ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Displaced Cold–

Yesterday’s (Thursday’s) morning maps showed a more traditional and textbook situation, with a roaring North Atlantic “Icelandic” low on one side of the Pole, and another roaring North Pacific “Aleutian” gale (displaced north) on the other. In terms of isobars, “Ralph” is a mere shadow of himself, north of the Canadian Archipelago.

dmi4-1027-mslp_latest-bigHowever I have grown partial to “Ralph” over the past three months, and intend to avoid scientific objectivity and instead display unabashed bias, and to seek to see Ralph even when the evidence is scanty. Therefore I turn to the temperature maps, and, lo and behold! The Icelandic Gale’s east side seems to be sucking a nice juicy plume of milder air up over the Pole, to swirl into the diminished Ralph. This curl of mildness, seen over the Pole on and off for nearly a year now,  can even be called Ralph’s “signature”.


It is interesting to note the Aleutian Low also sucked milder air up through Bering Strait to the Arctic Sea, but that low is more greedy, and sucked the mildness back into itself as a curl in East Siberia, (which is rather far north for the Aleutian Low to lodge), rather than sharing a plume with Ralph at the Pole.

In any case, this pattern is different from the more ho-hum patterns of other years. During other autumns, until the coastal waters of the Arctic Sea were frozen, they warmed the air, which tended to rise,  as meanwhile the tundra was covered with fresh snow and tended to generate cold air in the swiftly diminishing daylight, and that air  sank. The cold air over the tundra became a “land breeze” that moved out over the ocean, replacing the air that had risen, and also (because, unlike most south winds, it was frigid), speeding the coastal refreeze. The areas of rising air over the open coastal waters of the Arctic Sea also created environments friendly to low pressure systems, which  tended to roll east along the coasts, assisting the “land breeze” in front of them, and slowing or reversing it to their lee.  As the coastal waters froze these little lows found less support, and because the waters tended to freeze first to the east, you would first notice the lows weakened over the East Siberian Sea, and later they’d weaken over the Laptev Sea when that sea refroze, and then weaken over the Kara Sea when it too froze, until they usually didn’t progress far beyond Barents Sea, once winter had deepened and the coasts were frozen solid. But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.

This year’s pattern has been different. It has involved  north-rushing intrusions of mild air from both the Atlantic and Pacific, and with air rushing in at one point it must be escaping somewhere else, either aloft or in a way that messes up the frigid “land breezes”.

If the air over the Pole contains air from the Atlantic and Pacific, rather than air from tundras, it will of course be milder, and the result of this will be that Alarmists will be as pleased as punch, and jump up and down. (This has been verified by study after after study, and has entered the lexicon of meteorologists as a weather-related phenomenon known as JAS. [Jumping Alarmist Syndrome] If you notice JAS, it is milder at the Pole. )

In terms of whether the Pole is above-normal or below-normal, Pacific and Atlantic air will cause the Pole to look white hot (though the above map reminds us it is in fact below freezing.) An anomaly map is below, so you can see the white heat:


Besides JAS, there are other weather-related thingies to contemplate, and one involves thinking of the above map as an infrared picture of your house. In such infrared pictures white is not a good thing to see, because it means you have lousy insulation and the heat that should be staying in the house is escaping. In like manner, (OK, I admit it, it is only remotely alike),  the white in the above map hints at far above normal amounts of heat escaping our planet into outer space.

I’m not exactly sure what units are used to measure heat-lost-to-space. It doesn’t really matter. It could be “filberts” for all I care. The important thing is that it is a variable, and we are at an extreme. If an ordinary year saw 6.35 filberts escape, this year we would be pegging the dial at an unheard of 19.92 filberts, or some such thing. It is causing a lot of JAS, and shows up clearly in the DMI temperatures-above-80°-north-latitude-graph.


You can compare the above graph with prior DMI graphs clear back to 1958 and you will see no autumn remotely as warm. This means one of two things. First, it may mean they are “adjusting” the data in the incredibly foolish manner Gavin Schmidt is adjusting the USA temperature data. (Foolish because Gavin’s falsifying is so blatantly obvious that, eventually, someone will have to pay the piper.) Or, second, it may actually be the warmest autumn the Pole has seen in the past 58 years, and warmest by far.

Assuming the latter is the case it is likely this event will be a wrench in the workings of the models. I am assuming this, but I deem it likely that, among the multitude of variables such models are attempting to grasp, there are some they don’t bother with. From my reading I know there are some mighty huge variables they either ignore, or handle as if they are fixed figures which do not vary at all. I imagine that a small thing, such as the heat-lost-to-outer-space by the waters north of Bering Strait and north of Fram Strait, is either a fixed number, 6.35 filberts, or else is deemed to be so meaningless that it might as well be a fixed number.

I would like to suggest it is a major event that should be getting more press than Hillary, (and that I should get a scientific grant for saying so, for even though I am not a scientist, I do qualify as a publicist, which is really all Mark Serezze amounts to.  If he gets six figures, why shouldn’t I?)

I would like to suggest it likely indicates a major event is on the table, for two reasons.

First, you cannot squander so much heat without it showing up in the so-called “energy budget.” True, the “Quiet Sun” may have reduced trade winds, and other winds as well, which may reduce the amount of cold up-welling, which may allow more warm surface waters to influence surface air temperatures, but a budget is still a budget, and even if you double your income you can’t ignore it, if your in-laws are tripling your expenses. Even if things average-out over the entire planet, in the local area of the Pole squandering such unprecedented amounts of heat to outer space is bound to eventually result in a local chill. Or so I think, and wonder about.

Second, though the heat may be lost to outer space, the air isn’t, and with so much mild air sucked north there must be a return flow of air, that was resident over the Pole, southwards. Even if the air was “above normal” north of 80°N, it will not be called “above normal” once it gets south of 70°N. And here is where the anomaly maps get interesting, for to the south they show no white heat.

The area of the entire Arctic Sea is only slightly larger than the land area of Europe, and the cold over Europe nearly equals the mildness over the Pole.


However this cold only represents the tip of the iceberg that lies in Asia. Asia is huge, much larger than the Arctic Sea and Europe combined, and the cold that has concentrated is like nothing I recall ever seeing before in October, and is worthy of the abused word “unprecedented”.


(It should be noted that the cold seen in the above map is not a brief “cold spell”,  but rather represents a lasting pattern the people of Central Asia are likely sick to death of.)

If this pattern holds, Europe is in for a winter so cold that, next spring, the population of Syria will likely have quadrupled. Not only will all the the Syrians have decided Europe is a bad deal, and have gone home, but a lot of Swedes,Danes and Finns will have decided Syria sounds cozy. It will be interesting to see what a complete mess the UN will make of the new situation….if it occurs….which it likely won’t.

It likely won’t, because we are likely seeing a meteorological extreme (even if everyone seems determined to ignore it) and such extremes provoke backlashes. Every action has a reaction, and so on and so forth.

What exactly the reaction will be I can’t say. I find it hard to trust models at all, in such unusual situations, because they trend towards averages, and nothing about the current situation is average. However one interesting solution they are seeing is that faithful old “Ralph” will get utterly wiped off the map, at least in the short term, as a gargantuan high pressure abruptly builds over the Pole.

That may just be the models trying to make things get back to average. However, even if it happened, the return-to-average would be very abrupt. And, if I have learned anything in my days of watching clouds, it is that abruptness does not lead to tranquility.

Stay tuned.

Post Script

One interesting side-observation involves the swift refreeze of the Laptev Sea, over the past week to ten days. What is unusual and interesting is that the refreeze is not due to the cold air of the tundra pushing north as a “land breeze”, but rather  due to the cold air over the Pole needing an escape route, with so much Pacific air rushing north on one side, and Atlantic air rushing north on the other. Usually the Laptev Sea is a northward exporter of ice and cold, but this autumn it is the importer of winds from the Pole, which in turn  has fed the cold in central Asia.


Besides being a wonder to me, I should also be humble and confess this is shattering some of my pet theories about “how things are suppose to happen.” I’ll have to revise that to “how things happen some years”, for this year is definitely different.

With the frigid tundra’s “land breezes” replaced by incursions of Atlantic and Pacific air, I’d expect the growth of sea-ice to be retarded, but I never expected the Laptev Sea to be the first sea skimmed by ice. It is a sign things are not as usual. Usually the first coastal sea to get ice is the East Siberian Sea. However that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.





LOCAL VIEW –Leafstrippers and Eagles–


The storm is up in Canada now, and the winds have died down, but the trees were not so pretty at daybreak today.


Notice the shutter hanging from the neighbor’s house. We got blasted by a leafstripper.  We moved from summer to winter in a roar.

