There was the usual sensationalism about a big storm off the California coast, replete with the usual fabulous inaccuracies. Yes, it was a big storm, and all such storms are wondrous in their way, but there is no need to go completely off the deep end. “Reporting” has become synonymous with “a-tither”. It seems reporters fear they won’t get any attention if they report an “ordinary” majestic storm, and therefore need to bulge their blood vessels as they speak, and hop up and down. Unfortunately, when they behave in this way to excess, it has the effect of “the little boy who cried wolf”. People get jaded and stop paying attention even when reporters paint themselves red and do back-flips. It is a pity, for the majesty of a majestic storm ought to be appreciated.

The impressive image above is actually as the “bomb” has already started to weaken. It had been as low as 950 mb and in the above image it has already weakened to 961 mb. Also it was not going to charge ashore, but rather drift north, weakening further.

What was interesting to me was not the storm’s magnitude, but the fact it formed so far south. Such “bombs” are actually common further north, but few pay attention to them when they are far from centers of population. In the Pacific they tend to be categorized as “Aleutian” lows, and in the Atlantic as “Labrador” or “Icelandic” lows, and they are amazingly intense storms few notice but ships at sea and odd people like me. For example, here is a massive storm up north off Alaska in the Aleutians barely a week ago:

That is a 956 mb low, but did you see any headlines? Or how about this 954 mb Atlantic monster, currently rolling straight towards England with Hurricane force winds:

If the American media saw such a storm coming right at them they’d get blue in the face, but British phlegm apparently isn’t entirely extinct, or perhaps being fifteen degrees latitude north of California makes them more used to monster North Atlantic Storms. This one will likely curve north just as the one in California did, lashing the Outer Hebrides (which always get lashed.) Also one thing I have noticed about these brutes is that they tend to reach a climax out to sea, and usually weaken rapidly as they approach shore, and civilized areas. If they did not do so it is likely the civilized areas would not be civilized, for civil people would have decided to bail, and go civilize more congenial environments. In fact, at certain times in human history (for example during the Little Ice Age), a lot of people did decide to bail out, and migrate elsewhere, and one reason is that these monster storms did not stay off shore, and rampaged where they were not wanted.

The current storm off California is actually well behaved, and staying off shore, and when last I looked had weakened to 976 mb. However it did swing copious rains into California, which messed me up. Why? Because a certain “indicator” I was using to figure out my own weather, in the northeast of the United States, was “drought in California.” That “indicator” received a bullet between the eyes, because the drought is over and now they are fretting about floods.

O well. If you dabble with meteorology and are even remotely honest, you expect surprises. Only complete buffoons are “sure” about what the weather will be, and anyone who claims climatology is “settled science” is a bald-faced liar. The subject has so many variables that even variables have variables, and models run on billion dollar computers have to leave some variables out, or else their creators would have to build trillion dollar computers.

I’m not so rich, nor likely to become rich writing paragraphs like the above one. Such truth gets one shadow banned, if not censored. But I don’t dabble for the money. Even as a bum sleeping in my car I still scanned the clouds, and was thirsty for hints about the future.

With my “drought in California” indicator all shot full of holes, I have to turn to other “indicators”, and one is that the California “bomb” appeared so far south of the Aleutian islands. This indicates a huge shot of frigid Siberian air was sucked south and is chilling the Pacific Ocean. Not that the North Pacific is below normal, but the “warm blob” sea surface temperature anomaly in the North Pacific is no longer a cherry red, and in places is yellow, which is an anomaly close to normal:

Also, when the Pole is robbed of arctic air, plumes of milder air are sucked north to replace the departed air, and such plumes reach northward from both the Atlantic and Pacific side, currently.

