Friday, February 28, 2020

Happy Friday

Just in time for the AACA Winter Nationals, a cool front passed through South Florida overnight to bring cool temperatures — for Miami — and 0% chance of rain from now through Sunday.

The worst part of a car show in South Florida can be the heat and humidity, even in winter.  But for our show participants, many who are coming from up north, this is the kind of weather that makes them look for real estate down here.  Only then do we break the news about the traffic.  It took me an hour to get from the host hotel to my house before rush hour, and it’s 19 miles.  On the expressway.  And yes, the irony of the fact that we’re hosting a car show is not lost on me.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is what I’m taking to the show: my 1988 Pontiac 6000 Safari wagon, going for its fifth Repeat Preservation Driver Participation badge.

For those of you who care, Driver Participation class means it is not judged on the 400 points AACA uses to judge cars in other classes, but on the overall originality of the car and its maintenance as a car that has been and often remains a daily driver. It’s not a trailer queen — I drive it to the shows (and sometimes actually get there) — and I haven’t spent $100,000 on restoring it back to factory original.

What is fun about the Pontiac is that it draws crowds who tell me that they had one just like it or that they have fond memories of riding in the one their moms drove to take them to school or soccer practice or on family trips.  And I hear a lot of “they don’t make these anymore.”  No, they don’t.  The SUV and the minivan have relegated the station wagon, once the most popular body style, at least in terms of sales, to the automotive memory banks.  Seeing one like mine — which in itself is a rare find, since the Pontiac version of the GM A-body run in the 1980’s and ’90’s had the lowest production figures — is unusual at a car show, especially a national meet.  There will be plenty of Corvettes, Mustangs, foreign and exotic and rare nameplates like Alvis and Auto-Union, but I’m pretty sure that mine will be one of very few wagons — fake wood grain or not — on the field tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Cool Breeze

Every so often we get a gentle reminder here in South Florida that we don’t live in the tropics. This would be a nice summer day in northern Michigan.

The red warning triangle is for the rip tides, not because it’s below 70F.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Monday, October 21, 2019

Catching Up

It was a long weekend in Lakeland.  The fuel system on the Pontiac had some issues to the point that we got about 85 miles from Miami and had to turn around and come home.  We left the Pontiac at Bob’s house and took his car.  Tropical Storm Nestor moved across Florida and brought heavy rains Friday night and Saturday morning so the show was moved lock, stock, and barrel into three covered public garages.  By 11:00 a.m. the weather cleared and the rest of the day was beautiful.  The photo was from later in the day when the clouds had cleared to the east but some more rain showers were moving in.

We left early Sunday morning (and a shorting-out fire alarm system at 4:30 a.m. didn’t help with a good night’s sleep, neither did walking down nine flights of stairs carrying our luggage because the elevators were locked out) and got home around 11:00 a.m.

I’m taking the Pontiac into the shop this morning, then catching up on some work once I get to school.  So I’ll be back a little later to catch up on what’s been going on.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tropical Update

The National Hurricane Center is keeping a lookout on several storms, but the one that might come near Florida and the East Coast is TS Karen.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Monday, September 2, 2019

Hurricane Spotting

Just so you know: look at the map below. If you drew a straight line from Miami to Homestead, my house is approximately halfway along that line. So we are in the clear as far as hurricane force winds are concerned and we’re not being told to evacuate. The tell is that the latitude of the eye is north of us.  You’re usually safe when that happens.

We’re still expecting wind and rain, but nothing like what they’re expecting 100 miles north of us.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Hurricane Dorian

5:15 AM EDT: The forecast track is basically the same as yesterday afternoon, but now it is predicted to become a hurricane and a Category 2 by the time it makes landfall along the central coast of Florida.  Residents in that part of the state should get ready.  Puerto Rico is already in the path and is bracing for it.


7:00 PM EDT: Forecast now shows Dorian making landfall on Monday as a Category 2 along the Space Coast of Florida (Cape Canaveral).

3:00 PM EDT: Now it’s a hurricane.  Miami-Dade County is on the edge of the cone and the weak side, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be significant wind and rain in the area.  Cape Canaveral is in the center of the cone, but it covers from the upper Keys to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and as we’ve learned with many storms in the past, they can go anywhere.

10:00 AM EDT: This map has Dorian becoming a Category 3 by Monday morning.

4:00 AM EDT

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Monday, August 26, 2019

Not A Good Idea

Via Axios:

Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, according to sources who have heard the president’s private remarks and been briefed on a National Security Council memorandum that recorded those comments.

Behind the scenes: During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, “I got it. I got it. Why don’t we nuke them?” according to one source who was there. “They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they’re moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can’t we do that?” the source added, paraphrasing the president’s remarks.