Friday the wind was mild and southerly,  and the storm was brewing up over the Great Lakes, and for a time it seemed the heavier showers on its east side would move south to north to our west, over Vermont, and never progress east. I went to watch a grandson play a high-school soccer game, and a misty rain ended just before it started and then the entire game was played in various sorts of mild fog, ranging from thick and deep purple, as if thunder was coming, to light and colored like honey, as if the sun was about to break out. I was thinking a storm had to be coming, or else I was coming down with something, as my old bones were aching like crazy. It was foolish to stay out in the damp, but the game was well worth watching, especially as my grandson’s team won 2-1, with a heart-stopping shot by the opponents, in the final seconds, that squirted past our goalie and was dribbling towards the open goal before a frantically dashing defense-man  booted it away inches short of the goal line.

After all that excitement I just wanted to warm up by the fire, and sip some beer, and focus on writing, but the beer didn’t sit well in my stomach, which is not a good sign. I was starting to suspect my aching muscles might not merely indicate storm, though the Friday night sky filled with more pink lightning and sky-thunder than we got all summer. “So maybe it is the weather…” I suggested to my suggestible mind, trying to talk myself into being better.

I was incredibly stiff and sore Saturday morning, but it was my turn to cook at the Church’s men’s breakfast, so I dutifully trudged off and likely infected everyone there. I had no appetite, so I can’t have infected myself. Then I dutifully did dishes and dutifully trudged back home with one thing in mind: Going back to bed. However as I trudged up the stairs my wife’s lilting voice cheerfully reminded me, “We have to go to our CPR and First Aid re-certification class in half an hour. Goodness! I see no need for such language!”

Seldom have I been so dutiful and downright noble as I was, going back out into the rain to go to that class. Especially noble were my smiles at people as I entered the classroom. (Hopefully they weren’t too skullish). Then the minutes seemed like hours as I dragged through learning the same old stuff once again. The only amusement I find is noting where they change things. For example, tourniquets are back in style, after being frowned at for a bit. I suppose they figured the risk of choking off blood to an extremity was worth it, if the person didn’t bleed to death. Also teaching people CPR has been somewhat successful. When people collapsed of a heart attack, 98% of them used to die, but now only 85% do. Heart attack remains our leading cause if death.

The idea one should stop chest thrusts, and breath two puffs into the mouth of the victim, during CPR, is fading, as apparently people were getting brain damage from too much oxygen. This was learned from compating the results in cases where good Samaritans out on the the streets did the formal CPR, with cases where good Samaritans only did the chest thrusts because the idea of meeting lips with the patient seemed too yukky.

Instead in today’s classes  you pound the chest of the dummy twice as fast as you were suppose to in the old days. In the old days you were suppose to do it to the timing of “Another one bites the dust” (but never saying the words aloud) but now you are suppose to pound the chest 120 times a minute, pushing down two inches, which can break ribs, but only makes a little clicker click in the dummy, and also makes an old coot like me feel about ready to keel over, after 360 chest-thrusts or so. I wondered if maybe they’d have to practice CPR on a genuine specimen. All I can conclude is, if anyone’s heart ever quits on my watch, they had better revive in five minutes or we are both goners. However if you do the pounding that fast there is no need to breath into the mouth of someone who may have ingested poison,  as the commotion apparently stirs the air in the lungs enough to keep the blood oxygenated, even if no one in the class can pronounce the word “oxygenated”.

I didn’t get out until after 1:30, and by then the rain was cold and starting to drive. I was cold and wet by the time I got to the car, and as we drove home my wife didn’t much want to hear my opinion about bleepity-bleep state officials in nice warm offices, who never have to perform CPR, mandating others risk pneumonia by going out on a rainy Saturday when they ought to be in bed.

When I got home I couldn’t stop shivering, even under a warm blanket in a warm room, and I didn’t need a thermometer to know I’d got a fever spiking, despite gobbled aspirin. All I could do was set my jaw and prepared myself for the ride, which is never fun for me, as fever causes despairing to dominate my brain. Despite the wet weather, crimson leaves were swirling by my bedroom window and sticking to the glass.

In church we’ve been focusing on how those of faith will soar on new pinions like eagles. It seems a sort of Biblical version of the Phoenix, the mythical bird born again from its own ashes, but I was of so little faith I could only think I was getting the burning-up part right, but not the rest. After all, one of these days we will get sick and go down for the count, and when you are shivering and feeling worse and worse, and there is no improvement in sight, you hope for the best, but maybe part of you prepares for the worst. In any case, if I had to compare myself to a bird right then, it likely would not have been to a soaring eagle, but to a dead duck, blasted from the sky by a hunter.

I kept being woken from strange dreams by leaves spatting the window, and was confused it was daylight, and unsure what day it was…still today or already tomorrow? A long list of Saturday chores was being neglected. Out the window read and orange leaves kept blowing sideways, first one way and then the other, which let me understand the storm was growing into a leafstripper, and also brought Oliver Wendell Holmes’ poem “The Last Leaf In the Tree” traipsing through my head. I memorized it long ago, and now it wouldn’t quit:

I saw him once before,
As he passed by the door,
And again
The pavement stones resound,
As he totters o’er the ground
With his cane.

They say that in his prime,
Ere the pruning-knife of Time
Cut him down,
Not a better man was found
By the Crier on his round
Through the town.

But now he walks the streets,
And he looks at all he meets
Sad and wan,
And he shakes his feeble head,
That it seems as if he said,
“They are gone!”

The mossy marbles rest
On the lips that he has prest
In their bloom,
And the names he loved to hear
Have been carved for many a year
On the tomb.

My grandmamma has said–
Poor old lady, she is dead
Long ago–
That he had a Roman nose,
And his cheek was like a rose
In the snow;

But now his nose is thin,
And it rests upon his chin
Like a staff,
And a crook is in his back,
And a melancholy crack
In his laugh.

I know it is a sin
For me to sit and grin
At him here;
But the old three-cornered hat,
And the breeches, and all that,
Are so queer!

And if I should live to be
The last leaf upon the tree
In the spring,
Let them smile, as I do now,
At the old forsaken bough
Where I cling.

Pretty sad stuff, and the violins of my self-pity might have nursed a few tears down my cheeks, but if I was going to going to cry about anything it was about my goats needing to be fed. That was one chore I couldn’t skip. But one joy of farming is that you get to go outside when others stay in, so I went out into the bluster and saw a few lava-like cracks in cloud-cover to the west, and also put up with a lot of nagging by seven goats who do not approve of late meals. Then I headed home to some hot soup, which I didn’t much feel like eating, and a granddaughter, who I didn’t much feel like watching (and who may have given me the ‘flu), and a movie about a pig I didn’t much feel like watching either, “Babe”. However as I sat I begrudged that I liked the movie, especially as the hero is an odd, old farmer who, in the end, is victorious, soaring on new pinions like eagles, albeit in a rather low-key and nonchalant way.

I was starting to shiver again and knew it was time for more aspirin and more bed, and so I handed off the sleepy granddaughter and took a dive in my pillow. Next thing I knew it was ten hours later. (I never sleep like that.)

I felt a bit better, so I took a long, hot shower and then tottered off to my duties as an elder at a tiny church, (listening with a certain, less-than-faithful cynicism to the stuff in the sermon about soaring on new pinions like eagles), and then tottered home and again dove into my pillow. I knew I had a long list of Saturday chores to catch up on, but if I am a eagle I am a recuperating eagle. Anyway, Sunday is suppose to be a day of rest. I concluded that actually I was spiritual to loaf, as I listened to the wind roar and the leaves, now drying, hush and scour by the window. I knew I’d have to eventually feed the goats, but drifted through dreams about last leaves on the tree, and people of my generation who are leaves who have already left the tree, and other morbid stuff, until I wondered if my life was passing before my eyes, and also was getting a tad fed up. I should be getting better by now. I should be soaring like an eagle by now.

By the time I finally budged I knew I’d get more nagging from my goats, but before I could leave the house my wife mentioned the stove was on the fritz and the oven didn’t work. Another chore. Then, as I headed to the farm I clicked on the radio, and was annoyed that I had forgotten all about the football game. I must be sick or something, to forget that! And even more aggravating was the fact the Patriots were ahead 14-0 when I turned the radio on, but the tide of the game shifted and it was soon 14-7, and then, as I listened at the farm with the heater on and the engine running, it became 14-10. And if that wasn’t annoying enough, I couldn’t even listen to the game in the privacy of my truck without a bunch of goats looking at me indignantly through the glass and nagging at the top of their lungs, until I replied, “All right all right all right ALL RIGHT”. (Animal Rights Activists please note: I did not use a single bad word.)

As I got out and looked around the farm seemed a shambles. Bags of trash were still in their bags, but the entire bags had been lifted clear across the yard and plopped in odd places.  Plywood was flung about and lawn furniture rearranged, but I just didn’t want to deal with that. Feeding the goats was enough for now. If I just rested a little more  I could surely show up for work early on Monday, and face the mountain of chores. As I drove home the Patriots lead shrank to 14-13.

