LOCAL VIEW —SNEAKY COLD—(updated)—

Yesterday I finished the clean-up after the storm over at our farm-childcare, with the help of my two sons, who made short work of the brown piles of frozen slush, roughly two feet tall and four feet wide, that the town plows had shoved into the three entrances to the place. It would have taken me hours, with a lot of time spent leaning on my shovel, but they work with the speed of youth, if only you can get them started. The only way I can beat them, in terms of work, is when I plod along like a turtle as they loaf like the hare.

It remained astonishingly calm, for just after a storm, and the trees remained loaded with snow except for their very tops, which were brushed clean by slight gusts of wandering breezes.  The sun was so bright and the snow so bright that the evergreens looked strangely black. It could have been a black and white photo, were the sky not so deeply blue.

I should have noticed how calm it was, and should have noted the depth of the fresh snow-cover, and expected the temperatures to plunge, but it is only November, and I didn’t expect January’s temperatures. The weather bureau blew the forecast of low temperatures big time, stating it would get down to the teens, when it got down to 4 (-16 Celsius) by daybreak this morning.

In January I’d be better prepared. I might even have a coal fire going in the small stove in the room where I now type. I certainly would have a second wood stove burning, and perhaps even the third one going in the cellar, to warm the floors.  However, because it is only November, I only had the primary stove going in the kitchen-slash-dining-room area. My youngest son and younger daughter were busily doing homework, he for college and she to pass some test she needs to get a job, and I got an inkling it was getting darn cold when they gravitated closer and closer to that primary stove. Then the propane furnace kicked on, despite the fact we’ve got it set at fifty degrees to save money, and it sunk into my thick skull it was getting very cold.

Because it was too late and too dark to do much about it, I looked up the record temperatures for this area. The nearest I could find was Concord, New Hampshire, in the Merrimack River valley to our northeast.  Their record high was 80 (+27 Celsius) on November 2, 1876 [So much for Global Warming,] and their record low was a year earlier, on November 30, 1875, and was -17 (-27 Celsius). [So much for Global Cooling.]

This should give any reader from Old England an idea of the extremes in temperature we bumpkins in New England face. Just in the month of November we can face a range of temperatures coastal areas of England don’t face in a decade. It also should show you why the Pilgrims nearly were exterminated by the cold, their first winter, especially when you consider the fact they initially planned to land down south in Virginia. Something like half of them died, which is why they were so thankful their first Thanksgiving, and invited Native Americans to their feast, as without the help of Squanto, (who had been to England and spoke English,)  rather than turkey their goose would have been cooked.

Some people, who are neither English nor Native American, like to make a fight out of that feast, however when I trace my family tree back to 1620 it involves something like 4000 great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents, eight of whom were at that feast. Likely a larger number were Indians who didn’t attend, as the tree contains a great-great-grandmother named “Miss Eagle,” who was likely Abenaki, and, because she was likely born in the early 1800’s, likely was the product of several hundred Abenaki’s who were alive in 1620.  Not one of the Abenaki tribe was invited to the first Thanksgiving, but my blood has no problem with that, as the various nationalities swirl in my veins.

One of my Mayflower ancestors was a Brewster, and back when I was a sweaty gardener I worked for a nice-but-slightly-stuffy-lady who one afternoon announced, with great pride, that she was related to the same Brewster. Jokingly I spread my arms and exclaimed, “Cousin!”  She laughed, but I noted a slight alarm in her eyes, and that she stepped backwards.

Later I did some research, to see how many people are related to those haggard survivors of their first, hard winter.  The answer astonished me.  Roughly thirty million modern Americans, a bit less than ten percent of the population, could, if they bothered, discover they have an ancestor who was at the first Thanksgiving. It includes just about every race and religion.

It just goes to show you: Surviving the winter may pay off, in the long run.

Therefore I’ll take the time to get the wood stoves ready for the next cold wave. I sure wasn’t ready for this one, and it seems a sign this winter will be rough.

I think I’ll call that last Norlun Wave, “Storm #6”, as it did give us an inch of powder. (If we are going to match the 26 snows they got in a bad winter back in the 1600’s I may have to cheat a little.)

