Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I reckon you know I love to infuse pictures and artistic text dialogue...and though I have some nice pics of my Red-Tail Hawks to post, I'm still editing and a ways away from posting those pics....
With that said, a lot of you are checking in for my latest take on the weather, sans pics...
H'yar it is, y'all....
I get a lot of requests for CLT weather...this is focused on TRIAD weather, FYI...interesting set-up as we have and will have a COLD, DRY arctic airmass over the Triad today...yes, there is NO high in PA/NY/ New England to drive a cold wedge that way...what we have is 'in situ' factors that will build a cold wedge by natural laws and processes....
FOR THE TRIAD...
2-4" of snow/sleet before mixing in freezing rain, for Surry, Yadkin, and most of Stokes County, maybe a NW corner of Forsyth...for the major cities of Greensboro, W-S and High Point, 1-3 inches before a transition to sleet and freezing rain...and less to points east and south.
Ice accumulations should be 1/4" or so, but some locales may approach 1/2"...that would mean some downed trees and power lines. Luckily we have no big wind fields to whip trees and lines around, but icing is still a BIG concern.
ONSET is still AFTER we all head to school and work in the AM...this is a MAJOR problem as the roads should deteriorate quickly, which means shuttling students and workers home when roads are worsening...a HUGE 'UGH' for us....TRIAD temps are expected to hold at or below freezing all day long...which is self-explanatory in terms of travel woes.
Been on two conference calls today, one with Greenville-Spartanburg NWS office and one with Raleigh NWS office...there is a querulous situation with some News14 Triad counties since Blacksburg, VA controls you, and their watch/warning criteria is MORE than what we have in the Carolinas...so the watches and warnings may not exactly 'match up'...hence no 'watch' when everyone else was in one...
Suffice it to say we have a day where roads will quickly deteriorate on Thursday, and I advise any and all to hunker down and avoid getting out if at all possible, Thursday...
I will update early in the morning, Thursday, when I get a 'good' feel for the latest information...
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
At its best, really fun, upbeat music that I can still hear, though the old LPs I had of his are long gone. (I can just hear the younger ones going "LP? Was that something before MP3?"). Yep, ol' vinyl records, long gone from a, well...make like a rope and skip it for now...!
One of their many classic songs was "Too Much Fun", which is exactly what we mets won't be having by the way our impending Thursday weather scenario is presently morphing...
"Too much fun, there seems to be
Too much fun, Heavens be!
A whole lotta things that I never done,
I ain't ever had too much fun..."
Lots of factors are pointing toward up to 1/2 an inch of ice along with a small snow/sleet layer by the time all is said in done....the first 'best' chances will develop later in the morning through early afternoon, then another push later in the evening into the night past midnight. As I write and post this there are no advisories/watches/or warnings, but I can promise you THAT will change and soon.
Here is a look at the Tuesday afternoon run of the GFS model for Thursday evening.
Note the "X" for the Triad...the low is favorably placed to our south and west with lots of moisture colored in. However, maps have not been showing a 'parenting High', as I call it, one that would sit where the "xH" is toward the top...there will be a High well into the Atlantic that will supply a limited east wind, but it is not the ideal position to drive a cold wedge. In fact, this model shows NO cold wedge at all developing...the blue line is the start of the snow line from rain, basically, and it has it well away from us to the north and west. If such a map were to play out, we'd be talking rain and in the 40s for this event...but that won't happen.
Surface temps Thursday morning should be around the 25 degree mark, with increased clouds. While the temperature will slowly notch upward, the first rounds of precipitation to arrive will evaporate and start cooling the air column. Models are showing the temperature staying below freezing until 6pm Thursday evening...if there is a break in the precip late in the afternoon, it will give the air a chance to get a tad warmer, but all signs are pointing to a slippery mess. The overall main precip type of concern will be freezing rain, though there will be early periods of snow and sleet...
Here is the big problem for schools: they have to "make the call" before sunrise, and there won't be anything going on. By 11am, I fully expect to have precip going and seeing quickly deteriorating roads through the noon hour...then everyone hits the roads to try and get home...you have sub-freezing temps...with lots of moisture and, well...you can see the handwriting on that wall.
Yeah, we'll wait and see for the moment. I am posting this before going to sleep instead of early Wednesday...I'll update later Wednesday afternoon with more thoughts, I'm sure.
Don't have too much fun, now, ya hear?
With respect to the Jurassic Period, it's a mere burp. Yo.
Daily wafts of baking grains and brown sugar glazes fill the house and surrounding environs, continuing a tradition that has withstood the test of time with flying colors…and then some.
Monte Montello and I are the two full-time meteorologists for News 14 in the Triad, and we took the day to do a little traveling to area Visitor’s Centers and other sites Monday, albeit in those biting northwest winds and temperatures that could not muster 40 degrees. And what better way to beat the chill than to duck inside the cozy Winkler Bakery to pick up some goodies…and to meet some new ‘friends’ along the way.