When I was a boy I was ridiculously superstitious about my power to influence sporting events through my actions. My older brothers could drive me wild by switching the Red Sox  game from the AM station to the FM station, and then holding me back from the radio and forcing me to listen to the Red Sox blow another lead and again lose. (They nearly always lost, back then.) I was convinced the Red Sox would have been a first place team, (they always came in 8th or 9th), were it not for my brothers listening on FM.

I blame the fever, but some sort of echo of that nature returned as I shut off the radio in disgust and shivered. I just felt I must be doing something wrong, when nothing went right. I felt this way even though I know the reasonable and mature outlook is to see we live in a time of immediate gratifications, and if people look at the cards they are dealt, and don’t see a royal flush, they tend feel fate is cruel and God is unkind and to start up their violins, and that behavior is downright infantile. However, though I can think mature thoughts, I confess I still have an immature heart.

In any case I hunched out of my truck and went slogging through a profound gloom, stomping up the the front steps dejectedly, and then took a deep breath and prepared a fake smile. At the door I was met by a laughing daughter with a funny tale, a granddaughter hugging a better tackle than the Patriots were doing, a jealous, wagging dog that wanted equal attention, and the sight and smell of a roast chicken. I asked my wife, “How can you roast a chicken with no oven?” She explained her craftiness as we sat down to eat.

I have heard chicken is very good for sick people. It seems to have worked on me. I went back to bed, (after turning on the radio and learning the Patriots did manage to win,) and again slept like a log. But there no way around facing the music of Monday morning, and the fact that one chore I didn’t do was take down the summer awning at the front of the Childcare. 


The awning was pivoted completely around on one leg, despite the legs being anchored by pins and bags of stones. One bag of stones was thrown ten feet away. Now that’s some gust!


It gave me something to do, and an excuse to avoid going indoors and perhaps spreading residual germs to children. I chased down some missing lawn furniture and tidied up, and then the small boys came out and wanted to throw a football around. (Among six year old’s I’m still a star athlete.) I was huffing and puffing pretty quickly, but the fresh air likely did me good. Then the bus came, nine trooped off into it, and I drove a smaller bunch to kindergarten, marveling at how the wind had changed the landscape.

Fully half the leaves are gone in a single blow, but there’s still some left, and I seemed to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, and even to see there were some views I couldn’t see before, that were revealed, now that there were fewer leaves in the way. As I drove back from the kindergarten one view stopped me in my tracks, and I got out of the van to click a quick picture.


And then, only because I was out of the van, I saw the big bird powerfully surging along the ridge-line. I was so awed I nearly missed my chance to take a picture.


It was a bald eagle. Not an old one, with silver hair like mine, but a young one, brown-headed, and strong like no other bird. Their wings are straight out when they soar (Vultures hang from their wings in a “V”) and when they power with their wings they can cut through a gale. I never saw one in New England, until five years ago, and still get a thrill each time I see they are coming back.

Maybe I’m too old to believe in omens, but you have to admit it was a rather nice coincidence to see an eagle, just then.

In any case, I’m back. Did two simple jobs today that gained great kudos. Fixed a plugged toilet at the Childcare, and replaced a fuse that got the oven working at home. I like the jobs that are done in five minutes and gain you acclaim.  But…our world is held together by those who work long and hard unnoticed. They are the true eagles on whose backs the rest of us fly.



I’m trying hard to keep my mind off the election, because it seems bad for my gut to think of it. All I need to do is broach the subject, and I find myself restlessly pacing like a lion in a cage. But what can I do? I am only an old grouch with a single vote. My lone vote will likely  be countered by someone in the “corpses-for-Clinton” category. Instead of a sword all I have is a pen, and it doesn’t feel all that mighty, no matter what Edward Bulwer-Lytton may have hoped to convey with:

“True, This! —
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanter’s wand! — itself is nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyze the Caesars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it!”

In Hebrews 4:12 it states:

“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.”

The prophet Mohammed purportedly said,

“The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr”

Of course, the power of the pen can work for fools as well as the wise. In his play “Hamlet”, talking about young, ignorant, loud playwrights and actors, Rosencrantz states,

“…But there is, sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question and are most tyrannically clapped for ’t. These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common stages—so they call them—that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose quills and dare scarce come thither.”

The power of the pen exists whether one uses goose quills or computer keyboards, and explains why my American Forefathers were so big on Freedom of Speech and the power of a Free Press. It may also explain why the so-called “elite” currently in Washington DC want to have a completely compliant media, that only echoes their opinions like parrots.

There have been all sorts of versions of pen-is-more-mighty-than-the-sword across the mists of time, and likely, before the pen was invented, “the word was more mighty than the club”, (as I have occasionally displayed at bars, while fast-talking my way out of a confrontation with a Neanderthal), but one of my favorites, (as a writer), occurred when Akbar was the great Mogul emperor of India, and a king up to his north (King Abdullah of Bokhara, in what is now Uzbekistan), purportedly said something along the lines of,

“I am more afraid of Abu’l-Fazl’s pen than of Akbar’s sword.”

Akbar was an amazing historical character, and one of the neat tales I’ve heard about him involves when the Portuguese wanted to build trading posts on his coast, and protect their posts with cannons. The tale states Akbar said he would let them do it, as long as he could build trading posts along the coast of Portugal, protected with his cannons.  The Portuguese realized they were not dealing with a fool, and headed further south, and focused their energies on their “trading post” at Goa.

Akbar was not merely brilliant, but attracted other brilliant minds.  Abu’l-Fazl was one of them, and was counted as one of the nine “pearls” of his court.

The current elite of Washington DC like to think of themselves as pearls. (There are far more than nine, and may number a million, though Wikileaks suggests they think they are the pearl, and their contemporaries are not pearls.) but I fear they are increasingly seen as quahogs by the ordinary citizen.

(A quahog is a clam on the coast of New England which almost never has pearls, and, when it does, the pearl is almost always misshapen and worthless. One in a million quahogs contains a pearl of value.) (I should mention I often have opened quahogs with a knife to use the raw innards as bait. When the fishing is really, really bad, I just eat the quahogs instead,  like oysters. The “foot” is chewy while the “stomach” is a gelatinous mass it is best not to look at, as you slurp it from the shell. The jelly-like nature of the quahog “stomach” may explain a bit of Cape Cod slang, which is as follows: When a heavy smoker develops a bad cough and cold, and his cough brings up a particularly gross glob of mucus, the disgusting blob he spits into the sand is called a “quahog.”)

Anyway, as I was saying, the “elite” of Washington DC increasingly resembles quahogs, rather than pearls.

It has been amazing to watch the elite fall into disgrace, and I have had an unique view of their downfall, for though I am poor and humble today, years and years and years ago I was on the periphery of being one of the elite. (I have been very downwardly mobile, since then.)

Back when I was a teen in 1968 my stepfather, (likely fearing for the safety of his home, if I was left home alone), used to drag me whining and sulking to his yearly reunion of the OPA. The OPA was the “Office of Price Administration”, which was Harry Truman’s desperate attempt to control the complete chaos that was unleashed when World War Two ended, and a military that had expanded from 174,000 in 1939 to over 16 million was abruptly asked to disband, or at least reduce its size to a half million.

In fact most of the people in the armed forces were not volunteers, and were chaffing at the bit to be free again.  However the fact of the matter there was not even the housing extant to shelter them, as few homes had been built during the Great Depression, and almost none during the war.

To have 15 million young people abruptly free was a frightening prospect, especially as, after seeing so much death in the war, they had a huge instinct to make babies and have large families. It was a chaos we cannot imagine, especially as we have a current chaos to attend to, that we are having difficulty imagining.

The OPA did well in some respects and less well in others. I’ll leave it to others to argue the finer points. The primary feeling I got at the reunions was that the survivors were amazed things hadn’t turned out far worse. They were Harry Truman democrats, and had a practical, pragmatic side which modern democrats can’t imagine, and I wish I had payed more attention than I did, as they reminisced about their travails. One thing I recall was they sang “OPA songs”, describing political opponents from 1946, laughing as they recalled the battles, though it was 22 years later by 1968. (In fact they were officially part of the “Office Of Economic Stabilization”, but they sang they were the “OPA” rather than “OES”.)

I could have cared less. They were nothing but a bunch of old farts, to me. However it did dawn on me that I was amidst a sort of afterglow of glory. I was in the company of retired kings, who were kings no more. There was something odd in the atmosphere.

The event was held at Chester Bowles’ place in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. No one explained to me Chester was a former Governor of Connecticut, Representative to Congress, twice Ambasador to India, and other stuff. To me he was just an old, shaky goat with Parkinson’s. I completely blew a chance to acquire knowledge, for it was a chance for me to mingle with the “elite” of that time, and I would have none of it. I hung about the edges of conversations and silently scowled, emanating disapproval.