The national radar now looks very dry and storm-free, and the next storm looks likely to miss us, heading up to Hudson Bay. The computer models are promising a spell of mild and dry weather, which sure would be nice, but I don’t trust them.

The thing is, the high over us and now departing is darned cold. Any mild air coming north behind the high is bound to clash warm air against the departing cold air, and we may get snow from a warm front the models don’t see. Then, even though the storm is way to our north by Hudson Bay, its cold front will sweep down and bring that air that has been chilling Calgary. (I was thankful, this Thanksgiving, that I wasn’t in Calgary.)

I’ll believe the warm-up will happen when I see it.

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UPDATE  —THE COLD SNEAKS OFF—

Well, I’ve seen it and now believe it. Shortly after sunset yesterday it was down to 18 (-8 Celsius). I noticed when I went to bed at midnight that it had clouded over and temperatures had risen to 21(-6 Celsius.) Awaking at 6:30 AM I stepped out onto the porch and immediately was struck by how mild it seemed. It was 39. (+4 Celsius.)  

You can’t even shut your eyes, around here, without the weather flipping out on you. My wife passed me on the porch, heading out for her morning walk, all bundled up like it was January, and after reaching the end of the drive way came back to shed the woolly scarf and hat and gloves.

That cold air didn’t put up much of a fight. It snuck off the same way it snuck in, without much fuss or wind. The wind is picking up slightly now, but is still from the wnw, as the warm front hasn’t gotten here yet. The sky is gray and lowering, but now it feels more like rain than snow. The crows and jays are much more active and noisy this morning, as all the critters that were hunkered down and hiding from the cold come back out to Christmas shop.  The map shows the warm front is crossing New York State, but with a cold front coming on its heels.

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE RECOVERY —Neglected Ice—

I have neglected to report on the sea-ice since November 11, as the subject draws little attention when the sea ice is growing by leaps and bounds. It is hard for the media to inspire panic about a “Death Spiral” when the sea-ice is doing what it does every year, which is to triple in its extent.  Also I have been fighting an arctic invasion in my own back yard. Lastly, my favorite DMI site was down for a while.

Now I have been nudged back into action, partly because I have a bit of free time and simply enjoy the arctic, but also due to being aggravated by an article I read on “The Weather Network”  that contained the usual misinformation. One paragraph stated:

“For example, after the record melt of Arctic sea ice in the northern summer of 2012, the melts in 2013 and 2014 were more in-line with the years prior to 2012 (and very close to what was seen in 2009). Although some have claimed this to be a ‘recovery’ of the Arctic, the 2012 melt was due to a combination of the warming trend in the climate and a specific worst-case sequence of weather events during that summer. Since that sequence of weather events didn’t repeat in the years after, the ice extents didn’t reach as low. However, the ice that grew back after 2012 was far thinner than was there before that melt, so the overall volume of ice – the total amount, rather than just how much ocean it covers – is still at a record low for the Arctic.”

This is just plain incorrect. The ice that grew back after 2012 was quite average, but was pushed towards Canada and piled up against the north coast of the Canadian Archipelago in a manner that made ice thicker for hundreds of miles out to sea, in a manner we have not seen for years. Furthermore, while “volume” is notoriously hard to calculate, indications are it is increasing, largely due to the increase of multi-year ice north of Canada.

This is something you know if you simply watch the ice. I’ve been doing so for years, and therefore misinformation leaps out at me.  Appeals to authority cannot cancel what my lying eyes have seen, and I am unimpressed by any sentence that uses the words “studies show” or “scientists say” without referring to actual data, or at least to papers that hold the data.

In any case, the article can be found at:  http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/submersible-robot-first-3d-map-reveals-antarctic-sea-ice-thicker-more-deformed/40744/

I get the feeling the more evidence proves that the idea of a “Death Spiral” is incorrect, the more we will hear these excuses. However the good thing is that is gets me so steamed I am motivated to continue to study the ice.  When you can’t rely on the media you must rely on your own eyes.

