When the National Weather Service starts using scare quotes, it’s time to be alarmed:
Translation: Hotter than two rats copulating in a wool sock.
When the National Weather Service starts using scare quotes, it’s time to be alarmed:
Translation: Hotter than two rats copulating in a wool sock.
At the very least:
Thoughts and prayers Sugar Land pic.twitter.com/zUjPb9XK7X
— Mr. Falcon (@DavidInAlief) June 30, 2018
Damn that heat index, anyway.
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.
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.
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.)
The weatherman is tired of your complaining:
I’m surprised this happens as little as it does.
(Via Miss Cellania.)
Although the reporter is, in fact, six:
(Recorded yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. Via reddit.)
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.
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.
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.
Nobody’s getting French toast:
With snow in the forecast, I was a little surprised to see so much bread & milk on the shelf when I went to my neighborhood grocery store this afternoon, LOL. We're generally forecasting 1-2 inches west of I-77 & 2-4 inches from I-77 on east early Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/kqxUldiJhh
— Al Conklin WBTV (@AlConklin) January 17, 2018
WBTV has been broadcasting from Charlotte, North Carolina since 1949.
Occasionally the Weather Guys say something about “damaging straight-line winds.”
Looks like Enid is getting some serious damage:
And I’m not about to sit down and calculate the wind-chill factor.
(With thanks to Jeff Thompson.)
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.
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.
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).
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.
Specifically, these seven:
It’s so cold!!! But at least the weather has Jenny’s number. pic.twitter.com/CRQlRytWWr
— John Haydon (@johnhaydon) January 4, 2018
KWQC-TV, licensed to Davenport, Iowa, serves the Quad Cities area, where it’s just about that cold right about now.
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.
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.
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.
We got nothing on Traverse City, Michigan:
(From MLive.com and meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.)
“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:
Mesonet Ticker: Another normal extreme year https://t.co/DZSghf7vWu
Here's a late Christmas gift…the Oklahoma Weather Extremes of 2017, as told by the Oklahoma Mesonet!
— Oklahoma Mesonet (@okmesonet) December 29, 2017
Approximately one of those might have been bearable.
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:
A bit of Oklahoma City weather trivia. The oldest record event still standing is a 2.43 inch rainfall on November 15, 1890. Record keeping began November 1, 1890.
— NWS Norman (@NWSNorman) November 18, 2017
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.
As reported this past weekend by a Kansas City television station:
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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.
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!”
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.
From the Facebook page of the American Association for Nude Recreation, located in Kissimmee, Florida:
Two things that come to mind:
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.
Sometimes I shake my head, and something ridiculous comes out.
There are, I am told, four nudist clubs within 50 miles of Houston, two of which are permanently established, the others being “non-landed” clubs which meet at a member’s house. I’d like to think that visitors fled once they got wind of the arrival of Harvey. But what if they waited too long?
And why would I ask such a thing? An unbidden memory of, believe it or not, an ocean liner. The SS Andrea Doria, the pride of the Italian line, was struck by MS Stockholm of the Swedish-American line on a summer day in 1956. There were only 46 fatalities; 1660 passengers and crew were rescued.
When I was a kid, I remember reading about this wreck in one of the ubiquitous Reader’s Digest Condensed Books volumes around the house. And there was a throwaway line about how “Some of the passengers sprang from their beds without clothing and departed the ship that way,” followed by a detailed description of one woman who made sure she was fully dressed and her makeup correctly applied before heading for the lifeboat. At the time, I was too young to think much of this passage. Many years later, something prodded the memory, and I asked myself if I could run for my life in my birthday suit. I decided I could not, and shoved the thought back into its slot.
Now, of course, we are presented with a massive rescue operation, and I am barely able to walk, let alone run. Fortunately for me, I’m nowhere near Houston; I surely would have perished by now. Would I have bothered to get dressed? I don’t know, and I don’t think I want to find out.
Several Facebook friends with Houston connections posted this. I’m not sure of the original source.
Things non-Houstonians need to understand:
1. The streets and many of the public parks here are designed to flood. We sit just 35 feet above sea level, and most of the city is as flat as a pool table. We average about 50 inches of rain a year. The streets and parks serve as temporary retention ponds, accommodating slow, steady drainage through our bayous.