As a teen my disapproval was a mishmash of unformed ideas that, in retrospect, seems very hypocritical. On one hand I could believe in Free Love, while on the other hand I respected fidelity, and frowned on any sort of “cheating”. And so on and so forth. I hadn’t thought things out.

After these elite elders had a few drinks, they’d open up and discuss the shortcomings of their peers, and even, occasionally, confess their own, (of 22 years earlier). I’d scowl and listen, as they laughed about the time so-and-so got too drunk, the time so-and-so went home with the cook rather than his wife, the time so-and-so promised the same political appointment to two different people, and I was shocked. SHOCKED, to hear of such shenanigans. After all, they were suppose to be old, and of a generation that was repressed by rules, and I was supposedly of the new breed, free to do as I wished. I was the one suppose to be breaking the rules, not them.

I must say this: Although they were indeed backbiting, gossipping, and to some degree bad-mouthing, it was nothing like the stuff Wikileaks demonstrates currently takes place in Washington DC. Rather than contempt there was pity, rather than disgust there was forgiveness, and rather than hate there seemed to even be a sort of love. Even though they  were old and out of power, and facing the resurgence of their dreaded foe and nemesis Richard Nixon, they were not so hateful and threatened as the modern Liberals are by Donald Trump.

Back then I think people had a sort of “boys will be boys” attitude about the shortcomings of politicians. Churchill might smoke fat, stinking cigars,  and publicly state “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me”, but people forgave his shortcomings, for they felt he was working very hard for them. People might not have known about other shortcomings other politicians had, (or only have heard the shortcomings murmured and whispered), but people back then had the feeling at least half of the government was on their side. Now such feelings seem naive. The trust has been frittered away, and people feel both parties are foes, and in cahoots.

People are increasingly disgusted, and less willing to say “boys will be boys” or “girls will be girls.” As I try to get my mind off the election, my mind keeps gravitating back to the difference I am sensing. What has changed?

Today I found myself wondering if the misbehavior my elders chuckled over, and I was so appalled by, at age fifteen in 1968, was the thin edge of a wedge. It was the beginnings of an infection, a slight redness. It could be laughed at, and dismissed as a “foible”, but it kept getting worse and worse, over the years, until now it is an infection resembling gangrene, and requiring amputation.

Before World War Two the efforts of both the “doves” and the “hawks” sought to avoid war. Churchill was derided, as a war-monger, because he wanted to stop Hitler with power, as others thought they could halt Hitler with appeasement, but all yearned for Peace. Then, at some point, people awoke to the fact Peace might no longer be possible.

I cannot find the text, but at some point Winston’s wife Clementine wrote him a plaintive and sweet cry of anguish, and the words were something along the lines of, “Oh Winnie, are we sliding into a war?”

I have the same sort of feeling, as I pace around today. “Oh America, are we sliding into a revolution?”

But what can I do? I am just an old man
With a pen, who never slept with the editor
And never obeyed the rules they smooched. I ran
Like a timid mouse, though you can be sure
I was a haughty mouse. I would not join
Their catty corruption. And I’ve watched them sink
Lower and lower as they’ve kicked the groin
Of honor. Now they’ve made a sewer, and stink,
And all look at them knowingly, and thank
God they don’t share power, as stink wins new terms
speaking what they call a “policy plank”,
But the plank is of wood so full of worms
That they sail a ship dishonesty sank
As voters raise pens to fill in the blank.

When I tear my mind away from the grim reality of the election, I see life goes on, for ordinary people.  Children still swarm my Childcare as parents hurry to work, and the children quarrel and fight about things, utterly unaware of how they resemble Washington DC, and then silence descends as they troop to the bus.


And in that silence I hear what the din of humanity usually hides. The sound of drops falling from colored leaves on a misty morning. And I also see things that escaped my sight.

Last spring an ex-employee planted cosmos in a tub by the gate, but so hot and dry was the summer that, despite watering, the cosmos never did well.  Many other plants bloomed, and the employee became my daughter-in-law, but the cosmos only sulked in the tub, as the newlyweds left for their brand new life, far away.

Only in September did the first buds form, and, as frost after frost cut plants down in the garden it seemed impossible the buds could ever bloom. September became October, and the frosts were sharper, but the cosmos plant only made more and more buds, and no blooms. Half of October passed, and a freeze killed even the most sheltered tomatoes, and I became very busy making sauce from the ruins, and then this morning I happened to look towards the tub as the children waited for the bus,  and saw….


It surprised me that cosmos could survive frosts and freezes even after October 15, and burst into bloom. Perhaps America, the Land Of The Free, is the same, and will burst into riotous bloom after November 8.




Hillary mentioned the children of Syria in last night’s debate, mentioning a tragic picture making the media rounds, which is of course a good way to stop our brains from functioning, and to touch our hearts.

The problem is that pictures can be faked. I know about this because my family  has been involved in medicine, surgery, nursing and rescue work since I was born, and I have, for over sixty years, seen “simulated wounds.”

I think the first simulated wounds I saw were a plaster sequence of gory abdomens simulating the surgical removal of an appendix,  donated by the Massachusetts General Hospital to  the Museum of Science just down the street, around 1959. Since then they have gotten better and better at simulations, especially in regards to training ambulance workers.

The first wound I saw that could “spurt blood” was around 1975, and was invented originally to train medics in the Vietnam war, and then the simulations evolved further in order to train EMTs how to handle disaster situations involving triage, where first responders have to swiftly decide who has the best chance of survival and will die without treatment, who will survive without treatment, and who is likely going to die even if treated.

Unfortunately this skill is now being used for propaganda purposes, and there are some fine examples of wounds being created to cause our hearts to lurch.


The media should be on guard to avoid being made into chumps.


Unfortunately, there is some evidence our media is gladly performing as chumps, in order to support our presidents policy in Syria.

War is hell. It is vile, and hard on the hearts of even the toughest men. Post-traumatic-stress has a long history, past the times it was called “battle fatigue” and “shell shock.” War is even harder on women and children, even when soldiers try to make sure they are protected. When women and children are instead beheaded,  we are entering a lower level of hell.

In times like this it behooves our media to be especially hard-hearted and cynical about all pictures it receives. Sadly, they are merely behaving like chumps and tools of governments. It is up to us, the people, to harden our hearts and examine the grim evidence for signs of fraud and forgery. The really good reporting now occurs on small websites. Here is an interesting example:

I am disappointed in the mainstream media’s failure to do due diligence. If individuals at small websites can utilize the ability of modern computers to identify a picture (even when it is clipped), and see when a picture from an earlier time and place is “reused” for propaganda purposes, why cannot a major network do the same?

Modern computers are able to utilize “face recognition” to identify the same individual in a wide variety of pictures. If independent bloggers can use this feature to spot a good actor who appears in dramatic poses in too many “action shots” for coincidence to credibly allow, why cannot a major network with millions of dollars do the same?

I used to think the reason for the media’s failures was laziness, or perhaps reduced budgets, but increasingly I suspect the media is a willing accomplice of those who do not wish the public to know the Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

The American people must refuse to allow their heart strings to be plucked, and played like banjo’s, by opportunistic politicians using sound-bytes and pictures.


It should be noted that, if any journalist claims they “had no idea false images might be involved”, as if this is some new phenomenon they were not prepared for, then that journalist must be very poorly educated. A little over a decade ago Reuters was caught changing images involving Israeli missile strikes in southern Lebanon.

The primary difference between 2006 and 2016 seems to be that, in 2006, journalists at least pretended to be ashamed.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph the Elephant–

I tended to dream, withdraw and avoid a lot, looking out windows and studying clouds rather than the blackboard, when I was back in school,  and I’m still prone to focusing on writing rather than riches, as an adult, but at times such avoidance catches up with me, and my avoidance has to avoid other things.  Recently I’ve been busy avoiding bankruptcy, which tends to put a subject such as sea-ice on the back burner. However, Thank God, I eked out a way to pay bills, and can now reward myself with a bit of time gazing at clouds and sea-ice.

Not that I didn’t peek at the views from O-buoy 14 even when avoiding bankruptcy, but I couldn’t post on them. The buoy went through a loop in Parry Channel, first moving northeast, then northwest, and then a long way back west. The westward movement meant the ice, which had been compressing in the channel, spread out and leads of open water appeared. obuoy-14-1001-webcamAfter moving west the camera again reversed, moving southwest, southeast, and then due east. The camera very nearly was destroyed as the ice crunched up again, at one point tilting and looking down, but it survived and now has crossed its own track and continues on east in Parry Channel, with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping towards 0°F (-18°C), and the views often gorgeous.obuoy-14-1006-webcam


Of interest were the surges of milder air heading north over the past month, even as the temperatures fell.


