LOCAL VIEW —Drought-buster—

I seldom root against my favorite weathermen. Their job is rough enough as it is, and has enough humbling involved for ten men.

Weathermen also have to deal with a fair number of twerps who remind me of myself when I was thirteen, though they are old enough to know better.

These twerps like to portray themselves as being able to out-forecast the weathermen, and then to have what is tantamount to a ticker-tape parade for themselves, as they sneer at the weathermen for being wrong. Of course, if the twerp was honest he would see he is very seldom as adept as the weatherman, however he is very quiet about all the times he is wrong, and sweeps scores of botched forecasts under the rug, and conveniently forgets them. It is only on those rare occasions when the twerp is right that he becomes insufferably vain, and insufferably condescending towards weathermen.

I suppose we all were a bit like that when we were thirteen. It is the beginnings of the competitive instinct which can take a complete twerp and turn him into a splendid forecaster, if he is lucky enough to be guided by wise mentors. And I also suppose that is why splendid weathermen do not shoot the twerps who assail them. They see a bit of themselves in the obnoxious little egotists.

If course, you do not want to look in the mirror at age sixty-two, as I am, and see an obnoxious little egotist. Unfortunately, (speaking for all when I probably should speak only for myself), there seems to be a bit of the obnoxious little twerp in every man. It is a part of us that refuses to die, no matter how hard we strive to be perfect. Only God is perfect, and  the sooner we recognize this fact the sooner we develop the ability to accept our own humanity, and the humanity of others, which seems essential, if joy is to enter our lives. The alternative is to be pissed off all the time about failures.

In any case, one reason I like following the world of weather and weather forecasts is because there are few things quite so humbling as trying to forecast the chaos we call our weather. The only other occupation which attempts such difficult forecasting of chaotic systems is psychiatry, but psychiatrists can blame their patients when they are wrong. It is very hard for meteorologists to blame the sky.

And so it is that, because weathermen are taking on such a insurmountable challenge, I tend to root for them. I want them to experience those shining moments when they are correct. Even if they were merely gamblers, I’d want them to appreciate those lucky times when a gambler is “on a roll”, however I know enough about forecasting to see when a lot more is involved than sheer luck. (Not that luck isn’t involved, to some degree, at times.)

I only hope weathermen are wrong when we are on the verge of setting a local record, but some forecast weather event is going to spoil it for us. For example, New Hampshire has been amazingly dry, this spring. I personally have never seen a spring quite so dry, but it looks like it will not quite fit into the somewhat arbitrary 31-day time-period called, “The Month Of May.”

I don’t see what is so good about 31-days. After all, February has 28 days. Or why does the period have to begin on May first? Why couldn’t it begin on April 27?  But no one asked me, when they wrote the rules, and so it is a couple of lousy showers at the very end of May will keep this May out of the record books. It will not be remembered. Only guys like me, who were out there in the weather, will know how amazing it was.

Not that the land isn’t crying out for rain. I just feel that, having had to deal with the nuisance of dryness for so long, putting up with a couple more days of it would be worth it, for then we’d get some credit. As it is, no one will remember we tough outdoors-men, who weathered the weather.

A heat wave this week made the dryness parch with extra power. A polar high sank south and merged with the extension of the Azores High we call, “The Bermuda High,” and warm air surged north on the west side, but did so without a warm front. Or, a warm front was visible, if you looked for high clouds, but not if you looked for rain. The rain was back west, towards the Great lakes, and then, as the warm front developed more, the rain extended east, but by then the frontal boundary was north of us, and the rain fell up by the Canadian border. Our only hope of rain was from a following cold front, well to our west:

20150527 satsfc

20150527 rad_ec_640x480 I was fairly certain this front would drench us, because my wife had scheduled an event at our Childcare involving lots of parents, and held outside. It has been my experience that, if she scheduled such an event in the Sahara Desert, the desert would bloom.

I myself tend to grumble when my wife holds these events, for three main reasons.

First, she expects me to make the farm look more groomed than any hardscrabble farm has any right to look. Even when I explain daisies and buttercups make a beautiful playground, she wants it mowed like a golf course. That means I have to mow in clouds of dust and 90 degree heat, so of course I grumble a bit.

