Monday, August 10, 2015


It's been so hot. And not just peaking in the middle of the day and cooling off around the edges, but just hot, all the time. The low temperatures are in the upper 70's and come right before dawn. Around 11PM last night the heat index was still 97F. Immediately after the sun starts to rise the temperatures climb. You can pull up Weather Underground and just watch the temperature go up. And up. It's sort of grimly entertaining. Unfortunately, the humidity is always 90-something % at that time so the heat index is astronomical. For instance, right now...

9:30 AM.
Temperature: 88.3F
Humidity: 80%
Dew point: 81F
Heat index: 107F
Wind: 0 mph

9:42 AM
Temperature: 88.7F
Humidity: 79%
Dew point: 81F
Heat index: 108F
Wind: 0 mph

That's a pretty uncomfortable situation. Note the dew point of 81F. The temperature is supposed to be 101 today (it was 100 yesterday) and the heat index will be much higher. The last few days the heat index has topped out at 112.

We're under an excessive heat warning and have been for a couple days. We're in good company: it extends over the entirety of Mississippi and Louisiana, most of Alabama and Arkansas, and half of Oklahoma and Texas.

Of course, it's worse in parts of Iran, where the heat index reached an unbelievable 164F yesterday. Lord have mercy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I was driving home from work after dark several years ago and watching the tops of some thunderheads directly in front of me. They were too far away to hear any thunder and I was only seeing the cloud tops, probably over Georgia. The lightning was lighting up the anvil and overshooting tops quite nicely and at one point I saw a vertical flash of light over the clouds. I couldn't imagine what it was. Only later I found out about sprites.

This is a great documentary with some super-slow motion captures of sprites. Mesmerizing.

Monday, June 29, 2015

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."