2. We average about 50 inches of rain a year, but in the last 48 hours, many areas of greater Houston received 25 to 30 inches of rain. That’s six to nine months’ worth of rain, in two days. The drainage system, which works well in normal conditions, was overwhelmed. Officials are calling this an “800 year flood”: that means there was a one in 800 chance of its occurrence. Even with advance notice, there was little means of preparing for this.
3. It is impossible to evacuate a city the size of Houston. Harris County is 1700+ square miles, with a population of 6.5 million people. How do you evacuate 6.5 million people? During the hours leading to Hurricane Rita’s landfall, tens of thousands of Houstonians attempted evacuation. The traffic jams lasted for days. One hundred people died. So far, six Houstonians have died in Hurricane Harvey, all of them (as far as I have heard) drowned in their automobiles. For more than a decade, the local mantra has been “shelter in place and hunker down.” That’s hard, but it’s the right approach.
4. Some outsiders are treating this disaster with schadenfreude: Texans helped elect an anti-big government president, and now we’re going to need big government help. Houston is one of the bluest spots in Texas, and voted Clinton in 2016. Suggesting this is karmic payback for backing Trump is as inaccurate (and offensive) as Pat Robertson’s suggestion that Hurricane Katrina was God smiting sinners. We really aren’t thinking Red or Blue right now. We are taking a royal beating, all of us. Disasters don’t care about ideology.
5. You are going to feel this. Gasoline and other oil-refined products (everything from PVC pipe to dry cleaning fluid) will rise in price. The stock market will take a hit. New Orleans is a fantastic city, but it’s not a major economic force. Houston is the center of the nation’s energy industry. It’s home to dozens of Fortune 500 companies. And 85% of it is under water. It may be this way for weeks.
And in the meantime, there’s baseball, somewhere:
I had a ticket for Wednesday's Astros game. Instead of swapping series, the Rangers forced a move to Tampa Bay. Fuck you, Rangers.
— ls/cm (@isfullofcrap) August 28, 2017
I checked this with a sports guy at Fox 26 Houston:
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 28, 2017
There is an old joke: How can you tell if a person is from Oklahoma?
Answer: He is the one who stands outside in the thunderstorm looking at the sky.
This CBS story asks why Tulsa’s warning sirens didn’t go off when a small tornado hit.
The officials said it was because by the time they got the radar warning, the tornado had moved on to Broken Arrow.
That sounds about right. Our sirens used to go off after the tornado had passed too, but in rural areas, you couldn’t always rely on weather radios or the local media … we got our news from radio stations 30 miles to the east, 40 miles to the west, or 50 miles to the south. The best way to track what was going on was to check the local TV station for the map where the “warnings” were … a big problem if they hit at night.
Fortunately, she doesn’t have to worry about that anymore:
So I’m so glad I now live in the Philippines, where we only have to worry about typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and dengue fever.
We’re not exactly slouches at this earthquake business nowadays.
The National Weather Service runs a network of FM radio stations, about a thousand of them, in the general vicinity of 162.475 MHz. Most of them are totally automated, with a computerized voice “reading” the scripts. Some of them sound better than others. One we had here for a while has intonation not unlike Arnold Schwarzegger’s, and “Arnold” is occasionally still pressed into service when the “regular” voice, which wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on NPR, isn’t working correctly. There is one ongoing problem with the “regular” voice, though: it can’t distinguish between “winds,” what the guy does with his wrist watch now and then, and “winds,” which will blow over your rubbish bin at 60 miles per hour. The former word, of course, is unlikely to be part of a weather forecast, but it will show up more often than you’d think.
Which is not to say that automated voices not run by the government are any better. This standard-issue heartwarming story turned up on YouTube with a fake female voice:
The text appears to be identical to what’s here, though the fake female is evidently baffled by the call letters of that Houston television station: she renders “KHOU” as “coo.” And her keeper isn’t the most articulate, either:
I make story videos, everytime and everywhere. Subscribe this channel for new stories :)
Fourteen thousand subscribers in less than a year. Evidently some people are a lot less bothered by this than I am.