While Alarmists tend to delight at “warm” invasions of the arctic, they fail to notice how swiftly the warmth in the above map is lost to outer space. (I guarantee you there will be little sign of the two plumes by next week’s map.) They also fail to notice the extreme cold is bumped off the Pole and displaced south to East Siberia and the Canadian Archipelago, where it is in a position to attack China and the United States. Lastly, they fail to calculate, in their “albedo” equations, snow falling far to the south of where it usually falls, where the sun is far stronger. “Albedo” doesn’t matter much north of the Arctic Circle, for the sun has set for the winter, but it does matter in more southern latitudes.

However the “indicator” I currently am falling back on has nothing to do with maps. It is a she. It is (or was) a chain-smoking cook and cleaning lady my parents employed back when we were rich, back before our troubles came. She was from Prince Edwards Island, and was more familiar with the wild nature of Labrador Lows than southern people, and would regale me with tales of how the winds would drift snow right over the tops of houses. On two occasions, when I was bewailing how snowless the Massachusetts winter was, she drew deeply on her cigarette, shook her head, and midst a cloud of exhaled smoke stated the warmth was likely a sign we were about to get buried. On both occasions she was proved correct. The years were 1967 and 1969, and the first saw, as I recall, a storm called “The Hundred Hour Snow”, and the second saw a duo of February storms build snows over three feet deep, in the suburbs of Boston; I recall it because in 1969 both storms were called once-every-hundred-year storms, and I didn’t know you could have two once-every-hundred-year storms in a single month. I also recall it taking a long time for a teenaged pal and myself to extract ourselves from a deep drift where we were wedged up to our armpits, after we dared each other to jump into it from a third story. Lastly, both events were preceded by remarkable warm spells. (I recall sunbathing in January, with my shirt off.)

How can this happen? I suppose the jet stream becomes “loopy”, and can bring first warm air far to the north, and then bring cold air far to the south.

I also have learned about something called, “telleconnection.” What this idea suggests is that a downward dent in the jet stream relaxes north only to rebound south again, at a more eastward longitude.

Hmm. A unusually southward storm off California might be followed by a unusually southward storm to the east. And that would include me. And then? Then that “trof” would relax north and rebound as a big storm in Europe. Possible?

I confess such powers baffle me. On one hand they seem to work like the squishy toys kids have at my Childcare, where, when you press in at one area they bulges out at another, but at other times they behave like waves, which can do bizarre things when crests match up with crests, and troughs with troughs, and then a crest cancels a trough when they match up. I’ve seen situations where the wake of a boat comes in, bounces off a pier, and heads back out, and, as the incoming cross the outgoing, the water alternates from being completely flat to peaks three feet tall to flat again in mere half seconds.

So I tend to just observe without claiming to understand.

In the meantime we are enjoying a remarkable thaw. The crushing two feet of heavy, wet snow we got before Christmas, and near-record bone-chilling blasts we got right after, have relented. Near-record cold has been followed by near-record warmth, and the snow-cover vanished. Now the cold is starting to seep back from the north, but where California gets howling winds we experience wafting airs, or calm. Where the storm off California has “weakened” to 976 mb, the storm departing the east coast has “strengthened” to a pathetic 1006 mb.

According to certain theories involving “teleconnetions”, the map will be reversed, somehow. There may even be a Labrador Low way down south near New York City, like the blizzard of 1888, stunning the city people with four feet of snow. It makes me wonder. How can such power appear from such a weak-looking map?

I can’t explain how it happens. But it does happen. Power is not a thing mortals understand as much as they flatter themselves that they do. People are as hard to predict as the weather, and a study of history is full of dramatic rises and equally dramatic falls, with the one constant being that the people who think they can predict who will hold power and where power will shift get fooled.

I’ve been grousing a lot lately because aging has effected my personal supply of power. Or I thought it was aging, as I huffed and puffed just walking through deep snow. It seemed a triple whammy of china-virus, common-cold and ‘flu had aged me, for once I was over the trio I was much weaker. Then at my Childcare I noticed first one, and then another, four-year-old boy walking like an old man, after they were supposedly “over” the ‘flu. Lastly, a parent who took their child to an “urgent care” facility (because her child wasn’t improving) was told by the nurse there that the current ‘flu, “often persists for fourteen days.” Only then did I do some counting on my fingers and realize I was only at day fourteen. No wonder I felt so powerless!