Since November 11 the rest of the Kara Sea has refrozen, the rest of the East Siberian Sea has refrozen, and Hudson Bay is freezing up a little ahead of schedule. The flow of ice down the west side of Baffin Bay is behind schedule, while the flow of ice down the east coast of Greenland, which was very much behind schedule, has nearly caught up to normal. The most noticeable deficit of sea-ice is in the Chukchi Sea north of Bering Strait, while the most noticeable increase from last year is in the northern waters of the Barent Sea, which are back to normal.

Watching these fluctuations in the growth of the ice give one hints about weather patterns and the state of the AMO and PDO, and have little to do with any Death Spiral.  The only way to call the current levels “unprecidented” is to studiously ignore history. The Danes kept careful records all the way back to the 1890’s, but these are repressed by people who seem determined to advance an agenda. I myself would like to see sea-ice retreat to the levels the Vikings saw when they grew barley in Greenland, because that would be a kinder climate here in New Hampshire, however people with an agenda likely would use the warmth as an excuse to increase my taxes.

You can open the maps below to new tabs to enlarge them, and then click back and forth between the tabs to watch how the ice grew between November 10 and November 29.

Extent 20141110 arcticicennowcastDMI2 1129 arcticicennowcast

Back on November 11 cold air was building over the Pole, as the Atlantic was blocked and pouring most of its milder air east into Europe.  The main entrance region for milder air was through Bering Strait. Cold Siberian air was draining north into the Laptev Sea.

DMI2 1111 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1111`temp_latest.big

Five days later the Pacific air has curled along the Canadian coast to the Pole, generating rising air and low pressure, which creates a return flow back to Canada. The air is in essence sloshing back and forth, but a cross-polar flow like last winter’s, from the Laptev Sea to the Canadian Archipelago is developing on the Pacific side, as a weak cross-polar-flow heads the other way north of the Atlantic. (Last year I called this “The Two Way Highway”.)

DMI2 1115 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1115 temp_latest.big

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By November 18 the cross-polar-flow from Siberia to Canada is quite clear, and, like last year, not only air is moved but also the sea-ice is moved, to join the mass of multi-year ice already piled up north of Canada. Meanwhile, on the other side of the “highway’, a west wind blows across the north of Europe, keeping the Siberian cold at bay.

DMI2 1118 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1118 temp_latest.big

By November 25 the cross-polar flow has largely broken down.  A storm rolling along the Eurasian arctic coast has brought some Atlantic air up to the Pole, but the Pole is much colder, as it is sloshing between patterns, and isn’t exporting much cold.The cold air it is exporting is back down to be recycled in Siberia. This will generate storminess as the cold air clashes with the Atlantic air.

DMI2 1125 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1125 temp_latest.big

Currently the storminess has taken over the entire Atlantic side of the Pole, and a great rush of milder air is being drawn up to the Pole, even as the same general flow draws the coldest air of the season north from Siberia across the Laptev Sea. This clash will be interesting to watch.

DMI2 1128 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 1128 temp_latest.big

The current invasion of warm air will of course make the graph of temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude spike upwards.

DMI2 1129B meanT_2014

These spikes in temperature might seem like they would indicate less sea-ice forming, however, as the maps show, they are often indicative of storms at the Pole, and storms often smash up the ice and expose waters to temperatures which, as the graph makes clear, are well below the freezing point of salt water. Perhaps a small amount of ice is melted if the water is stratified and if warmer water is stirred up from below, but such melting is more probable in summer storms. In winter storms the ice cracks to “leads” of open water which swiftly freeze over, or else these leads slam shut, creating “pressure ridges” of piled up ice.  After last winter, which was quite stormy, the new ice was not very flat, and contained more mini-mountain-ranges of piled up ice, which suggests storms increase the total volume of ice over a given area. It likely also chills the water more, as the water is exposed to the sub-zero air more often.

