The Big Picture
This is very cool. Wind patterns around the globe, in real time. Gathered from NOAA data and mapped onto the Earth’s sphere.
Rotate it. Zoom in.
On this night, December 15, 2013, there’s some serious blows going down between Nova Scotia and Labrador, and across the isthmus of Mexico, while Capes Horn and Good Hope are relatively quiet.
There does, however, appear to a nasty cyclonishness twisting off Japan:
Amanda happy on the Chickahominy
More snow, sleet and freezing rain today. A good day to sit by the fire and look at pictures of summer.
One of the trips that didn’t get posted was a quick one to the Chickahominy late in the season. Amanda called one evening as I was driving home from work, and said “Let’s go sailing this weekend.” Powerful arm-twisting words, those are.
direct video link
Sailing season is all but over here, for this year. This morning there was ice covering the puddles. Fourth day in a row this week. We’ve had the wood stove on high since Thanksgiving, and have not ventured far from it.
It’s nice now to have the clips from this trip to work with, and relive it a bit.
Looking back through my files, I see there are several trips that never got posted – been a busy year. Looks like I’ll have material to carry well into winter, when clips of hot summer days on the water will be very welcome.
Almost exactly one year ago, to the day.
The Corrotoman juts off the north shore of the Rappahannock, a mile or so upriver from the White Stone Bridge.
When I was a boy the bridge scared me. Even my dog was afraid of the bridge, and would cower in the floor of the back seat when she saw the big steel trusses approaching.
Not just because it is very high for a bridge – when it was built post Pearl Harbor, the Navy wanted to use the deep Rappahannock as a hurricane hole and disperse the fleet from Norfolk quickly, and be able to get upriver and back even if a storm (or Japanese planes) knocked out the power, so a low, drawbridge type wouldn’t do – but, more significantly, because it was so high a few people had gone over the edge to their deaths. Driving across you could see scars in the guardrails where they swerved and bounced over. Grandfather never failed to point them out. I could imagine too clearly the bumping crunch, the long silence of the drop, and the explosive splash at the end.
the Great Lakes in winter
“White Hurricane” by Lou Blouin of FoundMichigan.org
An excellent story of an epic storm that struck the Great Lakes 100 years ago today.
Modern weather forecasting was in its infancy. At the time, basic weather observations were gathered by hand by people scattered across the country, like human instruments, then wired back to the Weather Bureau in Washington, DC, where it was all compiled, analyzed for patterns and clues, regurgitated, codified, and wired back. These “forecasts” were a half day or more out of date by the time they arrived. Fast changing conditions simply charged through the open cracks. The warnings of a major storm sometimes arrived after the storm did.
That’s what happened in 1913. A fierce arctic gale out of Canada crashed into a warm gulf front pouring over the Appalachians. The collision occurred over the Great Lakes, and caught the whole region by surprise, exploding into a storm never seen before. Two feet of snow fell overnight. Winds went from balmy to hurricane force within the span of a half hour, whipping up waves 35 feet high. Ships and sailors on the notoriously dangerous waters were caught vulnerable and woefully unprepared for what lay in store.
By the time it was done, 12 major ships and over 250 men were lost in this single storm – more than in all the seasons of the decade before combined. Bodies of sailors washed up on the shores for days, as did parts of their ships, often scribbled with their forlorn farewells to loved ones.
A great story well told, well worth a read.
Steve Earley in Spartina
A long time ago, when I asked why puffs of wind coursing across the water were called “cat’s paws,” I was told it’s because the wind makes patterns on the surface shaped like a cat’s paw. Sounded reasonable.
Well, obviously, this is wrong. And clearly an explanation made up by someone who never set foot on a sailboat once their whole life.
Spartina in the slip
Steve warned me about the wine festival going on next door.
Leaving the mountains before daylight (I am sooo not a morning person), then driving east a couple of hours with nothing but a pot of coffee for breakfast, then headlong into the blinding rising sun, only to arrive in a city already unnavigable on any day, but now with barricaded streets (“Now With Even More Unnavigabilty!”), well dang. Every street within four blocks of Spartina was garrisoned by petulant orange cones blockading the precious oenophiles, barring passage. Tired of circling the block, I bounced over a concrete median into a parking garage, waving at the not overly amused patrolman. He was there for the overtime – getting paid to block the road, not write tickets – and we both knew that.