Of course, when you run a business the buck stops with you, and when everyone calls in sick you have to show up. As boss you have the power, but at times you wish you didn’t.

Today was suppose to be my day off, but a state inspector (talk about power) showed up and told us we had to lay off a splendid, young worker, as certain paperwork was incomplete. At age seventeen you don’t have to get a “background check”, but at age eighteen you do. Apparently we abruptly had a “possible sexual predator” on our staff, which is a serious offense in the world of bureaucrats. I withheld my views, (but it seemed to me a person was guilty until proven innocent.) In any case, abruptly I had to work a nine hour shift.

My personal supply of power was low, for I’d worked hard the day before and was planning to recharge my batteries with rest. Now I abruptly was in charge of a small mob of three to five-year-old children.

The feeble low pressure in the above map was suppose to give us rain showers, but just enough cold air seeped south to turn the raindrops to fat, lazy snowflakes, the world outside turned white, and soon a fall of sticky wet snow had built past an inch in depth, and as I brought the kids outside into the playground they all wanted me to build them a castle.

Fat chance. I was so tired I was barely able to reach down and scoop up snow. But I did crouch down and show them how to start rolling a snowball. Somewhat to my surprise, they all began rolling snowballs. Perhaps it was because the snow was perfect, but it seemed silly to even attempt rolling snowballs, for the snow was so thin. Undaunted, they denuded the playground of snow in their zeal, rolling numerous snowballs.

Mind you, I was too old and tired to supply the power. The power was supplied by children who average four years old.

I think they could have completed their castle, but nature failed to supply them with enough snow.

After two hours of non-stop work, they ran out of gas. Drenched and exhausted, they were ready to go in for lunch. They were also ready for naps, which I appreciated.

As they slept in their innocence I found myself contemplating the strange mystery of power. If I was younger and stronger I would have rolled the balls for them. If I was richer I might have paid a staff to roll the balls for them. But they did it without pay, and with very little prompting. They displayed power beyond the control of the so-called powerful, and they are only four years old.

Power arises from unexpected places.

I'd bail out, but I own no parachute.
I can't face the music, when I can't play.
Life has some nerve! How dare it refute
My theory that it can't wind up this way.

Leave it to saints to be lunch for the lions.
I'll take a happy ending, for starters.
I want to see bad guys clamped into irons.
I don't want good guys to end up the martyrs.

Don't get me wrong. I know well the story
How from our disgrace a poor soul is lifted
And, shedding all shame, rises in glory
Praising the Lord, but I'd rather be gifted
By seeing the glory this side of my tomb
As on charging white horse God destroys all this gloom.



  1. In the good old days our weather forecasts had ground frosts, now grass frosts. But the Azores High – Iceland Low with the ridge of high pressure from the Azores giiving us a couple days good weather have gone to be replaced with more frightening weather events. I miss those old friends.
    My paternal grandmother came from North Uist, moved to Glasgow where she met my grandad from Argyll. In the 19th century many of her extended family moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It was only recently I discovered that their landlord in the Hebrides owned a coal mine in Cape Breton. One of the things I wonder about is if they missed the weather of North Uist, As you say any storm passing the UK gives the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland a battering. I’m not sure what the normal weather in Nova Scotia is like so it might be that there wasn’t much difference stormwise, they just got storms earlier in Canada.
    When I first moved to the Midlands of England for work, from Edinburgh where I’d been a student and was surprised by what was considered windy. What I considered to be a breeze got remarks like “it’s windy today”. An old joke, “How can you tell that a man’s from Edinburgh?” answer “Because he holds onto his hat at every street corner” it doesn’t really work in these hatless days although the wind still whistles round th corners of the buildings in the Old Town

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