He happened to be at the helm when Monte and I cruised in…well, Monte cruised in, while I limped like a wounded Limposaurus with my troublesome knee…so he invited us to see how the make the magic, at least the latter part of it. We missed the morning mixing of dough in what looks like a large cradle, as well as the kneading of dough on the paddle boards...but we did see the pans and loaves ready to fired by the oak-heated brick oven…9 feet deep…2 feet high…some odd feet wide…fired in the morning, with enough heat to make some 5 rounds of baking, I’m told.
If you have never experienced a hot, freshly baked flat of Moravian Sugar Cake, you ain’t lived. And here we were at the very heart of the history of that Moravian community and pastry, seeing the Real McCoy.
Reggie and Bobby kept loadin' em' in for the mid-day baking, because even in the dead of winter customers like us kept comin' on in...and for very good reason...
May you, as well...
Monday, January 29, 2007
And so I am musing without a whole lot in my creative bucket to pour out at the moment...I've spent the weekend on my topmost project priority, which is a very special flute commissioned for a school museum being created, dedicated to Native Americans and their way of life...making flutes is a very Spiritual process for me, and through various thought and meditative processes I get 'visions' on what to create. The moveable block on the Native American style of flute is the very last thing I make...just my 'way', I suppose...and this flute is a beauty, all done around the theme of 'water'. I will post the finished product on or after the presentation date, February 7...but for now I thought I'd let you see the fruits of my weekend labor from a single block of basswood...
From a sketch, to cutting out a silhouette outline, to grinding and rounding ad nauseum...to more finely shaping and sanding...to burning details...to the preliminary 'blocking' paint coats...it has been a meditative tedium of details that actually feeds my Soul. And it makes a dusty mess, that I'm happy to live with, I might add.
Going back to the 'perspective' idea...as you know, I pretty much take a camera with me when I go out into the woods each day. Yeah, January lends itself to a somewhat 'lifeless' landscape, though I've shown you pics of fungus, hawks, and all that refutes any sense of 'lifeless'...I have a few picture sets that I took on helping you practice your perspective when you are out and about...what looks like a basic, blah scene can be much more...depending on 'perspective'...
What looks like an interesting leaf pair with subtle textures in sunlight...
...is another world when you see it from the other side with the sun shining through it...
What is a boring scene of soccer goals all scrunched together...
...produces some neat patterning when you reframe your focus...
And a blah scene of parking lot and playing fields...
...has within it a nice reflective little microcosm all its own...
As you go about today, this week, or anytime, try to remember it's not necessarily what you see...but how you see it...and not what you experience...but...more importantly...how you choose to experience it.
Peace, all y'all.
Friday, January 26, 2007
When I first heard the sound I could only tell the direction from whence it came, but nothing of what it was...I know that 3/4 of a mile away there is a large field area that is slated for (another) development, though I had seen nothing more than survey marker ribbons and their alien colors waving erratically from time to time...as I listened, it slowly got a little louder...louder yet...
There was a point it sounded like the distant screeching, squeeking, clanking sounds made by treaded earth-moving machines like bulldozers...or tanks (childhood movie memories, what can I say...) It only took a minute to realize it was nothing of the sort as the sound quickly increased in volume and scope...
(CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE)
We must have been hidden along the tree line with the scrub area as thousands of blackbirds came just over the tops of the trees flying, wheeling, flitting, landing, flitting, flying, wheeling, creating quite the din. Apparently they were a bit surprised to see us, as well, quickly scattering and returning to the trees.
Even Mercy didn't know what to make of the cacophanus cackles and flying feathers. I had only a moment to fire off a few shots and cross my fingers that they would be good enough to use. Got a little lucky, I guess.
In very short order, they were gone. The air quickly fell silent except for the droning traffic. We soon exited the woods onto the playing fields...I looked and scanned in all directions, but could neither see nor hear them. It lasted such a brief time, yet it was kind of magical just being in the midst of such vibrance, if but for a brief moment. In case you were wondering, no, Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" never crossed my mind until hours later...
But do you think the story stops there? Does anything I write stop anywhere? Once home, my mind was thinking of creative things I could write about and say...my Mom would always say "money, money, money!" when she would see such a massing, something she learned as a kid in Oklahoma...supposed to bring you money when you do it...(sorry, Mom, didn't work)...and I had thought of using something like "4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie...plus a few extra thousand..." So I did a quick websearch to bone up on old nursery rhymes, and came across the one I needed: "Sing A Song Of Sixpence"...
I don't mean to burst your bubble here (mine was burst first, if that makes you feel any better), but that little innocent children's ditty was actually an encoded message in verse for Blackbeard's legions to sign up fellow plunderers...I kid you not. I will let you read all about it when you have the time...just click on the classic pirate vocalization to go to it: "Aaarrrrghh!"
NOW GET BACK TO WORK, YA SCURVY-DOGS!!!
Thursday, January 25, 2007
If there is one thing that leaves me shaking my head in life isn't just hearing somebody that is really, really bad...that stuff is a dime a dozen...it's those individuals who are truly deluded enough to believe that they have a chance to 'make it' to Hollywood and the finals. Ego is a powerful thing, and having it help you lose sight of any sense of reality is a double whammy. And then they act so hurt, dejected, crying 'victim' to judges' criticisms which were deserved in every respect. OK, so you don't have to drop a skunk from 5 feet up in the air; you can just lower it to the ground, stroke it and say, "Here's a lollipop...off you go, sweetie..." Sometimes the drop just has to happen to drive home a point...and then the worst of the worst STILL don't get it.