Here’s why that’s a bad idea, according to NOAA:

During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

Now for a more rigorous scientific explanation of why this would not be an effective hurricane modification technique. The main difficulty with using explosives to modify hurricanes is the amount of energy required. A fully developed hurricane can release heat energy at a rate of 5 to 20×1013 watts and converts less than 10% of the heat into the mechanical energy of the wind. The heat release is equivalent to a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. According to the 1993 World Almanac, the entire human race used energy at a rate of 1013 watts in 1990, a rate less than 20% of the power of a hurricane.

If we think about mechanical energy, the energy at humanity’s disposal is closer to the storm’s, but the task of focusing even half of the energy on a spot in the middle of a remote ocean would still be formidable. Brute force interference with hurricanes doesn’t seem promising.

In addition, an explosive, even a nuclear explosive, produces a shock wave, or pulse of high pressure, that propagates away from the site of the explosion somewhat faster than the speed of sound. Such an event doesn’t raise the barometric pressure after the shock has passed because barometric pressure in the atmosphere reflects the weight of the air above the ground. For normal atmospheric pressure, there are about ten metric tons (1000 kilograms per ton) of air bearing down on each square meter of surface. In the strongest hurricanes there are nine. To change a Category 5 hurricane into a Category 2 hurricane you would have to add about a half ton of air for each square meter inside the eye, or a total of a bit more than half a billion (500,000,000) tons for a 20 km radius eye. It’s difficult to envision a practical way of moving that much air around.

The short answer is that not only would it do nothing to dissipate the storm, it would, in turn, spread radioactive fallout as it grew and traveled across the ocean.

Speaking of tropical storms, Dorian is ginning up in the Atlantic.

Not to worry; we’ll just nuke the shit out of it and spread fallout all over South Florida.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Small Favors

It looks like Hurricane Barry did not devastate New Orleans.

On Sunday afternoon, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) issued the all-clear for the city, which regained some sense of normalcy even as the skies periodically opened and unleashed another batch of heavy rain.

“We absolutely made it through the storm. Beyond lucky, we were spared,” Cantrell said in a public briefing about the tropical storm. “As those [rain] bands moved closer to New Orleans, it just seemed to go around us.”

And the ICE raids that were threatened did not occur despite all the tough talk.

The nationwide immigration raids that President Trump said would begin Sunday failed to materialize on the streets of major U.S. cities, even as his statement cast a cloud of fear that kept many families indoors. Immigration enforcement authorities said their plans to track down migrants with deportation orders would continue, but their operations over the weekend appeared more akin to routine actions rather than the mass roundups the president promised.

In either case both the natural and the man-made disasters could strike again, but at least we were spared this weekend.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Monday, June 24, 2019

Hot Town

I’ve lived in Miami for almost 20 years (this go-around; I was here for three in the 1970’s), and I don’t remember it getting this hot.

A meteorologist friend suggested that it was a bad sensor, but if you went outside yesterday it felt like it was over 100. And I’ve been in 100 before.

But it’s not really happening, right? It’s a hoax, right?

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Still Cold Up There

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the utilities in the Twin Cities are asking their customers to turn down their thermostats to 63 F during the Polar Vortex so as to not strain the system.  At this writing it is -27 F in Minneapolis.

That’s cold.

The good news is that the vortex will pass and by Sunday the high in Minneapolis is expected to be 44 F.  That’s a 71 degree swing to the warm side.  For now.  It’s still winter, and my memories of living at that latitude include snow and ice up to and beyond Mothers Day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

That’s Hot

As we’re taught in elementary school science class, when it’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s summer in the Southern.  So while we’re going through extreme cold in the Midwest, they’re getting extreme heat in Australia.

As a polar vortex hits the U.S. Midwest, the extreme opposite is happening in Australia. The heat wave has parched landscapes, triggered damaging wildfires, pushed demand on the power grid to the brink and toppled significant records, Capital Weather Gang’s Angela Fritz wrote last week.

Temperatures soared to 116 degrees on Thursday in Adelaide, South Australia. That’s the highest temperature for any capital in Australia, according to Fritz. In the southeastern corner of the country, overnight temperatures were as high as 96 degrees — the warmest overnight lows for January anywhere in the world.

Australia’s climate has warmed by about 2 degrees since 1910, leading to more frequent heat waves and severe drought conditions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Eight of Australia’s top-10 warmest years on record have happened in the past 13 years.

So if the climate-change deniers are having wondering where the global warming is, they need to be aware that yes, indeed, the world is round and that there’s more to the climate than what’s happening in their own home town.