Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

The (middle) finger of God

September 4, 2007 2 comments

I sure hope the next gulf hurricane isn’t the kind to follow the warm water. 

The picture links back to The Intersection, which links back to NOAA, which plots several variables in overlaying maps.  This is only the most visually ironic one, not a prediction of where hurricanes will go.  But if I lived there, I’d be saying; “Awwww… hey – c’mon!!!” 

Ominous warning

June 6, 2007 1 comment

Such a delightfully cool, pleasant morning, with a clear sky and light breeze.  Traffic is light, birds are chirping, a few early students making their way to class or breakfast. The campus is full of green growing things including the flowers just planted yesterday.

Chicago Tribune meterologist Tom Skilling predicts:

A summer storm system of unprecedented size and intensity threatens a period of potentially wild weather in the Plains Wednesday and the Midwest Thursday and Thursday night.

If barometric pressures at the heart of the abnormally potent late season storm sink to 28.90” (979 mb) of mercury in the Dakotas Thursday, as the global computer forecast models of nearly every major national forecast agency in the world predict, howling non-thunderstorm winds could gust above 45 m.p.h. here by Thursday afternoon, followed by the potential for a serious outbreak of severe, possibly tornadic t-storms over a wide area of the Nation’s Heartland.

A central pressure at that level would equal that of a Category One hurricane.

Right now it hardly seems as if anything like that could happen!  In today’s notes, Skilling adds:

Storm’s forecast central pressure of 977 mb (28.85”) is about the same strength as the Edmund Fitzgerald storm of Nov. 10-11, 1975.  Chicago’s record low barometric pressure for June is 990 mb (29.22”)established on June 6, 1880

I wonder if the Edmund Fitzgerald would have set sail against a prediction like this.  Or would they have ignored the warnings and sailed ahead anyway?  The correct answer depends on a risk assessment balancing the perceived accuracy of the prediction, the economic cost of delay, and the consequences of taking the risk.  And of course, getting your crew onboard if they knew the prediction, as each of them would be making their own assessments.

Update: morning 07jun07, Warm and pleasant though windy with wind advisory all day.  “Severe T-storms” predicted tonight.

Recipe for flooding

February 23, 2007 4 comments
  1. Hard freeze for about two weeks, followed by

  2. A couple good-sized snow storms, followed by
  3. A couple days of slight melting (but the ground will still be frozen hard and there’s still eight inches of soggy snow on the ground), followed by
  4. Predicted torrential rains tomorrow.

Add high winds and stir.  Yields flood warnings for most of Central Illinois for Saturday and Sunday.

Snow storm lessons

February 13, 2007 10 comments

Schools are closed today.  Even the university is closed. Snowploughs have been called in off the road as there is no use until the wind dies down – just wasting fuel.

Here are a few snowstorm lessons:

  • An unheated garage is a fine place to rebuild a snow-blower carburetor… if you do it in April.  February during a massive blizzard?  Not so good. (The alternative is to spend a week with shoveling-related back pain, or worse.)

  • If you run out of carburetor cleaner, brake cleaner will do, though it is not optimal.  Either one will suck the heat out of your hands in nothing flat.
  • When they talk about “gum” and “varnish” in old gas, that is not a metaphor.  Don’t trust “fuel preservatives” – just empty the damn thing in the spring.
  • That flat-top style on top of my car looks pretty cool, though.  I have always thought snow shapes were nifty.

Glad to see this - UPDATE

February 4, 2007 3 comments

Not only is it cold, it’s really windy, so the ground should freeze pretty hard.  Should help cut down on migration of Southern agricultural pests.  But I can remember when this kind of thing was every year instead of something you hope will happen.

UPDATE: even colder today 05 February

The foam padding on my bicycle seat turns to something resembling oak or hickory at this temperature, which my bony butt did little to reshape.  And it made MrsDoF’s morning quite interesting too. 

Noisy weather

December 1, 2006 6 comments

Not much sleeping going on after about 4:30 – my legs and back were hurting and the wind reached a new crescendo as wet, heavy snow filled the air and began to bond to the layer of ice weighing down the trees.  At 5:30 there was a sound like a jet engine and pieces of ice began to hit the house from a nearby tree.

“The hose is still connected to the faucet outside,” said MrsDoF.

“Good catch,” I said.

“I had a dream about it,” she said.  (This is something about the mind that fascinates me.  What is the boundary between the conscious and unconscious mind?)

Outside, visibility was poor but tree branches drooped under the weight of ice.  All around I could hear cracking wood.  Donning a pair of water-pump pliers I disconnected the hose and applied the styrofoam cap that would protect the faucet from freezing for the rest of the winter.

