Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rare Wintry Mix

About once a winter we see something in the way of frozen precipitation. This winter (2014-2015) we hadn't seen anything yet, and with the daffodils blooming it seemed as though our chances were slim.

Yesterday the high was 82 and today we have barely nudged above freezing (it's currently 29 in the middle of the day). A more than 50 degree difference in the space of much less than 24 hours is quite extreme!

This morning the drizzle finally changed to a wintry mix and it's been going on for about 3 hours now. The children were quite excited.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Arizona: Just Too Hot

I've always thought Arizona was just plain old HOT. Too hot. Like too hot to be legal. But this confirms it:

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lunar Halo

There’s an old weather saying: ring around the moon means rain soon. There’s truth to this saying, because high cirrus clouds often come before a storm. Notice in these photos that the sky looks fairly clear. After all, you can see the sun or moon. And yet halos are a sign of high thin cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above our heads.

These clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals. The halos you see are caused by both refraction, or splitting of light, and also by reflection, or glints of light from these ice crystals. The crystals have to be oriented and positioned just so with respect to your eye, in order for the halo to appear.

Because moonlight isn’t very bright, lunar halos are mostly colorless, but you might notice more red on the inside and more blue on the outside of the halo. These colors are more noticeable in halos around the sun. If you do see a halo around the moon or sun, notice that the inner edge is sharp, while the outer edge is more diffuse. Also, notice that the sky surrounding the halo is darker than the rest of the sky.
(Also info on 22 degree halos here.)

Interestingly enough, there is rain forecast for Wednesday, two days from now. :) 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Morning Cirrus

Such a lovely display against the dark blue sky.

I love how these bits of cirrus were all lined up...

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

79 years ago...

September 2, 1935. The strongest hurricane to make landfall in recorded US history comes ashore in the upper Florida keys. Known as the "Labor Day Hurricane", it killed over 400 people, many of them veterans working in the WPA camps.

The following photos are from the Florida archives:

Soldiers assisting with the disposition of bodies of victims of the 1935 hurricane - Snake Creek, Florida 

After the big storm, active Army units were assigned to search the shoreline, tidal creeks, and other likely areas where bodies might have been blown or washed up in the final stages of the hurricane. World War I veterans in a rehabilitation camp, a remnant of the Bonus Army that marched on Washington, were employed for highway construction in the federal work relief project when they perished. The crude boxes are makeshift caskets, containing bodies for cremation. Servicemen on the right stand ready for a final salute to veterans who died in the hurricane. Religious services were performed by Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergy. The bodies of over 250 veterans were cremated on the banks of Snake Creek, between Islamorada and Tavernier.

 Soldiers assisting with the disposition of bodies of victims of the 1935 hurricane - Snake Creek, Florida
Mortal remains of victims of the 1935 hurricane being cremated - Snake Creek, Florida

Rescue train swept off the tracks by the 1935 Labor Day hurricane


The hurricane washed this eleven car special train off the track soon after reaching the strickened area. The train was trying to rescue 683 World War I veterans in a rehabilitation camp, of which around 250 died as a result of the hurricane. The veterans, a remnant of the Bonus Army that marched on Washington, were employed for highway construction in the federal work relief project.

Rescue train swept off the tracks by the 1935 Labor Day hurricane

Monument to the victims of the 1935 Hurricane - Islamorada, Florida


  Monument to the victims of the 1935 Hurricane - Islamorada, Florida

Monday, June 23, 2014

Horrendous Dew Point

(click to enlarge)

I took this screen shot of Weather Underground just a little bit ago. I had to share it. LOOK at the dew point! That's horribly oppressive! I think I'll just stay inside today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

This is SO true.

I remember when I first moved from Georgia to Alabama. I didn't know any of the counties and of course we were always having tornado warnings in the spring. Fortunately I married a native Alabamian, but I still had to get the map out.

When we moved from Alabama to Pennsylvania, one thing we were not expecting to hear was a tornado siren. We were eagerly anticipating snow, but since we moved in August we figured we'd just be enjoying a lovely fall until then. The nights were deliciously cool after the muggy heat of the south, and we were in heaven.

