aftermath

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Texas-Size Leak

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Leak

They’re rioting in Africa
They’re starving in Spain
There’s hurricanes in Florida
And Texas needs rain

         — Sheldon Harnick, Merry Minuet

As in, this part of Texas needs only about 2 more inches over the rest of the month to set a new record for the wettest May in recorded history. At the rate our skies have been leaking the past few days, that should take no more than an hour or two. Luckily, I know how to hold my breath underwater.

But I should find a spare minute to turn off the notifications from my Night Sky app. At least, until they improve their notification sensitivity so the app only bothers me on those rare days when the stargazing conditions are expected to be fair or better. As is, they’ve been notifying me something I already know.

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Written by macheide

27 May 2015 at 4:46 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Tagged with , ,

Sunny Disposition

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sunny dispositionOur weatherman promises we’ll finally see some sun today. After a week of cloudy skies. After less than a handful of clear skies since the solstice.

I’m ready for it.

But it looks like we’ll be right back to a streak of cloudy forecasts for the foreseeable future past this brief spell of sun. So let’s make good of it while we can — on my task list for today:

  • Walk double, triple, maybe more my usual day’s distance around the loop, maybe up to Ashley’s workplace and back, put some good miles under my feet out in the sunlight;
  • Work out in the yard, in the back garden we started last autumn, cleaning out more of that front garden we bought into, getting things ready for the spring no matter how far away that still feels;
  • Reacquaint myself with Weathermob, which has been doing without me since all we’ve had this winter have been gray skies after gray skies after gray skies after gray on gray on gray;
  • Head up to the pool and get a start on this season’s tan;
  • Create a water color painting of the return of bright colors to our world;
  • Check out the moon, watch Mars, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, and relocate Canopus and Algol and all those other stars I’ve been waiting patiently to see again (after sunset, obviously); and then . . .
  • Head back inside and get the fireplace going strong again, so we can be set for another month of cold cloudy skies.
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Aftermath Afterlife:

 
 
 
 

Written by macheide

15 January 2015 at 6:47 am

Posted in Mother Nature

Tagged with ,

Sharp Cold Front

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Rarely have any cold fronts moved through the Houston region more abruptly. On my outbound commute from the office around 5pm, the radio noted that although downtown temperatures at that hour remained at 74°, the temperature up at Conroe had already dropped to the high 50s, suggesting a sharp wall to the front.

Shortly after 6pm, a weather map on the television showed Conroe at 41°, downtown Houston down to 58°, but Pasadena near us still up at 73°. Not only a sharp wall, but moving steadily south.

Sitting out in the back yard, the front could be both felt and seen. Wind gusts have taken the temperatures down more than 10° during less than half an hour. And a clear line can be seen between dense clouds being pushed down toward Galveston and crystal clear skies to the north over Houston.

Today our high temperature reached 78° without setting a new high for the day. Tomorrow we’ll see one brief day of what Houston calls “winter,” on overnight lows barely brushing the high 20s, then with the high temperature tomorrow afternoon only reaching 48°. But by Thursday it will be warming up into the 60s again, and don’t be too surprised if we’re back into the 70s for the weekend.

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Written by macheide

27 January 2009 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Houston Lets It

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Written by macheide

10 December 2008 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Gullywasher Warning

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Back when Hurricane Ike was threatening Houston, I picked up an NOAA public alert radio, which beeps in on us with tornado alerts and such (when I remember to keep it powered up). But for a basic heads-up of a pending Texas gullywasher, all one needs is Dish network. Eh, I’d still take satellite over cable anytime: satellite only loses touch for a minute or so when heavy weather passes through; cable’s business-as-usual left us out of touch for weeks straight without so much as a shrug.

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Written by macheide

11 November 2008 at 8:48 am

Posted in Mother Nature

Houston Autumn

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This is as much autumn as Houston will see. No leaves turning and falling and needing to get raked up. No frost on the grass and windows. No breath in the air. Just a little chill, enough to warrant bringing out my leather jacket for a few days.

Which is as long as this will last. Then we’ll go back to another of Houston’s many summers, until it’s time for a week of winter. Then we skip spring altogether and go back to summer.