And now we’re thinking about breakfast at McDonald’s…


  • For your entertainment, a post about car door handles and ice written 11 months ago

  • …and here’s MrsDoF’s post and photo about the weather and the crowd at McDonald’s.
  • Wow, my first day at the new job and they close the whole university.  And the schools.  The world headquarters of the State Farm company is closed.  Country Companies’ is closed. And the busses aren’t running and practically everything’s cancelled. 
  • But McDonald’s was open, full of laughing, joking college students and a couple stalwart Illinois Power linemen were getting breakfast.  They looked like they’d been working for a long time already today, and the day loomed large.
  • Six to eight inches of snow due yet to sit on top of the ice.  It will drift deep in this howling wind.
  • Lot of sirens today.  People who work in emergency services (including the aforementioned guys from Illinois Power) don’t get the day off; they work a lot harder than usual, under terrible conditions.  And emergency rooms will be doing land-office business as people keel over from trying to shovel the drifting snow, to say nothing of accidents.
  • Friday evening update: the roof collapsed in the cafeteria of a nursing home in Peoria; the area had over a foot of snow following the ice.
  • There is a cold-front coming in tonight.

I ain’t mowin’ the lawn in no ‘hundred-degree heat…

August 1, 2006 6 comments

…and that’s just the way Oscar likes it!

Snow and lights

December 8, 2005 2 comments

We got hit with about 5 inches of snow, blowing with high winds today.  Naturally it happens just as we are preparing to move one of our offices into another building.
On the bright side, our neighbors have set up lovely Christmas lights to reflect off the new-fallen snow.  Though I seldom (and I mean, almost never) have energy for decoration, I do appreciate those who do.  :-)

Categories: Geeky, Weather

Not cat weather

October 23, 2005 1 comment

Oscar examines the weather from the relative safety of our back porch, and finds it not to his liking. 

(Just above freezing, rainy, windy…)

Categories: Geeky, Weather

Updates on Katrina

August 28, 2005 Comments off

UPDATE:  10:00 pm Tuesday, MSN No quick fix for levies – click on the ‘images’ link after you read the article, which explains that they’re simply trying to evacuate everyone from the city.  One image warns, “Graphic content” – an odd meaning of the term as that is what ‘picture’ means.  There’s a picture of several hundred flooded new pickups at a dealership.  Another picture shows an arial view of rescue from filthy oil-slicked water.  I can only imagine how nasty that water is and a picture of a woman wading through chest-deep water with a case of Diet Pepsi is an image of desperation.  Everyone needs something safe to drink; it’s hot, and while the Pepsi will be OK inside the aluminum can, how to clean it off before putting it to your lips? 

Thing to remember is, this would be a HUGE disaster even if New Orleans had gotten through without a scratch.

UPDATE: 10:00 am Tuesday, Bayou Buzz Mayor: major breach flooding and destroying New Orleans.  Every bit as bad as it sounds.

UPDATE: 12:45 CST Monday; Bloomberg Katrina spares New Orleans.  Looks like the Big Easy will live to party again.  Some waterproof coating stripped off the Superdome, lots of damage, but the worst-case cat5 weakened a bit and veered slightly off course at the last moment.  A miracle from God, no doubt.  But since it would have been punishment from God if the city had been flattened, let’s just say the big guy let them off with a warning.  Hopefully Pat Robertson will clarify what it all means in the next day or two.

Sun. Evening
At the gym I saw an hour of FOX news reports in which one expert after another predicted New Orleans is about to be erased from the face of the Earth. 

(Cut camera, then, to a FOX news correspondent standing on the roof of a 3-story building, built in the 1880’s in the French quarter.)

“It’s really too late to leave now, and if predictions are true, the French Quarter will simply be gone in the morning as a wall of water pushes through this area.  There are people downstairs drinking still; the bar is open.  But after 40 years of false alarms I guess many of us didn’t heed the warnings until it was too late.”

(FOX anchor in New York, absorbed in the task of reporting the story)  “Well thank you for that report, [reporter name].  I hope that it doesn’t turn out to be the tragedy that many experts are predicting it will.”

(Correspondent on roof) “You think YOU hope!!!”

Update, Monday 9:30 am – Looks like the storm has veered slightly and dropped in force to a “mere” category 4, sparing New Orleans the worst.  So the Fox news correspondent will have a future chance to say; “heck with this!  I’m gettin’ out of here!”
track the storm at Steve Gregory Weather underground Blog

Categories: Geeky, Weather