To get an idea of how much the ice is shifted about it pays to keep an eye on how the ice is moving, and I find this animation helpful:

Arctic Sea Ice Speed & Drift – 30 Day Animation

Because the Arctic Sea is constantly losing heat, if not through the open water of leads then through the ice itself (especially when the ice is new and only a foot or two thick,) now is the time we see the tables turned, and the Pole becomes a source of warming for the Tundra, and the Tundra becomes a source of cold for the Arctic Sea. The exact opposite is true during the summer, and it can be a bit hard to get your mind around which is effecting which, as the seasons change. It is especially hard because whichever is colder will tend to generate sinking air and high pressure, and whichever is warmer will tend to generate rising air and low pressure. It is great fun trying to keep track of it all, as long as you don’t mind seeing your assumptions are incorrect on a regular basis.

The only certain thing is that it is darn cold up there, and the sea is freezing over.  Where there isn’t ice, ice will appear, and where there is ice, the ice will get thicker. You can keep an eye on the thickness here:

Arctic Sea Ice Thickness – 30 Day Animation

The best collection of arctic information I know of has been compiled by Anthony Watts on his Sea Ice Page, which can be seen here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

LOCAL VIEW —DRATTED NORLUN WAVE BRINGS MORE SNOW—

I creaked out of bed before dawn to peer out the front door towards the streetlight, and saw a whirl of snow. Another inch had fallen, due what is called a “Norlun Wave.”

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For a better explanation than I can give, of Norlun Waves, Matt Noyes has produced some decent articles at his site. Here is one, with links in it to other articles he’s penned, plus links to papers about Norlun Waves by others.

http://www.mattnoyes.net/new_england_weather/2011/01/exactly-what-is-a-norlun-trough-and-how-do-you-forecast-weather-associated-with-it.html

If you have leisure you can spend a whole morning reading interesting stuff and mentally dabbling with the intricate wonder of the atmosphere, but I still have to clean up the mess from the last storm, so rather than be scientific I’ll grouch and grumble.

After many storms all the moisture is swept out to sea by roaring northwest winds that bring south a cold front and dry air.  Other storms have much less wind, and ripple away to the north leaving moisture and mild air behind.  It is the mild moisture that sets up the Norlun Trough.

As this mild air gets squeezed by rising pressures behind the storm the effected area doesn’t see pressures rise, as you would think, but rather pressures fall because the squeezed air rises.(I am so disgusted by the prospect of more snow-blowing and shoveling that I will use the most disgusting symbol I can think of:)  The air is squeezed like a pimple, and the building pressure shoots up like pus, reducing pressure at the surface. The uplift is increased by the latent heat released by water vapor condensing and freezing, and the pus comes raining back down as disgusting snow-flakes on my driveway. At this point, if my mood is better, I write lovely poems about the white fluff outside, trying to emulate the appreciation the Japanese have of snow and cherry blossoms, but I am so achy from yesterday’s work I only scowl. If I flower at all I am a flowering crab.

If I had the time to ponder the nuances of the maps, I’d probably study the way the uplift of a Norlun Trough extends west to the uplift created by the relatively warm water of the Great Lakes.  There might be an interesting linkage between the two events. Even if there isn’t, I could say there was, and stir up a lively discussion at some obscure site where weather geeks gather, and in the process of being told how wrong I was I might learn a thing or two. That seems such a fine way to fritter away the hours, when I am faced with the heavy, brown crud blocking the entrance to the Childcare.

I have noticed that many meteorologists have a poetic streak. I suppose it is an occupational hazard that comes from looking at clouds too much. However I have no time for poetry or for meteorology. It is souring my mood, and I look a little like Rodney Dangerfield in my mirror. “I get no respect.” Rather than throwing money at me to write poetry, people want me to hack away at frozen slush. All  I can say is, they’ll be sorry when I’m dead.

I noticed that some of the other fellows were muttering similar thoughts, during Thanksgiving Dinner.  Usually the guys allow the women to do most of the bustling, perhaps carrying a pie in from a car or carving a turkey, but for the most part feasting and then sitting about bloated, talking about hunting escapades or the nuances of football, but yesterday there was a more tired-looking group slouched in easy chairs, shaking their heads about the poor excuse for snow they’d had to deal with.

Usually the first foot of snow is cleaned up with precision, and the snowbanks have sharp corners and are built with geometric exactness. It is the exact opposite of April snow, which is going to melt so soon it is sloppily shoved aside and left to wilt in the high sunshine. On this side of winter everyone knows the snowbanks may last five more months, so care is taken to get off to a good start.