These surges were part of a truly remarkable occurrence at the Pole, which I have jokingly dubbed “Ralph”. Low pressure has persisted, and seems to be to some degree persistently ignored, as a sort of elephant in the room, despite the fact the warmth ought to get Alarmists rejoicing, for it is producing the mildest DMI temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude graph ever, for the start of winter.


Each recent peak in the above graph represents fuel, as a sort of “feeder band” of mildness and moisture, for “Ralph”. Ralph represents a drain of heat from our planet into outer space. It is a new and interesting pattern, and seems worth more attention than it has received. It is different from other examples of the AO in a negative phase.

The surges of mildness have also effected the ice-extent graph, which has slowed after a fast start to the sea-ice-growth season. (Unfortunately these graphs have been “adjusted” by DMI, which has disgraced itself by succumbing to the pressures that always “adjust” graphs to make Global Warming look more significant than it truly is. These “adjustments” are a topic for some other post. Let it suffice to say that, where I focus on writing rather than riches, some focus on riches rather than science.)


One reason for the diminished ice-extent is that the growing cold of East Siberia hasn’t been pouring north, as it usually does, and isn’t freezing the coast of Siberia. The snows have grown over East Siberia as they usually do:snowcover-pole-20161018-cursnow

Usually the developing cold air over East Siberia clashes with the relatively milder coastal waters of the Arctic Sea, and lows tend to scoot along the coast, and ahead of the lows the south winds are not mild, but frigid. This year the cold over Siberia has tended to head east rather than north, which is nervous-making for Europe, for Europe’s coldest winds come from the east during the winter, (from Mordor, if you read too much Tolkien.) The map below shows the building cold over Asia (gray is below zero, Fahreheit. (-18°C).

asia-temp-21061018-gfs_t2m_asia_1The above map shows how much colder it is over the land than over the Arctic Sea. It doesn’t show whether temperatures are above normal or below normal. That map is below:

asia-temp-anomaly-20161018-gfs_t2m_anomf_asia_1As is usually the case, when it is milder-than-normal over the Pole, we see the cold has been displaced further south. (Credit to Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site, who makes these maps possible, along with thousands of others. Free week trial available.)

In essence, our planet is sucking warmth north to the Pole, and losing it to outer space, even as it is pumping cold south. My sense is that this is a sort of over-reaction to the past El Nino, which was a sort of over-reaction to the Quiet Sun. Even though the sways in one direction and then the other tend to balance out, (and are in fact part of the balancing process), they can be impressive. Exactly how the current sways play out remains to be seen, and I’ll leave it to braver fellows to forecast.

I don’t currently have time to go through a month’s worth of polar maps, but will stick them below, hoping I have time later to update this post with individual comments about the individual maps.

The thing to note is how the high pressures can’t conquer the Pole and how low pressure (“Ralph”) persists, and also the plumes of mild air the temperature maps show swirling up to the Pole. (The growth of the Scandinavian High is also interesting. Maybe I should name it.)


LOCAL VIEW –The Glory Days–

One of my daughters has a way of choosing just the perfect boyfriend to test my spirituality. I tend to breathe deeply, in a seething manner, when I first hear of her latest friend, but I think God forgives me, for mostly I remain mute. Then, after a great deal of spiritual endeavor on my part, just when I’m getting over whatever prejudice was stirred up, and am starting to really like the fellow, he suddenly is history, and I am introduced to the next poor fool aspirant.

After too much of such soap operatic doings, (seventeen years),  I find it hard to get as excited, or even as interested, as I used get when my daughter was thirteen. I’ve been worn down. The latest fellow is an illegal immigrant from Brazil. Big deal. I just sort of nodded from my computer when he first came into the house, until my wife gave me a hidden kick. Only then did I remember it is polite to shake hands and look interested.

But one interesting thing about the fellow is he had never seen leaves change before. He didn’t live far enough south in Brazil to see the occasional Antarctic frosts and snows of their far south, and had grown up where leaves pretty much stay green.  He was startled, even a little alarmed, to be driving about (without a licence) and see very strange things happen to all the trees. fol-1-img_4015

It is odd how you can take such beauty for granted, if you’ve seen it most of your life. I was glad I had an outsider to remind me to get out see the view. One place I like to go is the flat-lands of the Sharon Stretch (a good place to drive over 100 mph late at night, unless you meet a moose coming out of the swamp).fol-2-img_4017

It was so beautiful I forgot my errand, and got out to wander into the swamp’s blueberry barrens.fol-3-img_4018

It’s a good place to get the blue and orange reflected below, as well as above.


These trees are called “swamp maples” and always seem to be the first to change, perhaps because the cold settles into the lowlands first. I call the flaring of color in the swamps “candy autumn” because it is sweeter, brighter and warmer than when the cold really starts to hit and hold.

Once I was out I wanted to stay out, but I had to get back and work. Back at the Childcare many trees were still green, but a swamp maple (which gets called a “red maple”, when they root outside a swamp), was peeking from the oaks.

Unfortunately I couldn’t even hang out with the kids, and see if they appreciated the beauty or just took it for granted, because I have tax problems to deal with. Nothing like sitting indoors and gnawing a pencil to make you appreciate your own back yard.



My mother used to always say this, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”


I’m glad Trump apologized for “Locker Room Talk”. Men should be ashamed for some of their admiring statements about women. Women should be ashamed about some of their admiring statements they say about men. Lust should not be put above higher impulses.

One of the few things I admired about President Carter was that he confessed he had “committed adultery”, although only “in his mind.”

The Clinton’s past behavior involves lust that was not “in the mind”, but, “in fact.” For them to attack Trump was absurd hypocrisy.

This has next to nothing to do with what really matters.

Except it has to do with Truth.


LOCAL VIEW –Good-bye Old Cat–

It was meant to be a Manhattan cat, I think. Definitely not an ally cat, nor a country cat. Never got involved in nighttime squalling and brawling, preferring to observe from the porch, when it was warm enough to step outside. If there was any mist, or temperatures dipped below 70°F, it headed in. Therefore I knew there was a problem when I saw it laying on the lawn in a cold drizzle.

My wife brought it in and we laid it by the fire to warm, but it stirred only once to drink from a bowl of water I held up to its mouth, and then slept the Big Sleep.


Who asked you into my life to steal my heart?
Unwanted cat; unable to make the move
Into no-pet housing, when old owner made new start;
Grossly overfed; never outdoors; in a groove
Of fat habits; unaffectionate;
Looking like a bowling ball with short legs;
Doomed to be destroyed, but then my dim wit
Thought, “My barn could use a cat”. Such wit begs
jeered laughter. You couldn’t outrun a mouse
And you didn’t like barns, and daily would waddle
To mew piteously outside my house.
“Don’t let that cat in! Be tough! Don’t coddle!”
But you worked your way in, grew old, died fat,
And in spite of myself, I miss you, old cat.

HURRICANE MATTHEW –Updated Sunday Night– Concluded

When I went to bed last night the various experts seemed certain Hurricane Matthew would head out to sea south of New England late next week, which is just fine with me.

When I was younger I was eager to see a storm bring ruin, because I could show off my prowess with a chainsaw afterwards, and make a heap of money, and also get a lot of free firewood. Now I’m 63, and my aspirations are more modest. I’d rather sit in a chair and think about hard work. Or perhaps watch a young man stack the wood I had delivered, (rather than cutting it for myself), and I am a bit grumpy that I am not yet fabulously wealthy, and have to stack the darn stuff myself.


I would have put off even starting the job, but the old friend who delivered the wood let it spill into the neighbor’s drive a little, when he unloaded his dump truck, so I had to hustle out and get cracking. When I was younger I enjoyed the way my muscles felt when I worked hard. Now…not so much, but at least the pile is started.


It seems a bit amazing to me that I actually pay $250.00/cord for wood I once only paid for with sweat, however there is nothing like the radiance of a wood-stove in January. Heat coming up through the floor registers just doesn’t match it.  Also I like the way I am not paying Arabs for my heat, (beyond, perhaps, a bit for the gas and oil in a chain saw). Also there is an old saw (pun) about how firewood “warms you twice.” There is many a winter scene I might have missed, if I didn’t need to go out and get more firewood. Lastly, it keeps you in shape.

If a hurricane hits us, it will seem foolish to  have paid for wood, for trees will be down all over the place. Chainsaws will be going nonstop for weeks. People in New England have no idea of what a huge mess it will make, because the last powerful hurricane to bisect New Hampshire was Carol in 1954. (Donna in 1960 was further east.) Carol pretty much flattened all the trees on the hilltops around here, but since Carol 62 years have passed, and a sapling can get pretty tall in 62 years. Our streets are lined with lovely trees that all could become lovely roadblocks.

I was pretty certain that, when the AMO moved into its “warm” phase again around 1990, we would see a return to the situation that gave New England so many hurricanes between 1930 and 1960.  I tried to alert people who seemed to be unaware, and be building or buying homes in unwise places. I saw myself as a sort of Paul Revere, but have been a sort of Chicken Little, for no really bad hurricanes have ever hit us.