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Written by macheide

27 October 2008 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Hurricane Ike Aftermath

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The center of Hurricane Ike passed us shortly after 3:30am CDT on Saturday, September 13, only about 15 miles away, at the time still boasting maximum sustained wind near 110mph and hurricane-force winds extending as far as 125 miles from center. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

18 September 2008 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Know Which Way the Wind Blows

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LIFE THREATENING INUNDATION LIKELY!

ALL NEIGHBORHOODS...AND POSSIBLY ENTIRE COASTAL COMMUNITIES...
WILL BE INUNDATED DURING THE PERIOD OF PEAK STORM TIDE. PERSONS
NOT HEEDING EVACUATION ORDERS IN SINGLE FAMILY ONE OR TWO STORY
HOMES WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH.

National Weather Service
Hurricane Local Statement WTUS84 KHGX

To paraphrase Bob, you don’t need an actuary to calculate them risks.

[Intriguing Update: The above-quoted text was copied-and-pasted directly late 9/11, no edits made here. But go to the source document on Friday, 9/12, and one word has been changed: “WILL” is now “MAY”. Still reads rather strong (although the actuary might debate the inconsistency of pairing the uncertainty of “may” with the apparent absolute of “certain”), but one does wonder why the change.]

[An Even More Intriguing Update: Government censors strike, just one of countless times they will do so during Ike and its aftermath! The post-Ike version of this NWS alert completely drops the above quote, which nevertheless did appear in the uncensored version!!]

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Written by macheide

11 September 2008 at 9:45 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Ike, Meet Lowell?

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About 4:30pm CDT here south of Houston, we just went through a brief but rather steady downpour.

A rain band coming in from Hurricane Ike this early on??

Back inside, I check out the satellite images and find a possible surprise. Which can be seen from this snapshot of a series of moving satellite images – not the best one of the set for showing the entire connection I’ll point to, but perhaps the best snapshot for showing the strength of a second system: Pacific Tropical Depression Lowell, currently coming in on the west coast of Mexico. As a named tropical system, Lowell will die on Mexico’s west coast before dark tonight. But what is all that precipitation stretching up from Lowell across Mexico deep into Texas. Is that junk spit out by Lowell before it made landfall? Or just something else that came in from the western U.S. to merge with a leading edge of Lowell?

Because what we saw here this afternoon seems to have come in at us from the west, from a stray strand leaning east from that large Mexican system. The only connection with Ike seems to maybe have come from a ultra-long spiral that reaches from Ike clear down through Guatemaula and back up, but reaching back as far as Houston only after connecting up with that main Mexican system. (Ignore what are probably Ike-related gray splotches near Houston in the image given in this post. Although this pic seemed the best for pointing to Lowell, it represents conditions about 3 hours before our little downpour. Around the time of the downpour, the only stuff overhead here was coming in a band stretching up from our southwest.)

More importantly, where is that stuff currently in western Texas headed? And if it connects up with Ike, what does that do? I’m sure the meteorologists have looked at all this; and it must amount to nothing, since we’ve heard nary a word about anything coming into Houston through our back door. Only Ike knocking on the front door. Still, tell me where our 4:30pm rain came from this afternoon, eh?

And I’m smirking a little at all any evacuees who decided against driving up to Dallas because of Ike’s projected northern bearing, choosing instead to head west to San Antonio . . . perhaps only to face drenching rain coming up at them from the southwest.

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Written by macheide

11 September 2008 at 4:45 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Hurricane Ike Preparations

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* * * At midnight moving into Saturday, 9/13,
Ike’s eye should pass over our roof within about 4 hours
still at hurricane strength when it does.
* * *

Subscribe to aftermath’s Hurricane Ike Map RSS feed.

Most of my blogging on Hurricane Ike from here on out will be contained on notes under the markers on my personal tracking map. And I’ll keep this aftermath post sticky until the storm is history, building it through then.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by macheide

10 September 2008 at 7:45 am

Zero Storm Surge Risk

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Comforting to know, the only storm surge risk our house faces will come only from my surge in interest in storms.