Yesterday was a lousy start.  Even though I had the Childcare drive clean at six o’clock on Wednesday night, six more inches had fallen by Thursday morning, and the ground is still so warm that the bottom four inches slumped down to a substance somewhere between very heavy snow and slush.  Then the town plows, which (due to budget problems) hadn’t really even started to plow until morning, shoved this heavy stuff from the roads into the entrances of every driveway in town, mingling it with sand and bits of tar torn from the road’s deteriorating surface, (un-repaired due to budget problems.)

When younger I laughed at old geezers who used snow-blowers, and often had my drive finished with a shovel while they were still cursing at their machines and trying to get  them started. Those days are gone, and I’ve now converted to the geezer world-view. However the snow-blowers struggled even with the uncompressed snow on the drives, and the piles at the end of the drives strangled them. The chutes plugged up with the snow, and when it did come out of the chutes it was a sort of brown soup that described a pathetic arc and landed three feet away, still in the driveway.  Even though it is illegal, most just shifted the snow back out onto the roads, which were brazenly bare and wet and snow-free.

My oldest son said he even had trouble with his plow.  If he tried to plow straight ahead his truck would slow to a stop with all four tires spinning, so he had to plow a sort of zig-zag pattern up driveways, shifting snow first to the right side, and then to the left. (I would have had him plow the Childcare, but have learned through bitter experience that plowing builds huge mountains in all the wrong places, making it nearly impossible to clear snow in following storms, and also effecting the septic system’s leach field.)

In any case, it looks like we are off to  a bad start, this winter. I am going to have to revert to primitive shoveling, and to use shovels meant for dirt, as the stuff blocking the Childcare entrance laughs at plastic snow shovels. Fortunately I have two younger sons in their early twenties to help me, though I must confess they seem less than pleased by the prospect. To them Thanksgiving means leisure.

I have a strong feeling leisure is going to be in short supply, before we see the last of this winter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL VIEW —THANKSGIVING STORM APPROACHES— updated with afterward

This is a quick insomnia report, to show maps of the storm #5’s development, and also to express amazement that anyone would have the sheer audacity to forecast snow, when it only got down to 39 last night (as of 4:00 AM) and is still 46 in Boston.  In fact it is only recently that the radar started to show snow at the northwest edge of the rain.

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If I was a suspicious fellow, I might suspect the fellows over at the weather bureau were pulling our legs.  After all, it likely gets boring looking at isobars all the time. Maybe they decided to cause general panic and hysteria throughout the east coast just for the fun of it, and now are sniggering up their sleeves.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

20141126A satsfc (click maps to enlarge)

I’ll update later, after I’m done hysterically panicking.

UPDATE–8:00 AM EST

Storm is deepening over South Carolina. Watch to see if the following second low over Florida persists. A strung-out storm is weaker.

Temperature here has dropped 4 degrees to 36 in 4 hours. Alto stratus with some high scud indicating falling rain, from west. Radar shows rain here, but it isn’t reaching the ground. Pressure in Manchester 30.19 Hg and falling. In Jaffrey 30.16 Hg.

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UPDATE  —2:00 PM—  Storm is here.

The first flakes started falling at 8:30 AM. There was no rain.  I went and picked some wild cranberries with one of the older boys.  The bright berries contrasted nicely with the purple-green foliage and the white snow.  Then we dug the final row of potatoes, plus some scattered onions and carrots that remained, from the frozen and then re-thawed soil, which was very muddy. I wore yellow raingear which soon was covered with briwn slush.

In the yard a boy built a snowman as the snow swiftly mounted up to over two inches. The snowman was a bit muddy as well. Parents came early to pick up their kids. Now only a single child remains.

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Temperatures down to 34 Manchester, 32 Jaffrey.  Pressures still fairly high, at 30.11 Manchester and 30.07 Jaffrey.

UPDATE  —7:00 PM—in for keeps—   (not posted until 9:00 AM)

Temperatures down to 32 at Manchester and 30 at Jaffrey.  Can’t check pressures, as we have just lost our internet connection. but at 6:00 Manchester was down to 29.89 and Jaffrey was down to 29.87.

