Al Capp bio.jbtfsplk


After the long heat wave, it is deliciously cool at daybreak.  A thrush is singing in the pure blue of the dawn dusk, and the day should be dry, partly cloudy and brisk.  There is absolutely no reason to fret and frown, but I’ll manage, just a bit, due to the lore of the weather-wise Yankee kicking about in the back of my mind.

“When the sky is feckless blue; rain or snow in a day or two.”

(It’s an odd use of the word “feckless,” when you think of it.  We don’t usually think of a blue sky as “unproductive and inefficient,” but I suppose the old farmers often looked heavenwards for rain.)

In the winter a brilliant blue sky is sometimes described as a “weather maker,” due to the fact it can often be followed by a storm.  Likely this is because the high pressure must be strong, to drive all clouds from the sky, and extremes breed extremes.  A wishy-washy sky leads to wishy-washy weather.

“Mackerel sky; Mackerel sky; Never long wet; never long dry.”

 In the summer, especially towards the end, a refreshing breeze from the northwest often makes me glance south for trouble.  It is counter-intuitive to think a high could attract a hurricane, however if you look at the maps of the situation just before Carol bicected New England  in 1954 you see a nice “protective” high pressure that you’d think would surely protect New England, even 36 hours before the storm hit.

The meteorologist Joe Bastardi, (who loves to play with puns based upon the titles of pop tunes,) often speaks of a “ridge over troubled waters,” and scrutinizes the area under summer highs, especially a “Newfoundland Wheel.”

In any case, if you are walking whistling down the road because the sun is shining, you really should be ashamed of yourself.  A true worry wart would walk under a personal cloud like the Al Capp character Joe Btfsplk. (Pictured above.)

Glancing at the map we see just such a high pressure shoving a cold front off the east coast.

satsfc.gif July 25, 2013

However, when you look for hurricanes, the closest tropical worry is Dorian, closer to Africa than us, and not likely to be worth worry until the weekend has passed.

Dorian 083911W_NL_sm

However do not despair. If you look back at the cold front moving off the coast, you can see a low developing on it.  With the waters off the east coast so warm, you can fret about a nor’easter, especially if you are vacationing off Cape Cod.

On the other hand, you can not worry and be happy, and practice whistling down the road.  I plan to at least give it a try.




  1. It amazes me how much the weather back east actually changes. Ours is pretty constant. If you guess “sunshine and hot” 3/4 or more of the time you’ll be right. This time of year you can usually say, “chance of afternoon monsoon” and be right most of the time. Although, it totally through me off and rained this morning… tricky, I know! I think they probably send the remedial meteorologists to AZ. Hahahaha!

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