomenon of El Niño, which warms the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The evaporation of these warm currents on the coasts of Chile causes abundant rain in the Atacama Desert, which triggers the germination and flowering of more than 200 native plant species that have been hidden for years under gray soil, waiting for a few drops of water.

The last time they had such a display as this, I am told, was 1997.

(Via Fausta’s blog.)

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Sick of hurricanes

Linguist Geoffrey K. Pullum raises the question of whether the way we name storms might be counterproductive:

I think it’s becoming clear that alternating male and female personal names to individuate Atlantic tropical cyclones is not a good idea. These storms are becoming far too nasty. Calling a storm “Harvey” makes it sound like your friendly uncle who always comes over on the Fourth of July and flirts with your mom. And “Irma” sounds like a dancer that he once knew when he was in Berlin.

Insufficiently intimidating, apparently. Here’s the fix:

Accordingly, next year the National Hurricane Center is planning to name tropical cyclonic storms and hurricanes after unpleasant diseases and medical conditions. Think about it. The state governor tells you a hurricane named Dracunculiasis is coming down on you, you’re gonna start packing the station wagon.

If you came back after Anthrax, Blastocystosis or Chlamydia, that is.

Anyway, that takes care of 2018. What comes next?

For 2019, the plan is to use names of parasitic worms and flesh-burrowing insects. After that, probably venomous snakes.

Politicians for 2021, I suggest.

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Smug idiots

They’re everywhere:

I have seen a couple of instances on social media of people pointing out, “See, all this is happening right after the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement!”

Sure, but even if you believe the Agreement is funding some sort of Captain Planet-type corps of superheroes pushing back against the cruel thermometer of Wicked Industrial Mankind (it isn’t), there’s one tiny problem: “The Paris Agreement (French: Accord de Paris), Paris climate accord or Paris climate agreement, is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.”

Catch that last? Twenty-twenty. So far, Paris hasn’t produced anything but fancy talk and high-falutin’ plans.

In fact, though President Trump most certainly has announced the U. S. would withdraw from the Agreement, it works out that the very earliest date by which this country could be out would be 4 November 2020, which just happens to be the day after the next Presidential elections, making this one of those safest of Presidential promises, slated to occur after the promiser’s term of office has ended.*

“But … but … CLIMATE CHANGE! Look at all these hurricanes!”

Um, no:

Looking back, the short-term “noise” of weather is huge compared to the long-term trendlines of climate: there’s a lot of jitter. On the scale of geologic time, the climate shows lovely rising and falling curves, Ice Age to Warm Period and back again, a bit sawtooth-y; zoom in to the span of a single human lifetime and the big curve vanishes under warm spells and cold snaps, floods and droughts. At no time has the planet been entirely Edenic: it’s a tough place for individual naked apes and it’s not all that great for the other critters, either: mortality is 100%.

I am persuaded that the single factor leading most people down the rabbit hole of “climate change” these days is the presence of a Ford F-250 truck with a Trump sticker on 35-inch wheels, two doors down.

The person who’s going to take this worst, you may be sure, is the guy who insists “See! It’s already proven!” Were that so, there’d be no reason to spend another 50 cents on research. So they’ll wait for the UN to fluff up some new way to pry dollars or euros out of working economies and then lavish them on Third World hellholes. It never takes long.

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Just two days?

From the Facebook page of the American Association for Nude Recreation, located in Kissimmee, Florida:

AANR Bulletin will be delayed two days because of Hurricane Irma

Two things that come to mind:

  • In more than a decade, I have never received The Bulletin earlier than the 27th of the month;
  • That’s not how you spell “inconvenience”. It’s not how I spell it, anyway.

No, I don’t think it’s being looked at before it hits my mailbox: it’s sealed in an extremely plain envelope, identified only as “The Bulletin” from their Kissimmee address.

And the home office is closed today and Monday, so I figure those must be the two days.

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