I’ve saved the maps but can’t access them at the moment. Nor can I post this, so why am I writing?  Life is such a mystery at times!

At least we still have power, though the lights keep blinking. The snow is so sticky that all the electrical wires look as thick as a man’s thigh, like long white noodles.

My last outdoor job was to snow-blow the Childcare drive so the last,  lone child and single member of the staff could leave. We had around five inches then, at 5:00, and have aound seven now, at 7:00.  The drive home was a creeping crawl. Coming down the steep hill into town I saw a policeman pushing a car with spinning tires up the hill, well away from his cruiser and its flashing blue lights.  You don’t see that every day.

Now I’m home and there are very few things that could pry me from my chair and out the door again.

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FINAL UPDATE  —AFTERWARDS—

We received a total of a foot, tapering off to light snow by midnight. Winds remained fairly light and the pressure never got below 29.85. Temperatures remained mild, and this morning it is at 34 in Manchester to our east and 28 in Jaffrey to our west. The snow was very sticky, and all the trees are burdened and stooped, especially the evergreens, which barely show any green at all, and resemble big blobs of white. Everwhites, perhaps, or that is what they will be until the wind picks up. 

I’ve been out shoveling this morning, to prove to my sons that the old man is tougher than he appears, and to make them feel guilty for sleeping late.  The snow was fairly light until I got to the pile the plow made by the road. Then I spent a lot of time leaning on my shovel, except for a brief time shoveling vigorously because a car was passing, and I wanted to keep my reputation.  I used to have the reputation of being “hale”,  but now I think I’m called “spry.”  I’m not sure I like the demotion.

I’m not sure when we got our internet connection back. One of my sons rebooted the computer, and there it was.  I went to look at my favorite blogs, and at Weatherbell saw Joseph D’Aleo claim places had two feet of snow. We usually get the most, because we face the east in these hills, and I doubted very much that Flatlanders down in the cities could get two feet, when we only got a fluffy foot that settled to ten inches by morning.  I thought this might be one of those rare occasions where I’m right and Mr. D’Aleo is wrong, but then I’ll be darned if he didn’t go and offer photographic proof:

TWO_FEET

In Canada that would be “61 cm of snow fell this morning,” and the joke would make no sense. Nor do we make sense for celebrating Thanksgiving five weeks too late.

http://www.insidehalton.com/whatson-story/4923662-10-reasons-why-canadian-thanksgiving-is-better-than-american-thanksgiving/

Be that as it may, thanks for visiting and HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Oh, I nearly forgot the Afterward maps: (Note the new lake-effect snows, and the small storm being whisked south of us.)

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CALGARY, PREPARE FOR EXTREME COLD!

I was looking “upstream,” for hints at what the weather will be like downstream, here in New Hampshire, after our Thanksgiving snowstorm, and I came across this Dr. Ryan Maue map at the Weatherbell site. It is an anomaly map, showing if temperatures are above or below normal, and shows the conditions 90 hours from now, on Saturday.

The map shows it will be a little below normal round here, in the fading north winds after our Thanksgiving storm, but then I look northwest to western Canada…

Yikes!  That light purple is temperatures more than 50 degrees below normal, Fahrenheit. In actual fact the coldest spots are off the color-code key to the right of the map, which only goes as low as 50 below normal.  If you look at the small writing at the upper right, you see the lowest is actually -63.6 of normal.  Double Yikes! (Click maps, or open-to-new-tab, to clarify and enlarge.)

Calgary cold Nov 25 gfs_t2m_anomf_noram_16

In terms of actual temperatures, it looks like the core of that cold will touch -50, but Calgary may be to the edge and “only” get to -23. (-31 Celsius.)

Calgary cold Nov 25 gfs_t2m_noram_31

 

They can keep that stuff up there, as far I’m concerned. For heaven’s sake! It isn’t even December yet!

My hope is that the cold clashes with the above normal air to the south, and brews up a big west-coast gale. Some models are showing California getting some needed rain as a storm hits them at the end of the weekend. If that storm would only suck in the cold, and swirl it around with Pacific air, it would be much milder when it came east.