Second, I can’t help but cringe at the expenses, especially as they are business expenses. I have my doubts that the IRS will approve of strawberries and whipped cream as a business expense, but my wife wants the parents treated like royalty. So I grumble about that as well.

Lastly, the idea of a graduation ceremony for preschoolers seems completely absurd to me. It is so absurd I can’t grumble.  Instead I stand back and watch, often in admiration and amazement, as she and members of the staff organize children too young to organize, and have them enchanting parents with song and dance routines. The fact this usually is occurring in a driving rain with lightning flashing and thunder crashing doesn’t seem to bother the doting parents a bit. They always fill Facebook with flattering comments, and pictures of drenched people smiling, and the event is always a wonderful success, which defies all logic, (and I do grumble a bit about that.)

I was slightly annoyed she was holding the event a little early this year, as it promised to ruin our chances for the driest May ever, with the typical deluge. You could see the big storms developing out in upper New York State, and moving towards us, but it seemed my wife got the timing wrong, as her event was scheduled for six o’clock and the storms weren’t expected to hit until seven-thirty, when the event would be ending.

20150527B satsfc

20150527B rad_ne_640x480

Looking at the above radar map. you can see the big storms entering western Massachusetts and crossing from Vermont to New Hampshire, but you can also see the storms have a sort of waistline, right on the Massachusetts border. This often happens. Storms, when they come from the west, pass north of us and south of us.

Also the storms died down swiftly as the heat of the day faded. Looking at the above radar shot you’d doubt the line of showers could pass and give us only 0.07 inches of rain, but that is what happened.

We had traditions to keep, and they were kept. At the end of our event the small children took their parents out to see various parts of the woods behind the Farm-childcare. Small children like being able to be guides, and show their parents places with names like, “The Cliffs”, “Lightning Rock”, “Reptilian Grove”, and “Checkerberry Woods”.  They all vanished into the trees in a leisurely, ambling manner. Then there was a single, loud boom of thunder. It was wonderful how swiftly everyone reappeared.

But amazingly that single boom was the only boom we got.

It didn’t take long for the sun to dry everything, the next morning. After all, in late May the sun is as high as it is in hot July.

Yesterday morning was what may turn out to be the peak of our dry spell. Lawns were starting to have brown patches, as if it was August. Even the trees, with deep roots that go down to where the water-table remembers February’s deep snows, were showing a slow-down I never recall seeing before. For example, now is when the leader shoots of pines, (and every other plant as well), grows with their most frantic speed, to climb above the competition, but the leader shoots seemed short. Without brains, the vegetables were reassessing their profits and liabilities.

Once again, in the afternoon, a line of thunderstorms developed, but this time it was not so fat and impressive.

20150528B satsfc

20150528B rad_ne_640x480_10

If you look at the above radar shot, understanding red represents heavy rains, you will notice it is red in Maine, and red in Massachusetts, but only green in New Hampshire. Yes, it happened again. Big storms passed to our north, and to our south. However this time we got the skirts of both storms, complete with wonderfully cooling downbursts and tumbling lines of purple clouds, so this time we got 0.35 inches of rain.

And today it is bone dry again, with the closest rain well to our west.

20150529 satsfc

20150529 rad_nat_640x480 However it is too late. That 0.35 inches of rain spoiled our chance to set a record. Therefore we might as well hope my favorite forecasters are correct. At his site at Weatherbell, Joseph D’Aleo is using Dr. Ryan Maue’s marvelous maps to suggest we will move from being the driest part of the USA:

Droughtbuster 1 cpc_anom_60_usa_1(4)

To Boston being hit by five inches of rain, from next Sunday to next Wednesday.

Droughtbuster 2 ecmwf_tprecip_boston_41

Boston is five inches below normal, so five inches would be a real drought-buster for them. But if you look at that same map, you will notice a bulge of lighter red, indicating around two inches of rain, poking down from New Hampshire to central Massachusetts. And yes, that is us again. We do seem to miss out on the deluges, this year.

Not that 0.35 inches hasn’t made an enormous difference. It was amazing how much greener our landscape was this morning. And all the weeds in my garden have doubled in size. Therefore, if I do not post this weekend, you will understand why, and what I am doing. (Weeding.)


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