Tag Archives: weather

Wayward Wind

Earlier this week, apparently, a jet stream moved and set up a gigantic storm stretching across most of the eastern United States. A huge storm, I’ve never heard of one this big. Larger than most hurricanes, if judging it by the size of the front in this weather map (click to make it bigger):

And look at the size of that low pressure zone! Holy crap!

It’s just amazing. Tornadoes from Wisconsin all the way to the east coast, heavy snows up in northern Minnesota and North Dakota, and dangerously high winds throughout almost all of the eastern US. Also reported have been record low barometric pressures, comparable to a category three hurricane. Wow. Kind of reminds me of that cheesey movie from several years ago, The Day After Tomorrow. Or, from even earlier, a very interesting sci fi book called “Mother of Storms” (will have to look up the author–I think his last name was Barnes, but I can’t remember which Barnes he was).

Somehow, though, we’ve been lucky where I live. Winds topped out at about 51 mph yesterday, according to the local paper, and no major damage in the area. Just some busted tree branches, blown-over garbage cans and a few minor downed power lines.

How did we get so lucky?

The wind continues to blow today. Right outside where I work there’s a series of high-voltage transmission towers going by, with four power lines threaded along them. They make an eerie, beautiful howl when the wind gets strong, up and down as the wind speed fluctuates, fading into nothing if it slows down too much. The lines stretch sideways in the wind, instead of downward. I wish I could go outside and just listen for a while. For some odd reason, I want this weather to last for days. I’ll be disappointed when the wind stops.

1 Comment

Filed under doom and gloom

Odd weather this summer

I started noticing clouds a couple of summers ago. By “started noticing,” I mean I noticed them in a way I hadn’t noticed before. It’s not that I’d never noticed clouds, obviously, it’s that in summer of 2007 I started to notice them with a photographer’s eye. I’ve also noticed that, for instance, there are types that are much more typical for the winter, and some much more typical for the summer.

This summer, though, has not been typical. In order to illustrate this, take a look at this, which was taken in early July, 2007:

Big Puffy Cloud

Although it was an exceptionally fine specimen, that type of big, crisply-defined cumulus cloud tends to be pretty common in Wisconsin in the summer.

This summer, though, they have been almost totally absent. In fact, the dearth of regular, puffy, well-defined cumulus clouds has gotten to be pretty surprising. Oh, there are cumulus clouds pretty regularly, but instead of clear, well-defined cumulus, we’ve been getting ill-defined and markedly scraggly cumulus, as if the entire species of cloud known as “cumulus” has come down with an illness of some kind.

Some of the best cloud patterns we’ve had all summer were in early July, such as these here (this photo taken almost exactly two years after the previous one):

Some grass on the beach. :P

There were some nice clouds that day, but clearly not cumulus, and on a lot of days, there will be no clouds at all for most of the day.

Instead of clouds, we’ve had haze. Day after day the sky will be clear, and if you’re in a spot where you can see the horizon, you can clearly see a substantial amount of hazy moisture in the air. Somehow, all this moisture has been having a hard time forming into the usual cloud patterns. This means there hasn’t been much rain, either. Autumn colors have started in the past week, in spite of the lack of cold weather, and my theory is that the trees just gave up hoping for a good soak and decided to cash in their chips for the year.

Anyway, I wonder what the deal is. El Niño perhaps?

It’s not been good from a photography standpoint, because for one thing, crappy clouds make crappy pictures. Beyond that, I’ve found that the polarizer I got last spring doesn’t work nearly as well when there’s a lot of haze in the air (I should have known that already, but somehow it wasn’t apparent to me back in the film days).

Maybe now that we’re heading into autumn, things will change. Even they don’t, though, there will still be the fall colors. I have a feeling they are going to be especially nice this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under brainstorming, photography