Still, I figured people should at least be educated to what “might” happen. One effort was printed by Eliot Abrams in his blog, back in June of 2006:

I always found it a bit annoying that there wasn’t a disaster, after I predicted one, but 2006 was particularly annoying, for that was the year Bill McKibben made big money publishing in National Geographic , warning about hurricanes, but rather than saying what-happened-before-could-happen again,  he spoke a lot of hoopla about how the hurricanes would be “unprecedented” and caused by “Global Warming.” He was every bit as wrong as I was, but he got all sorts of press, and likely could pay someone else to stack his wood.

Call it envy if you will, but I grumbled a lot to myself as year followed year with no hurricanes, and I got only abuse, as McKibben got richer and richer. Finally, in August, 2012, I ventilated and had my rant published on Watts Up With That.

Hurricane Warning; McKibben Alert

In Many ways I think this is my best effort, when it comes to being a Chicken Little about hurricanes, and, if “The Big One” ever does hit New England, my rant will make me look  like a Paul Revere. It began:

I would like to venture two predictions which I believe have a, (as they say,) “high degree of probability” of proving true.

The first is that a terrible hurricane, as bad as the ferocious 1938 “Long Island Express,” will roar north and bisect New England. True, it might not happen for over a hundred years, but it also might happen this September. The fact is, 1938 showed us what could happen. 1938 set the precedent.

My second prediction is that if such a storm happens this September, it will not matter if it a Xerox copy of the 1938 storm; Bill McKibben will call it “Unprecedented.”

It really makes me wonder: Why on earth would such a seemingly smart person want to make such a total fool of himself? How can McKibben call so many events “unprecedented’ when all you need to do is open a history book, and you can see so many other prior storms set precedents?”

The post is worth reading, if you want to read about the history of past storms, and also about what a storm similar to the 1938 hurricane might do the the structures we have built since 1938, especially in Boston.

However I’ve been there and done that, and have to stack wood. I simply haven’t the time to write the whole danged thing all over again. Anyway, after being wrong so many years, who the heck would listen?  It has been something like 4000 days since a major hurricane has hit the mainland of the USA. Both McKibben and myself look like total jokes. Therefore I was glad to go to bed, and not feel I had to warn anyone. Then, when I got up  this morning, to my dismay I see the GFS computer is producing this track:


Oh bleep. Right over Boston. So I do have to dust off my Chicken Little outfit and run around squawking, after all.

Well, consider it done.

The storm is still a week away, and there are many things that could knock it off track or weaken it, so I’m only raising an eyebrow slightly, at this point. But I will keep watching, and update this post if things become exciting. Expect a lot of hoopla, even if it goes out to sea.

It’s the first major hurricane we’ve seen in a while, and is over very warm water that should keep it well fed:


It’s eye-wall looks like it is going through some sort of reformation phase, which has weaken it to a strong force 4 from a weak force 5, but that is still one heck of a storm.  Steady winds of 155 mph is something we can’t imagine. A sky-diver falling in a belly-down position is experiencing winds of 125 mph. Therefore 155 mph winds could pick you up and blow you away like a leaf.



The European model takes it safely out to sea:


But the GFS has it clobbering Cape Cod


The Hurricane itself? It has no idea what to do, with so much advice, so it currently is being very indecisive and wobbling in a small circle like a spinning top. (I now realize this animation below automatically updates. The wobble no longer shows.)



SUNDAY MORNING YIKES UPDATE   (Or, pick your poison)

The thing about computer models a week away is that they can jump about quite a bit from run to run. Last night’s GFS 0000z run had Matthew safely out to sea:


But this morning’s 0600z run? Yowsa!  New York City gets clobbered!


If you allow your emotions to be swayed by all these various runs you will become a nervous wreak, a mere shadow of your normal confident and happy self. If I were you I’d take it easy, and maybe check out your generator, if you have one. Don’t rush out and buy one, like I did around 20 years ago when Eduard (?) was suppose to hit Boston, and then swerved a hundred miles out to sea. (I couldn’t afford it. If you can afford it, buy one.)

Me? Well, personally, I am going to party like mad all week, for at this time next week I could be dead.

(By the way, this is a really good time to go to the Weatherbell Site and sign up for their one week free-trial. Most of the above maps are from that site. And Joe Bastardi is quite good, tackling the unpredictable whims of such storms, while Joseph D’Aleo is a brilliant teacher.)


The models continue to show a lot of options for route Matthew will take.


These models can be roughly divided into two camps, the “faster” and the “slower”.  The faster models have Matthew hook up with a trough to the north, and the trough whisks it nicely out to sea. The Canadian “JEM” model typifies this idea, with the storm on its way out by Sunday, and the focus of people returning to football.


The slower models have Matthew miss the connection with the trough to the north, and instead of zipping out to sea the storm just stalls and prowls about off the south Carolina coast. While the above map shows the storm heading out on October 9, the below “European” map shows it still hanging back on October 13.


One interesting possibility is shown by  the small storm to the north of Matthew in the above map, which would be a second tropical low sucked into the first.

In essence, my take is that even a chronic worrier like myself can kick back at least until Sunday, by which point we will know if the storm is going to be “faster” or “slower”.

But if you really need to worry, I won’t deprive you. The computer runs we see tend to be an average of many runs, and there are always a few runs, called “outliers”, that stray from the mainstream and march to a different drummer. The GFS may be suggesting Matthew will head out to sea, but check out the outliers. A few crash right into Massachusetts, and one very much resembles the 1938 hurricane (but slower).


Nearly exactly a year ago Hurricane Joaquin was threatening, and then the predicted path went from freaking out New York City to being a fish-storm.

This has happened so many times it is a bit like the “Boy Crying Wolf” to warn people. However, as I said last year after Joaquin turned out to be a false alarm, “I stand by my guns, when it comes to the fact that one of these days one of these storms will look all the world like it is going out to sea, and then will swerve back northwest and shatter the windows of Boston’s skyscrapers while ripping just west of town, heading north at 50 mph. However even a blind squirrel can find a nut. I will be wrong 99 times before I am right once…”

(A storm taking the path of the left hand map above would completely flood New York City’s subways. They have had countless close calls and warnings, (including Hurricane Irene in 2011) but they only use the warnings to collect taxes. Then they spend all the money on “administration”, and never fix the subways with better pumps and better protection.)

I hope I keep on being wrong, and when the one time in a hundred arrives, I am long gone. I’ve done my job, which is to be a Chicken Little. I deserve a break, so I’m just going to calm down.



Looks like Matthew is swerving NNE a little. Pray for the people of Haiti. They are poor on a good day, and have a couple bad ones ahead.


My gorge has risen this morning, as first thing I read this morning (on another site) was a somewhat sneering comment about the people of Haiti being “those permanent victims”. Unspoken was the idea they deserve what they get. Admittedly they are poor, and that poverty extends to poor government, but I don’t subscribe to the mind-set that seemingly wants to “reduce overpopulation” by keeping poor countries poor. It seems a sign you are one of the so-called “elite”, when you  smack your lips eating cherries while watching misery in the Third World on TV.

There are many problems with the concept of “nation building”, but that is no reason to not try to help others help themselves. My little church sent a group of seven teenagers to Haiti back in the late 1990’s and they actually had a wonderful time. The main project was to build a strong structure of cinder blocks in a neighborhood where most homes were made of flimsy tin sheeting. I can’t help but think a cinder block structure will now be where people flee, if winds get over 100 mph.  Sheets of tin will be but flying guillotines.

Stewart Pid alerted me to this remark over at WUWT. “The NHC estimates winds speeds using aircraft. There was a NDBC discus buoy that recorded surface sustained winds at 67 knots maximum. Category 1 hurricane threshold is 64 knots. Mathew was barely a category 1 hurricane when it passed directly over buoy number 42058. The NHC has been doing this for years, making wind speed claims greatly in excess of actual recorded surface winds.”

If it is true winds are not as bad as the NHC reports, I’ll call it an answered prayer. Because that is all I can do, at this point: Pray. I have none of the power of the “elite”. I have enough trouble using my waning strength to help people in my own small corner of the planet, and the only worldly power I have is the power of a single vote. So it only natural (if you own a thing called a “heart”) to turn to otherworldly power, and to pray for brothers and sisters in Haiti.


(Talk about other worldly… A fellow named Frankie Lucena was aboard a hurricane hunter above Hurricane Matthew last night, and got some pictures of electricity discharging in the upper atmosphere above the storm. I guess you could call it “lightning”, and it is known as “sprites”. We didn’t even know this sort of lightning existed, when I was young.)



