Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Gustav looks really bad - UPDATE

August 30, 2008 4 comments

Update: it probably did a lot of damage but nothing like what they were worried about.  Expect to hear a lot of second-guessing about the evacuation orders.  Hopefully now the RNC can get on with the important business of making Sarah Palin come across as a better Veep choice than Joe Biden.

Original post: I don’t know how accurate these predictions are but three days out, they’re saying Gustav is headed straight for New Orleans.  Any chance it will just get to the middle of the Gulf, decide it likes the view and stay there and not hit land?

Mayor Nagin, whatever his shortcomings, can apparently read the writing on the wall.  He says everybody in New Orleans had better hit the road before Gustav shows up.  Even emergency personnel – if you’re dumb enough to stay, you are on your own.

Except, according to the BBC, fewer than 50 city employees will remain.  What could possibly be important enough to require somebody to hang around while the city gets hit by a Cat 5 hurricane?  And what could they possibly do, except not die, if they’re lucky?  Seriously, I want to know.


  • Might hit 2am Monday, a cat4

  • Cajun updates the preparations that his company (think energy infrastructure) are making.  This makes for very interesting reading when you consider the amount of industry in the Gulf.  And in his updates #2 he discusses the difficult logic of evacuation.  In Sunday Evening update #6 he says the storm has veered West and will hit a marshland area “containing mostly frogsh*t and seeweed”, but also a lot of oil infrastructure that was “built with hurricanes in mind”.  But power will probably be out for a week so “expect a bump a bump at the pump”.


Awesome lightning pictures

August 10, 2008 3 comments

Chicago had an unusually intense lightning storm a few nights ago, and Chicago Tribune readers sent in their pictures.  Beautiful, amazing stuff.


June 22, 2008 6 comments

Flooded Cedar Rapids

June 15, 2008 2 comments

Take a boat tour of Cedar Rapids. Interesting notes in the video: huge underground gas tanks pop out of the ground when submerged – I didn’t know that.  And car trunk locks short out when submerged, popping the trunk open.  Didn’t know that either.

Worse, the flooded area is a huge cultural loss.  There’s an African American museum, a Czech museum, a theatre, a Nature Center.  Apparently the water was something like 12 feet higher than the ‘93 floods.

And here’s a bunch of people in Iowa City demonstrating how much confidence they have in the Burlington Street Bridge.  There’s a dam directly under their feet, normally with 3 or 4 feet of water flowing over it – now 18 feet or so.  And here are some amazingly well-edited aerial photos of the Iowa City area. where I lived from about ‘62 to ‘69.  And incredible aerial footage from Des Moines.

Great choices of music on those videos but I would have preferred informative narration.  Just my two cents.


Out like a lion

March 31, 2008 3 comments


Notice the wind

I’m starting to think the two grand I spent last summer to take out three rickety old trees to the South of our house… was a good investment.

Presidential Quote Of The Day

February 6, 2008 7 comments

In case anyone is wondering, the rash of tornadoes that hit the South on Super Tuesday was NOT typical for this time of year.  Multistate tornado clusters aren’t very common in the first place but early February isn’t the peak season.  Seems like there’s been a lot of atypical weather lately.

And while there is nothing funny about people who lost their lives and property in a storm, for some reason our President’s reassurances jolted my funny bone:

“Prayers can help and so can the government.”

I guess Ronald Reagan is officially dead.

Seriously freaky weather outside right now

February 3, 2008 4 comments

It’s a regular MidWest thunderstorm outside, with lightning and thunder … except it’s snowing instead of raining. 2 to 4 inches predicted by morning. The whole county had just dug itself out from last Friday’s 8-inch snowstorm. Tomorrow it’s supposed to get up to 55 degrees with possible severe thunderstorms.  Early last week it was zero degrees and last weekend it was in the fifties with a tornado or two in the transition. And before that, below zero.  And before that, shirtsleeves weather. 

Could be some flash flooding tomorrow from 12 inches of wet snow melting all at once.

Sky’s a little more than just a hazy shade of winter

January 31, 2008 1 comment

The picture links to an album of pictures I took walking home this evening and a few from a couple weeks ago.  It’s warmed up to a balmy 25 degrees or so and snowing like crazy. 

Not a night fit for man or beast

January 29, 2008 2 comments

Last week, the temperature was in the single digits.  Over the weekend, it got warm and at lunchtime today, it was 55 degrees.  Between 3:30 and 7:00 today, it dropped 40 degrees with 50 mph winds.  Now it’s 7 degrees Fahrenheit with 30 mph winds gusting to 40.

Weather vs. climate

October 7, 2007 Comments off

We’ve had a whole bunch of days recently that reached the low 90’s f temperature. I know better than to confuse weather with climate but dammit, it’s freakin’ OCTOBER already!!!  Normally this time of year it should only be getting up into the mid-70’s f in the afternoons.

We’re bumping the record set back in 1939, but back then you couldn’t navigate a cruise ship through the arctic.  That’s climate, as the ice cap acts like a statistical aggregator.  One way to think of it is that climate is like a container in which weather bounces around.  Move the container upward or downward, weather moves within it.