LOCAL VIEW —THANKSGIVING SNOW? MILD AT THE MOMENT—

Quite a lovely rush of mild air swept over us yesterday, after the day began with a cold rain and temperatures down close to freezing. I didn’t mind the chill as I’d picked my smoked bacon and ham up, at the slaughterhouse in Troy, and was using the back of my truck as a sort of refrigerator, because the refrigerator in the house is crammed with stuff for Thanksgiving.

It was 36 when I drove the 6 five-year-olds to kindergarten, and then I went home to test out the fresh bacon for breakfast.  It was delicious, but then the after-effects of insomnia hit, and even though I had a ton to do I lay down to listen the lulling drumming of rain on the roof, and the next thing I knew it was over an hour later and the low sun was beaming through the window into my eyes. I headed into the cool kitchen for a second coffee, and stepped out onto the porch, and it was ten degrees warmer outside than inside.  (62 versus 52) (17 vs.11 Celsius) A warm front had swept north and past us.

It was hard to take the winter storm watches seriously when the kind wind was ruffling fingers through my hair, but I managed to potter about, putting the smoked meat from the back of the now too-warm pick-up into the freezer, getting some late carrots from the thawing soil in the frozen garden, dismantling the box I built in the back of my truck when I moved the pigs, moving the lumber into the stall to repair the goats stables with, instructing the fellow who came by to tow off my youngest son’s car to the shop to be fixed, loading the porch with firewood, all the while in a dreamy mood due to the mildness.

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Even after dark it stayed mild. The family is starting to gather for Thanksgiving, and we had a fresh ham for dinner with six adults and a baby at the table. (I never seem to get to enjoy much empty-nest-syndrome.) A lot a talk was about the coming storm, even as we were in T shirts due to the heat from the oven and the nearly completely closed-up wood-stove (which has had the same fire burning in it since mid-October.) I checked the computer and saw that at the Weatherbell site Joe Bastardi had noted the NAM model had upped the snow amounts:

Thkz3 Screen_shot_2014_11_24_at_9_40_56_PM

Now I’m up at 2:00 AM with my typical insomnia, and it is still mild, with hazy starlight. It is nearly impossible to imagine that in 24 hours it is suppose to be snowing heavily.  It is 57 out, (14 Celsius) and 64 (18 Celsius) down in Fitchburg, a half hour south of here in Massachusetts. The cold front won’t get here until around daybreak. Even though I can see the backlash snow well west of here, north of Chicago on the radar, and can see the first hint of low pressure down in South Carolina,  it is hard to think the storm won’t be rain.

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Considering worry is something I am all too good at, it seems odd I am doing such a bad job of it.

The mildness has chased the snow-cover north, and it has retreated greatly from its record-setting levels of only five days ago, when it was just north of here and clear down to Texas. However the west side of Hudson Bay is freezing up swiftly. The warmth never got up that far.

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LOCAL VIEW —VAPORS OF MY MIND—

I’m starting the week with up-at-1:00 -AM insomnia.  I might as well check out some maps.

It is still too early for the latest computer models, but the most recent runs continue to fuel the frenzy about a Thanksgiving storm. The GFS has now pulled the storm in closer to the coast.  Here’s the Dr Ryan Maue map from the Weatherbell site, of the GFS forecast for Thanksgiving Eve. (Wednesday night):

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(The above map should alert European viewers to the difference in pressures of gales at lower latitudes, when they note the storm is barely below 1000 mb.)

Even the Canadian JEM model is starting to pull the storm closer to the coast, but it seems to now weaken it by having it be two ripples on the front rather than a single gale. I’ve actually seen this happen to a system the media is making a hoopla about.  Everyone is wild-eyed, and the reporters are down on the beaches all ready to report “live shots” of crashing surf and howling winds and smothering snow, and they look ridiculous because there is just a gentle breeze, a few ripples, and a single, wandering snowflake.

The other thing that turns looming storms into jokes is the slight flattening of steering currents that will whisk a storm out to sea. I remember the sheer agony this would cause me as a boy, when I hadn’t done my math homework, and Virginia would get over a foot and up here we’d only get gray skies. The only thing worse was to have a storm veer inland, and change snow to rain.

