Monday, October 8, 2018

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Friday, May 25, 2018

Monday, May 14, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Monday, March 5, 2018

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Short Takes

Deadly storms kill five in the South and Midwest.

Court rules against Trump’s attempt to kill DACA for now.

New York court rules that civil rights laws protect sexual orientation.

San Francisco Fire Department sees rise in breast cancer rates.

DeVos orders probe of how MSU handled sex-abuse investigation.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Winter Storm Grayson

It sounds like a name from a Jane Austen novel: Winter Storm Grayson.

Winter Storm Grayson will undergo bombogenesis off the Eastern Seaboard into Thursday, becoming an intense ocean low producing heavy snow, blizzard conditions, damaging winds and coastal flooding in New England.

Blizzard warnings have been posted for much of the coast from Maine to far northeastern North Carolina, including Boston, Portland, Maine, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Norfolk, Virginia.

Winter storm warnings have been issued to the west of the blizzard warnings, including much of the Interstate 95 Northeast urban corridor from Maine to Delaware. This includes New York City and Philadelphia.

Low pressure well off the Southeast coast will track north-northeast off the Eastern Seaboard and explosively intensify through Thursday, before plowing into Atlantic Canada Thursday night into Friday.

Areas in light blue denote snow. Pink and purple areas denote sleet or freezing rain. Areas in green, yellow, orange or red denote progressively heavier rain.

This explosive development is what meteorologists call bombogenesis, defined by a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure of 24 millibars or more in a period of 24 hours.

In this case, according to NOAA’s ensemble tracks forecast, Grayson’s central pressure could drop roughly 45 millibars in 24 hours ending Thursday evening just off southwestern Nova Scotia.

Not only would this be one of the most rapid rates of bombogenesis associated with an East Coast storm, but its central pressure may bottom out in the 950s millibars, also among the strongest offshore storms you’ll see.

Yeah, this is the subzero equivalent, at least in terms of threats to life and property, of a hurricane.  Take it very seriously.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Stay Warm

This weather pattern — the “bomb cyclone” — is a subzero version of a hurricane.

Unforgiving cold has punished the eastern third of the United States for the past 10 days. But the most severe winter weather yet will assault the area late this week.

First, a monster storm will hammer coastal locations from Georgia to Maine with ice and snow. By Thursday, the exploding storm will, in many ways, resemble a winter hurricane, battering easternmost New England with potentially damaging winds in addition to blinding snow.

Forecasters are expecting the storm to become a so-called “bomb cyclone” because its pressure is predicted to fall so fast, an indicator of explosive strengthening. The storm could rank as the most intense over the waters east of New England in decades at this time of year. While blizzard conditions could paste some coastal areas, the most extreme conditions will remain well out over the ocean.

In the storm’s wake, the mother lode of numbing cold will crash south — likely the last but most bitter in brutal blasts since Christmas Eve.

The responsible storm is forecast to begin taking shape off the coast of Florida Wednesday, unloading hazardous snow and ice in highly unusual locations not accustomed to such weather. The National Weather Service has already posted winter storm watches from Lake City, Fla. to Norfolk

It is then expected to rapidly intensify, buffeting the Mid-Atlantic beaches and eastern New England, where winter storm watches have also been issued.

Even though I live in South Florida, I am not gloating about this storm.  No one gloated about Hurricane Irma, and this weather could be on the same scale, at least in terms of the danger to lives, for the people in the storm’s path.  And since I have been through more severe cold blasts than I care to count during my years in Michigan and Minnesota (I recall a beautiful sunny morning in Minneapolis in January 1977 when it was -17 F), I speak from experience when I tell those of you up north to be very careful and remember your pets; they can’t tolerate the cold unprotected any more than you can.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday, October 9, 2017

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Planning Ahead

Miami-Dade County is putting together the first big evacuation plan in 12 years ahead of Hurricane Irma.  Via the Miami Herald:

The planned instructions to flee the county’s A and B evacuation zones — A covers coastal areas in southern Dade, Key Biscayne and a pocket north of Miami, while B encompasses Brickell Avenue, more inland areas and Miami Beach and other cities along the ocean — represent the most dramatic example of Miami-Dade’s efforts to clear out in advance of a hurricane that reached Category 5 status on Tuesday. Miami-Dade’s schools chief canceled classes Thursday and Friday, and most governments and colleges announced similar shutdown plans for an already shortened holiday week.

My house is literally on the border between Zones A, B, and C, and depending on the trends of the storm, I have contingency plans to go to a place in Zone D.  Of course I will obey instructions from authorities and I am prepared to go with a few moment’s notice: grab my valuable papers, unplug the computer and the external drive, and go.  (I even had a friend in North Carolina offer me shelter, assuming he doesn’t get hit, too.)

I’ll let you know how it goes and if I go.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Drowning A Long Time Coming

Charles P. Pierce on the ecological disaster that was waiting to happen long before Hurricane Harvey.

The effects of climate change are just an exacerbating bonus. It is now apparent that the city of Houston has managed itself in a way that was not dissimilar to the Monty Python sketch about the apartment building constructed through hypnosis. Stop believing in it, and it all falls to pieces.

The spell, of course, in this case, was cast 30 years ago, when it became political death to increase anybody’s taxes who had any political influence at all. It was cast 30 years ago, when conservative movement politics pitched deregulation as a panacea. It was cast 30 years ago when the fiction of a “business-friendly” environment overcame Republican governors, and more than a few Democrats as well. It was cast 30 years ago when conservative movement politics declared that important decisions on things like the environment and public health were better left to the states, despite the fact that many states, like Texas, were unable or unwilling to pay to do these jobs properly. It was cast 30 years ago when conservative movement politics consciously moved away from empirical research and science, beginning the long march that has ended with a Republican party committed root and branch to all of these fanciful propositions, and to climate denial. It has filtered down through all the levels of politics, from the White House and the Congress, to the state houses and the local zoning boards.

Once, long ago, the conservative activist Grover Norquist famously said that he wanted to shrink “government” to a size at which it could be drowned in the bathtub. Well, people actually are drowning in Houston now, and so is the political philosophy that reached its height when Ronald Reagan said in his first inaugural that government wasn’t the solution, but the problem itself. We all moved onto a political flood plain then, and we’re being swept away.

This is what is known as the universal truth best summed up as “karma is a bitch.”

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017