Hurricane Matthew has smashed through the east of Haiti, and our vaunted media reports 5 deaths. Does not compute. Complications arise, which any competent media, with even the most elementary educations, would wrestle with. What are the complications? Well, either the government’s Hurricane Center is completely inept, and the storm is much weaker than they say, or our government’s reports about the conditions in Haiti are completely inept, and the poverty Haitians purportedly endure does not exist.

The simple fact of the matter is that around 60,000 in Haiti are so down-in-their-luck they are living in tents. (I know about that. I lived in a tent and slept in my car for long periods, when I was younger, and down-in-my-luck.) Others live in flimsy houses made of sheets of metal nailed to 2-by-4’s.  None of this stands up well to 125 mile/hour winds.

My gut feeling is that those people have been through sheer hell, if the winds were as high as the Hurricane Center proclaimed. Sheet metal is not nice stuff, when it is blowing about at 125 miles an hour. 5 deaths?  A foot of rain on hills stripped of vegetation can turn a dry brook into a brown torrent carrying trees, cars and houses. 5 deaths? A storm surge of ten feet, with twenty foot waves on top, is hard on people in Florida with comfortable cars and interstates to flee upon, but Haitians have nowhere to flee. 5 deaths?

My gut feeling is that our media is utterly inept. They have no on-the-scene reporters in Haiti. They are so bankrupt they can’t afford it. Anyway, any reporter with the guts to take on such a dangerous assignment  would also have long ago had the guts to tell their editors to take their job and shove it. Their remaining workers are timid souls, who believe “news is reporting what you are told to report”. Most news they get they obtain through social media, because they are too timid to go out and see things for themselves. Why should I heed them? I can obtain stuff through social media myself. I know the waters were chest deep in the Main Street of a small town in the southeast Haiti, because I read the “tweet”.

Why should I care? Well, I suppose it is because my little church cared for Haiti a quarter century ago, and, after our teens joined other teens from other small churches to go south and build some cinder-block structures, and we felt all warm and cozy about what a good thing we had done, some lady from Haiti came north to thank us (and, of course, to seek more help). In the process of thanking us she sort of punctured our self-righteousness,  because in the process of saying why she was thankful she described the reasons, and this involved describing the brutality of the reality. For me it was a real eye-opener.

After she spoke to our church, I sought the woman out and asked the sort of questions our wimpy media is too spineless to ask, and she seemed downright relieved.  I asked politically incorrect questions, but never with malice. We had a talk that was full of laughter and understanding, and which the “elite” think cannot happen between a conservative, white-skinned bumpkin from New Hampshire and a very-dark skinned social-worker from Haiti.

The result was that my world became larger. I cared for people beyond my horizons. If I ride a taxi in Boston, and the driver is Haitian, I want the “news from home”.

Our president could care less. He thinks that, because his skin is dark and mine is whitish, people from Haiti will automatically flock to him. But my family has more experience of the agony  of slavery than he can imagine. (Look up Robert Gould Shaw, who died with his black troops in the American Civil War.)  Our president’s black skin has no knowledge of slavery, and in fact he of the “elite”, too high and mighty to sink to such lows. What do the “elite” really care about a nation of slaves that rebelled from their masters, like Haiti?

I personally think the suffering in Haiti at the moment is more than “5 deaths”, but it might make our president look bad if, after 8 years of his leadership, our close neighbors had not even the slightest improvements, as he spent billions on wind turbines and solar panels that are failures. Therefore the media, as meek and timid souls, does not dare report the actual suffering in Haiti that is actually happening.

I could be wrong.  Maybe it is the Hurricane Center that is wrong, and Matthew passed through Haiti with breezes and showers. If that is the case, how are we to trust government scientists about Global Warming? If they can’t get today right, how can we trust their ideas about tomorrow?

That is only the first complication I have to report.

The second involves a glitch in the confidence Matthew will move as predicted. The glitch is a second tropical storm to the east-northeast  of Matthew, named “Nicole”.  In the map below, Matthew is the big storm between Cuba and Haiti, and Nicole is the small blob of clouds way out in the Atlantic, to the east-northeast .


The glitch is this:  When two tropical storms exist in close proximity something called the Fujiwhara Effect occurs. In theory this would whip the eastern storm (Nichole) forward,  but cause the western storm (Matthew) to slow, or even stall.

No computer model sees this yet. All seem to see the “faster” option, (which I mentioned earlier) which whisks Matthew out to sea, only brushing the east coast of the USA.

No model sees the “slower” option, wherein the Fujiwhara  effect stalls Matthew, and causes us a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Personally, I hope this coming Sunday sees Matthew whisking out to sea, and our focus on football, and Haiti.  The last thing I want to see is Haiti’s trouble happening here. But at least the hurricane is past those people, and winds are dying down in Haiti.




Cuba’s mountains have weakened the hurricane slightly, as it passed through the Windward Passage.  Waters are warm and the storm will likely intensify as it moves away from the mountains. The Bahamas have no high peaks.


The only Tweets and Facebook  posts I have seen come from far from the center. Port-au-Prince only received strong breezes and heavy rains.


Hurricane Matthew is back out over water and the eye has reappeared, and likely it will strengthen as it moves northwest through the Bahamas towards Florida. (Notice the second tropical storm, Nichole, to the right.)


All attention will look ahead to Florida now, as Haiti is forgotten. However the “Drudge Report” had an apt picture from space of a skull-like Matthew hitting Haiti.


The death toll is not being released; government officials are simply stating “We don’t know,” which is the truth, for the bridges are washed out and the roads flooded and all phone and cell-phone connections seem lost. The tweets we do get show rains were extreme even far from the center over by Port-au-Prince, and people may be having trouble recharging their phones.


The further toward the track one traveled the more extreme the damage would be, but to get any idea of how incredible such winds and tides are it is helpful to look at Westernmost Cuba, where the buildings were far more sturdy.


This demonstrates the winds were as strong as hurricane hunter aircraft suggested, at ground level. However Matthew was “weakened” by the time it hit western Cuba. The storm surge was around nine feet. As Matthew hit Southwest Haiti the winds were 20 mph higher and the storm surge was likely over ten feet. People were camped on flat-lands by the sea, in tents and in tin sheds, and afraid of leaving their few belongings, and basically stayed and prayed.  Unless some leader rose, who got a great many people to head for the local highlands, I fear the death-toll must be in the thousands.

I find the media silence peculiar. Perhaps they fear causing a panic in Florida. However the survivors in southwest Haiti likely need help now, not tomorrow. We do have an aircraft carrier and hospital ship headed down that way,  but they have a hurricane to avoid.

Continue to pray for them, because most of us cannot help in any other way.

Wednesday Night  –Fujiwhara Craziness–

I just watched some young fool on the Weather Channel say Matthew’s winds have weakened because it is disorganized. Total Nonsense. Compare it with the picture above. It is quite obviously better organized. It’s central pressure is even lower. The drop in wind-speed is some glitch caused by needing to take the pulse from a distance. There are times one needs to use the eyes God gave us, but the young fellow on the Weather Channel is displaying a surprising respect of authority. (Maybe that’s what got him his job.)

Now our concern should be the Bahamas. I visited those islands back when I was eighteen and very disrespectful of authority, aboard a “borrowed” sailboat. The isles are largely low, coral islands, and no place you want to be when the ocean rises ten feet, with huge waves and high winds. I am praying for the inhabitants, who were very kind to a forlorn object like myself, cast upon their shores, with the captain of my ship so violently ill I thought he might die.

I am also praying for the engineers behind the building of the hotels in Nassau. They likely are not sleeping well. No engineer wants to see his structure blown down, but they are also under unreal pressure to “keep costs low.”  It is somewhat amazing how much the costs rise, if you engineer a hotel to withstand 130 mph winds, compared to what they are when you engineer a hotel to withstand 110 mph winds. The one thing about Nassau is that, unlike Haiti, we likely will get swift pictures of what has happened. It looks like the eye might go right over the capital.

As far as Florida is concerned, I think they are doing the right thing to evacuate the coast. It is better to be safe than sorry.


Notice tropical storm Nichole, to the right of the map. This, and the young meteorologist Tom Downs over on the Weatherbell site, may actually succeed in getting the word “Fujiwhara” into the vocabulary of the mainstream media. (If so, it will be fun to watch, as puffed people attempt to pontificate, like they know what “Fujiwhara” means.)

We don’t even know if Matthew will hit Florida, or stay just off-shore. That seems work enough. However, looking beyond, some models are showing Matthew pulling a loop, swinging out to sea only to curve back around and hit Florida again, due to the Fujiwhara effect.

I’m not worried about that. After all, I don’t live down there. What I am worried about is stuff that is above my head, in the upper atmosphere. I don’t understand the workings of that world, up there. But it does seem that, when these hurricanes create massive updrafts, it does some destabilizing that needs to be rectified, and you see these odd, very-fast streamers of high clouds heading north around the edges of hurricanes. I suppose, guessing greatly, that they are a sort of jet stream. I have never seen one “steer” a storm, but then, I have never seen what brings certain hurricanes north to New England at unheard of speeds of between 50-60 mph. I just see it has happened in the past.

