Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talk Thursday: What I Learned This Summer

For the last day or so I was totally flummoxed, despite the ramblings in my last post I couldn’t figure out what I have learned over the summer. And, the other option? I’ve been nowhere, except for a Ringo Starr concert in Eugene.

Well okay, balderdash! I learned how to make a superior thermodynamic survival shelter if I’m ever stranded in the frozen tundra with a solar blanket, plastic tarp, and a flint. I learned how to gig a piranha if I am ever hungry in the Amazon rain forest. And well I just couldn’t watch the episodes with rattlers, cottonmouths, and vipers. Ugh. Really some shows should come with viewer warnings. Hey, I know how to pasteurize water to a drinkable consistency without fire – now that one I might be able to use.

So here you have it… What I Learned Over My Summer Vacation Replete With Satellite Pictures Proudly Stolen Borrowed From NOAA

Years ago I took a weather seminar by one of Oregon’s better meteorologist that was absolutely fascinating. We learned how to read thunderclouds (hey on the Oregon Coast we don’t get a lot of lightning and thunder), rain clouds, and things I’ve long forgotten. I loved the seminar… and never took another one; yes I’m that friggin’ lazy.

And then it hit me, all summer long I’ve been badgering Tyree up at the National Weather Service about satellite pictures. No really. I give the weather forecast at least seven days a week (hey, that was a totally plausible statement) and while NWS and NOAA are fairly dependable… if you live inland… I have long learned that I need to…hmmm tweak the prognostication into something with more… potential plausibility. So I read the forecast, read the marine forecast, read the warnings, and constantly watch the satellite pictures and I write my weather forecast beginning with

Morning clouds giving way to partly sunny skies with increasing northwest winds 15 to 25mph… northwest marine winds 15 to 20 knots… today’s coastal high temperatures in the low to mid 60s.

Coastal Weather Rules of Thumb:
#1 If you have more than three days of heat in the valley you get fog on the coast… just sucks that puppy right in.
#2 If the wind is not up by 10 it will be up by 2.
#3 We have three weeks of amazing weather somewhere in January/February
#4 If it’s going to snow it will on February 12th
#5 The power will go out when the emergency generator’s battery is dead
#6 The best weather on the Oregon Coast is in September… when all the above is nil and void

If you’ve every been to the Oregon Coast you know that is a totally doable forecast. If it’s winter, we have...

rain with coastal winds southwest 25 to and 35mph, gusting to 90 on the beaches and headlands… marine gales south 40 to 45 knots… Coastal high temperatures 40 to 45 degrees…

Really a baby could do it. Just don’t write your forecast for more than a day and a half in advance.

I am finding satellite pictures amazing, mesmerizing. And it helps to have a real weather guy answer my questions. It all began with this picture.

Surprisingly I just about had it figured out. But still I sent a description of what I was seeing on the satellite at 140 longitude and what I thought it looked like. Airplane contrails. Shocker. Tyree wrote back and said I was very close – they are ship contrails that are only visible by satellite when weather conditions are just right. Which must be summer because I’ve been able to see them a lot through out the season. Dig the weather system’s swirl in the gulf of Alaska. BTW - Someone should let those captains know you shouldn’t drink and drive.

NOAA’s satellite pictures also offer a water vapor picture. Way kewl and very colourful. But what’s that orange? Heat? I figured the white mean thin clouds or fog, the darker the green the more the water concentration of the clouds. And the cool puffy things? Thunder heads. I forgot to as about that. But I did ask about the orange. I was kinda wrong. Orange is dry air… which in my mind looks like hot dry air and there you go.

These are pictures I especially love…

They are like the world at peace…

Well at least it looks good.

And totally off the subject, who are they fooling with these phones that feature touchable, expandable screens? WTF who can see that crap? Watch a movie? Excuse me, I want a 52 high definition flat screen with unending buttered popcorn (in someone else’s house, mine’s too small.) Read a map? Honey, I get my pictures printed larger than that, frick I’m middle aged, it takes a pair of readers and a magnifying glass to read which color of mascara I’m buying.


PS Congrats to Tandy, Simon, and Baby Zander - I wish you a wonderful life.

PSS - Thank you to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the unauthorized use of their beautiful satellite pictures.


Jen said...

I live in North Texas, where the three weather systems in the United States (the north Gulf Stream, the western Santa Ana winds and the warm humid air from the Carribean) all collide. I don't know why they bother to forecast weather more than two days out here because there's just no way to know. I've been known to hear the weather guy on TV announce that "by Thursday we'll be back into the low Nineties" and responding with "Yeah, right." This year on the first day of spring we got 10 inches of snow. A week later we hit 80. I'm just sayin'.

foundinidaho said...

You could beat the weathermen here all to hell. They suck.

Oh, and Twitter hasn't totally stolen me away. I promise. :)