Back in 2001, tropical storm Allison (in part notable as the only Atlantic tropical system to have its name retired despite never reaching hurricane strength) taught me exactly how flat the Houston area is: virtually the entire area went underwater, with the floodline in our own neighborhood coming right up to our front door. So when 2005’s hurricane Rita bore down on Houston before veering north, dire predictions of storm surge gave me nightmarish visions of Gulf waves washing down our street. Research in preparation for a possible visit from Ike settles those fears. A direct hit from a cat 5 would leave areas in the light green and all other shoreward colored areas under water from storm surge, clearly devastating the region more than Katrina left New Orleans. But although we might still see enough rain to flood our own street, our house would be in no danger from storm surge.

My own mental “storm surge” recognizes no such boundaries. A lifelong map addict, I’ve always meant to track an incoming hurricane on one of those maps the local news broadcasters hand out at our local grocery stores every summer. This past weekend I finally did start taking pen to a tracking map, getting as far as a single plot point and scribbled note before realizing that only an electronic version would suit macheide. So I’ve been recording Ike’s progress on a personal google map, with each icon on the map holding what is emerging as an extended aftermath blog post in its own right, growing with every approaching step the storm takes toward us. Life jackets, everyone.

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Written by macheide

9 September 2008 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Worst Wet We’ll Witness

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My money’s riding on the bet that this 5-minute gullywasher that slowed my outbound commute this afternoon will be the worst weather we see over the course of the next 10 days.

That’s right, I do think we have a tropical storm force field protecting us: hurricanes that head straight for us bounce south or north just as everyone’s running around fretting about how to get out of town. So although I’m having fun playing with maps tracking Ike, we’re not making hotel reservations inland.

Bring it on!

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Written by macheide

8 September 2008 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Here Comes the Storm

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At dusk in Houston, we’re starting to see cloud cover from Gustav. I still haven’t gotten around to filling the Blue Bug‘s tank, but I don’t expect to regret my procrastination. Yes, we’ll be “wise” enough to keep an eye on the storm reports through the evening as it takes aim at New Orleans, but blame that more on the void in any other good TV than on any local weather threat. Even if the remnants veer westward, as some projections send it, we’ll be on the clean side of things and at most see a little leftover wind, hardly enough to make me worry about taking in the lawn furniture. Watch me yawn.

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Written by macheide

31 August 2008 at 6:43 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Hard Rain

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Tropical Storm Edouard gave us less wind and rain than this standard Texas gullywasher that passed through ever so briefly the day after.

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Written by macheide

6 August 2008 at 11:41 am

Posted in Mother Nature

Dolly Folly

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This sort of nonsense is about all we have to show for the millions of dollars and hours wasted on how we might supposedly avoid the mess made of Hurricane Rita‘s evacuation, in which more people died trying to get out of town than were killed by the storm itself.

Everyone did have full tanks when we all got on the road before Rita. That doesn’t help when everyone runs dry crawling along at less than a mile an hour. Posting up signs to tell us to do what we already have the common sense to do doesn’t give us the least bit of confidence that the authorities will be doing their own jobs any differently next time it actually matters.

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Written by macheide

21 July 2008 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

All Wet

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Yesterday morning, NPR’s weather report claimed we’d have only a “slight” chance of any rain all week long, rising to at most 30% on Wednesday. I drove through hard rain in yesterday afternoon’s commute, then saw more hard rain this morning coming back from a dental appointment.

Now on an impromptu trip up to see Jenny, the only dry road we’ve seen since leaving the house was a very brief stretch through downtown Houston. The rest of this trip, south of Houston and for well more than an hour of travel north of Houston, we’ve seen steady precipitation. (And we’ll see the same thing coming back Thursday afternoon: almost continuous rain from Huntsville all the way down to the house.)

You don’t need a weatherman to know this week’s weather report has been all wet.

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Written by macheide

24 June 2008 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Mother Nature

Never More Clear

never more clear
Such is the case with every single snapshot I attempt to catch with this camera, would be the way it would be with any camera I had, was especially noticeable with Boo, but is never more clear than when we have a double rainbow over our house: nature is always a far better artist than any of these images can ever show. Best these might be able to do would be to spark the imagination and illuminate the memory.

This rainbow was the brighest we’ve ever seen here, after one of the most delightfully violent thunderstorms we’ve had in a long time, at least more violent than anything any recent hurricane has thown our direction — in fact, a small twister was sighted around the corner in Pearland.

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Written by macheide

21 June 2008 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Mother Nature