I am worried about something that the models are not showing. They have produced an incredible number or tracks, all over kingdom come, over a few short days, but not one is mine.

Because the upper atmosphere’s jet streams are a subject miles above my head, there is no way I can talk about the subject scientifically, and therefore the best option is to talk about it facetiously:

You young whippersnappers can’t forecast like the oldsters could. Heck, back when me and George Washington used to chop down cherry trees together, we thought nothing of forecasting storms years in advance. Why, as late as 1868 a Limey named Lieutenant Stephen Martin Saxby published a forecast, on Christmas, in the “Standard of London”, and it began…“I now beg leave to the state, with regard to 1869, that at seven a.m., on October 5, the moon will be at that part of her orbit which is nearest to the earth…”

Now I reckon you so-called scientists got your noses in the air, because you can’t figure out how to read the moon, but Saxby nailed his forecast. You fellows keep changing yours, every time your computer goes “urp.”

Up in the Bay of Funday the fog burned off on October 4, 1869, and it was a surprisingly warm day for October, even called “oppressive” by some. Then the south winds began to pick up, and the skies to the south grew dark and threatening, and by sunset it was raining and the winds were starting to howl. The tides were high, due to the new moon, but once the dark fell the wind went mad. In Moncton some farmers headed out to the flats to get their livestock in the dark, and then the thirty-foot-tall dykes protecting those lowlands were topped by a storm surge like none ever seen before, and sea waters came roaring across the flats, drowning lots of livestock, and farmers as well, though one fellow survived by riding a haystack that slowly got more and more waterlogged, sinking lower and lower until the fellow thought he was a goner, because not only was the stack sinking but the outgoing tide was sucking him out to sea, but luckily the stack sunk so low it grounded on the submerged top of the dyke, and there he stayed as the waters drained away, revealing a shattered landscape. Over in the state of Maine, entire forests were flattened, and the floods were so bad not a bridge survived in the north.

Now, when you young fellows can forecast a storm like that, ten months in advance, come back and maybe we’ll talk about naming a storm after you.

(On a side note, the hurricanes that clobber New England don’t dawdle on their way north, for in such cases cold waters weaken them swiftly. The ones to watch out for accelerate to amazing forward speeds of 50-60 mph, (and some nit-pickers might say they are no longer truly and purely “tropical”, but they have unholy power at their cores). So forecasters to the north should be wary of swiftly developing jets, that can suddenly suck a storm north.)


This graphic says it all. More later.


Picture from Haiti. Still no reports from southwest, but a helicopter view was not pretty. Likely no clean water, which can lead to cholera in a hurry.


Church will be at the usual time.


In westernmost Cuba, they do have their cellphone service back.


On the Weatherbell site Joe D’Aleo posted this cool satellite view of Matthew over the Bahamas, Nichole to the east, and, down in the lower right corner, the new kid on the block?



Besides salvaging belongings, one task seems to be to dry things out, as everything is drenched. It is important to boil all water, but hard to start a fire.


THURSDAY EVENING  -Honing In On Florida




FRIDAY MORNING REPORT  –EYEWALL OFF-SHORE (So Far).  Haiti Death-toll “jumps” to 253.

The inner eye-wall of Matthew looks like it fell apart and the out eye-wall looks like it is contracting, which is a sign of a strengthening storm. If the eye-wall gets over land the winds turn from gales to crazy. It is the eye-wall winds that have nasty vortexes sort of like sideways tornadoes, and do the worst damage.  So far the eye-wall hasn’t made an on shore appearance, and all the hoopla looks laughable. Fine with me, though I do not like the weather service to get laughed at when they gave the proper warnings. Pictures from Haiti and Cuba should alert people to the “worst-case-scenario,” which we pray stays off shore.

We are starting to get a few reports from the cut off parts of Haiti, and Time magazine reports the death toll “jumped to” 253. No, fellows. The death toll didn’t “jump”, you just didn’t report it, just like you are still not reporting how many died.

Haiti Hurricane Matthew

The body of a man who perished during Hurricane Matthew lies on a piece of wood as survivors prepare to place his body in a coffin, in Cavaillon, Haiti. Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Haitian officials on Thursday dramatically raised the known death toll from Matthew as they finally began to reach corners of the country that had been cut off by the rampaging storm. Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph announced that at least 108 had died, up from a previous count of 23. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

The pictures we get are still from the edges, and from wealthier neighborhoods with sturdier structures.  The slums are only viewed from helicopters. People are drying drenched laundry and waiting for water. Water is so expensive some can’t afford food, as the ocean’s salt water flooded the fresh-water wells.

People walk on a street next to destroyed houses after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie

People walk on a street next to destroyed houses after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

If you want to become angry at the UN, please consider the following:  People catch cholera from water made dirty by sewerage that contains the germs from people called “cholera-carriers.” There was no cholera in Haiti. If the UN had wanted to keep Cholera from being a problem, all they needed to do was screen its workers, and make sure they sent no cholera-carriers. They did the opposite, and sent workers from Nepal, where cholera is rife. It seems so stupid I have the paranoid sense it must have been intentional, to “reduce over-population.”  Cholera currently represents a threat of killing more people than the hurricane.


SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE  –We lucked out; Haiti didn’t.

Hurricane Matthew did give the coasts of Georgia and South and North Carolina strong winds and very heavy rains (over a foot in places) but the worst of the storm surge dissipated out to sea and never brought its full brunt to the USA coast. This is of small  consolation to those who have suffered, but the fact of the matter is that things could have been much, much worse, especially in Florida. Now most of the storms energy has been expended in rain to its north, and though still a formidable gale, especially on its west side, it has been dubbed “Post Tropical.”  The actually center has little activity with it, in the second map below.



Tom Downs has a very good post at the Weatherbell site explaining what a huge difference even a fifty mile change in the track of the storm to the west would have made, and why the governors did the right thing to evacuate the coasts, though many are laughing at them now. You can’t always trust on luck, as Haiti knows.

The death toll in Haiti rose, as I expected, to 877, and now silence has again descended. I have the sense the officials involved are hiding the true nature of the disaster, likely out of shame. Some of the poor were not even aware the storm was coming, so inadequate were the preparations.

This is not due to a failure on the part of people to send money. The failure rests squarely on the shoulders of the leaders in charge of investing the money wisely. In the case of the World Bank, they may not have invested unwisely, and rather did not invest it at all.

I find these figures hard to believe, but will put them down:

After the disastrous 2010 earthquake the World Bank collected and oversaw a account holding 351 million, called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. How much of that fund has been utilized? Out of 351 million, slightly less than 17 million.

I find this totally disgusting. For one thing, I am sure the officials didn’t dawdle, when it came to making certain their own  salaries were paid. Secondly, there is no shortage of cheap labor in Haiti. The average person subsists on a dollar a day, and I’m certain you could get some good work-crews together paying the men ten dollars a day. Even using primitive methods, carrying dirt in baskets, the people of India built a decent system of flood control dams. Tall dykes could have been built to protect the southern cities from storm surges, as was done in Galveston after it was destroyed.  Now it is all 20-20 hindsight.


There are some who suggest the actual intent of the UN and the World Bank is not to help such people, but rather to “reduce over population.” That is a terrible thing to suggest, tantamount to genocide, but I can’t say they are doing a very good job of defusing the suggestion they are evil. You cannot blame the leaders of Haiti, for how they use the money is so largely dependent on the overseers. (One thing I heard was the Haitian officials were not allowed to use the aid on anything but things directly related to earthquakes.)  In any case, a human disaster is occurring, and the press is silent.

I expect the Haiti Reconstruction Fund records may soon be “accidentally deleted.”

SUNDAY AFTERNOON –Matthew Fades–Haitian Horror Continues–

I did a bit more study of the history of Haiti this Sunday, and it seems to me that the nation has had more than it’s fair share of oppression, brutal dictators, outside exploiters, and ill-advised spiritual “authorities”. In some ways it seems Haitians are a people with a chip on their shoulder, who have every reason to have a chip on their shoulder, but who draw abuse by asking for it. It is a most exasperating sort of history to read about, and one Evangelist even suggested Haitians had made a deal with the devil, and were reaping the consequences. I doubt they are any worse than the rest of us, in that respect, and in a sense they remind me of the rest of us, only they make our shortcomings more obvious.

However as this started out a study of hurricanes and not Haiti, I think I’ll save the rest of my thinking for a Halloween post.  For some of Haiti’s horror is like that, and a warning to the rest of the world of what we could make our lives be like.

Speaking of which, I guess I’ll settle back for a presidential debate between a couple of Halloween characters.

The real danger is humans, not hurricanes. (Though we do have Irene waiting in the wings.)