Less than a week after we moved, we were awakened in the dead of night by the unmistakable sounds of a tornado siren. Moving on instinct, we leaped out of bed. I threw open the window and, perplexed, gazed out at a perfectly clear and cool night. The weather radio hadn't automatically gone off (even more perplexing) so we turned it on. Breathlessly, we listened to a county by county description of the weather in NEPA. It was uniformly clear and cool. Shortly into the forecast I realized that I had no earthly idea where these counties were and if anything like a tornado were announced, I wouldn't know whether to duck or go back to bed. This is a very uncomfortable feeling in the middle of the night. The siren had stopped by now and we looked at each other. "I guess we'll just go back to bed," one of us ventured. We lay in bed, both still on alert, but eventually went to sleep. The next day Father asked our landlord why the tornado siren had gone off. "Tornado siren?? That's the volunteer fire department siren."


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nice Shelf Cloud

We had a nice storm approaching this evening and I ran out and got pictures of the leading edge as it came in. It had a lovely shelf cloud.

 The bulk of the storm was passing to the north of us and for a short while the last remnants of the sunset were visible through the rain and lit up the base of the clouds.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nice clouds from this evening

We have some tiny showers passing through, but the way the clouds looked as the sun was getting low was really nice. I had my camera with me so I grabbed a few shots.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hail Storm with Golf-Ball Sized Hail

I could see some severe cells approaching on the radar and one looked like it was going to hit us dead-on. I went out on the porch to wait. The lightning was almost continuous but the wind hadn't picked up yet. The sirens went off and added to the excitement (half of us were on the porch, waiting). Eventually there was a bit of breeze, then it got stronger. In the distance we could hear a roaring sound, growing louder. I wasn't worried about a tornado and thought it was too loud for the wind associated with a downdraft. Assuming that the coming rain must be incredibly heavy I went to the doorway to watch. A few drops started coming down and then I realized that the sound was probably hail. Another moment and it was upon us. It was absolutely deafening. It sounded like the end of the world. I could see massive hailstones hitting the street and exploding. I looked at our van and car and realized that there was nothing I could do. I made the sign of the cross over them and asked God to protect them. [Foolishly I didn't do the same thing for the house.] The hail was not only large - most of it golf ball-sized - but there was a ton of it. The ground started to turn white. The wind was blowing very hard and the hail was exploding through the open screen door and starting to cover the porch. When we opened the door to the house some of the hail blew inside.

[Pause to add that we're going to go check the church and the hall in a few minutes. Oh's like, all windows...I'll update when we get back. [UPDATE: SEE BELOW]]

After it had been hailing for about a minute I remembered the camera and dashed inside to get it. I filmed the next 2 minutes of the storm. The video doesn't do it justice because it's so dark. Turn the volume up until you're covering your ears and that's what it sounded like.

[Stolen from my regular blog]

As soon as it died down (about 2 minutes after I stopped filming) I ran out to gather up some hail to measure. I photographed it next to a tape measure. When the rain had stopped a little bit too I ran out and checked the cars. There are probably dings in the metal car bodies but the windows are all intact!! I can't believe it. They were completely exposed. Thanks be to God! Remember I mentioned that I should have done the same for the house? Well, we lost two windows in the house and have a leak in the roof near the fireplace. Live and learn. I estimate the entire hailstorm lasted about 5 minutes. It felt like an eternity.

UPDATE: Well, we went to check the church and hall (ALL of us, despite it being past bedtime) and, believe it or not, the church is FINE. Not one crack in one window. And our church is practically all windows! We were most worried about the west side (that's the direction the hail was coming from) but here it is, sound as ever:

Not quite so lucky at the hall, but even there only lost one window in the kitchen:

We drove around a few blocks on the way home and saw a few things. There were two streetlamps which had the exterior portion blown down by the hail...but the light was still on. Amazing. Here's one:

In one shopping area a few smart people pulled their cars right up on the sidewalk outside the stores. As  we drove around we didn't see any vehicles with broken windows. My theory is that the hail was composed of ice layers that broke apart easily so the energy of the blow was absorbed more by the hail (which exploded) than the item it hit.

Unless, of course, the item being hit is an easily ripped-out screen. All of our screens except the two on the sheltered east side of the porch were ripped out by the hail. That explains how so much hail got on the porch.