The devil is in the details. In many ways a forecaster is like a gambler studying the horses, and betting on the odds.  There are countless factors that can throw a forecast off, and what amazes me (besides the fact they even attempt to predict the behavior of chaos) is that they can see a snowstorm when the entire east of the USA is warm and the storm doesn’t even exist.  Joseph D’Aleo admits there are still many possible outcomes, and uses the headline, “Whopper or Wimp?” while Joe Bastardi (so far) has had the good sense to avoid the devilish details, and instead to bask in the glory of having seen this threat coming over a week ago.

Weather geeks are a most merciless group.  Years ago Mr. Bastardi saw a threat in a hurricane when it was way over by Africa, and used the headline, “Houston, We Have A Problem,” and a week later the weather geeks were taking him to task because the storm (Rita?) hit Houston’s suburbs and not downtown. Therefore I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he remains in the safety of the long term, and avoids the specifics of the short term’s devilish details. (Of course, because he loves competition, he’ll be tempted to stick his neck out as the geeks sharpen their axes.)

The thing that amazes me is the fact he saw the threat a week ago.  He calls it “pattern recognition,” but to me it is mysterious, for to me the future that far out is all vapors of worry, and unreal creations of my mind.  The current map looks far too mild to imagine a snowstorm in three days.

I guess we’ll call this mild storm storm #4, though it can’t count as a winter storm.  Yesterday saw it form between an Alberta clipper on the northern branch and a stalled low left behind by a cold front, down in the southern branch’s territory. A large area of rain appeared where none had existed. (Images can be clicked, or openned to a new tab, for larger and clearer views.)

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The maps from this morning’s wee hours shows #4 continuing to mill about out there.  The first cold front, down in Texas, only holds Chinook-warmed Pacific air behind it, but that second cold front, cutting through Iowa and Nebraska and then up to Montana, represents the arctic wolves, and some backlash snow is appearing on the radar behind it.

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Storm #4 is expected to slide northeast through Quebec, between Hudson Bay and the St Lawrence Valley,  and then off Labrador, dragging those arctic wolves south and then east off the USA coast, but even in 48 hours there is little sign of a storm, unless you call the weak low pressure along the rain-front south of Florida a “storm.”

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Even at the 48 hour point, 24 hours before the map that began this post, the storm is just vapors, both literally and in terms of imagination. All sorts of wrenches can be thrown into the works that change everything. For example, if you look back at the current maps you can see something brewing off the Carolina coast. That is just the sort of small detail a computer model might miss. If it grew larger than expected it could cause #4 to wobble, and just as a small pebble can cause a huge avalanche, cause-and-effect would lead to cause-and-effect, and the storm for Thanksgiving could vanish completely, except for the sheepish grins on the faces of forecasters, [except for Joe Bastardi’s, (because he only said a storm would be in the news this week, and didn’t give specific details.)]

In any case, though I don’t like to be ruled by the vapors of worry, I should get back to bed. I’ve got a lot to do before snow buries us. However…..I’m not tired. What can I do that will promote sleep?

Hmm. My poetry. It seems to work on everyone else.

VAPORS OF MY MIND

Peeking downwards from the verge
I tire of this edginess
And think I’ll turn away
From my constant fear
Of dying; of rejection; of exposure;
Of what happens anyway
Though I seek to disappear it
Though I cannot grasp or steer it
And it’s gone each time I near it.

Vapors of my mind I think
Are despots of asylum rooms
Which cultivate a thousand dooms
That window box as danger looms
And fight ferocious pansy blooms.

Tapers in my temple wink
An eye lashing of candlelight
And think it foolish that I fight
An escalator’s up-bound flight,
Dashing down with all my might.

Tired of this edginess
I think I’ll turn away
From what seems a sort of suicide
Made of mental, muddled pride.
Instead of flapping I will glide.
Who knows? I might enjoy the ride.

Hmm.  It didn’t work.  I’m not sleepy. Maybe I’ll try eating a big bowl of oatmeal.