Everyone laughs about William Hung who hit fame with his Ricky Martin "She Bangs" rendition years back...he sucks, he's horrible...but we as a society have a distorted way of celebrating stupid stuff, and people still pay to have him cut CDs, do talk show interviews, and sing at special shopping mall functions. Unfathomable.
Yep, I tape and watch the auditions and such. It's good entertainment, even for all the moments of fingernails on a chalkboard. And then there are those deliberately placed, delicious vocal nuggets where you breathe a sigh of relief when you hear someone with real talent. So far, Sundance Head sang a number to rewrite the Blues at the recent Memphis auditions...we shall see.
Talent. The kind that makes your jaw drop as you think back to when you were their age and what you were doing with your life and spare time...that's what I'm going to leave you with for this morning...
I realize some of you may pull this up at work but don't have speakers or headphones to hear these following clips, but you need to. By accident I sort of came across these 3 selections that will leave you agape...they did me...
"I do hereby testify that these video clips are worth listening to more than once..."
an 11 year-old that innocently sits on sofa and rocks some R&B out...
an 11 year-old girl from an "Idol" off-shoot program that, honestly, I ain't never heard such an 'experienced' sounding voice from a "Tween"...
and lastly, while older than 11, a young man sitting in Central Park playing a ukulele like I've never heard one played before...actually, I can only remember Tiny Tim and his "Tiptoe, Through The Tulips" song...while a little long, listen to all of the ukelele song...raw from-the-Soul talent.
11 year-old guitarist
11 year-old diva
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Naturally, I have a reason for leading in with that...2 days ago I pulled in from work, into the peaceful cul de sac while most everyone is off at work...opened my car door and then sat mulling through the decision process of which load of junk I take in first or leave for later, like I do every single day. Right away I heard a Blue Jay screech and said to myself,"Ah, a Blue Jay...". Then I heard another one and said, "Ah, another Blue Jay..." while I continued to mull through my way-too-plenteous 'stuff'. As I quickly decided to screw it and take nothing in, I realized there was quite the cacophony of several Jays in the tree beside the house.
If you read enough of my posts you know how I espouse Nature as a wonderful teacher if we will but stop and listen. Jays get riled up when they need a show of force, and they need a show of force when they have a potential foe in their territory. It's pretty thick woods from the yard-less house back down into the ravine, but with leaves off the trees I could at least look for shapes...and there it was. One of the 2 hawks I catch glimpses of from time to time. With myriad branches in the way, I really couldn't see any more than it was a Buteonidae member, sitting there non-plussed with the Jays bouncing around limb to limb trying to annoy the hawk enough to take wing.
I went inside to let Mercy out, and grabbed the camera to quietly go out the back door, forgetting that Mercy would make a mad dash to attend to any squirrels within sight of the feeder. The hawk looked down our way, and I was barely able to get a good look at it before it decided to head deeper into the woods. Again from earlier posts, you've seen my other pictures of a brace of hawks, and without thinking too hard figured these were the same...the two locations are very close together and they freely course through their territorial range.
Not so. To my surprise, the jay-riling hawk is a Red-Shoulder Hawk, and is colored quite differently on the breast than my beloved Red-Tail Hawk pictured below from a couple of days ago. And then I take a moment and remember Red-Tails like access to open areas, where Red-Shoulders are more prone to be within the woods.
Red-Shoulders aren't seen as much as Red-Tails as they are prone to be a little more reclusive, though living within urban America you can't really hide in too many places...one of many reasons that if sprawl cannot be controlled, then we must incorporate significant green spaces amidst the asphalt jungles.
Anyway, just my ramblings for the early morn. Where I park to take Mercy for her woods walk, there is this storm drain she swears has critters in it, so she runs over to it just to make sure...took an artsy snap of it for your viewing pleasure. It's really grate, too.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
At the moment, I have only Mercy. She's rather youthful and not 'old age' by any means. Only 2 years back she had a 14 yr. old American Eskimo step-sister "Snowball"...
...and a look-alike step-brother "Yoda", who wasn't really that old....Snowball had been abused by her owner, and at 14 was a psychotic mess...yet with Love and coddling she came to trust again accept the hand that fed her, even if for only a year or so... And Yoda-Boy, for whom Mercy is named...
Yoda running and smiling once home from the shelter...
...when I got Mercy from the shelter, she looked SO much like Yoda that I would look at her and say, "Mercy!" and, well, the name stuck...
Yoda (L) and Mercy (R)...
Yoda was only about 7 or 8 when he developed some form of cancer that was a) incurable, and b) not worth spending $2,000 to find out which type of cancer it was...I graciously put him down in my arms a little over a year ago... I tell you all that because we would all do well to ensure we have an outlook on life that does just that...looks out. If you ever want to heal yourself or feel better, do something for someone else. And furry ones are a pretty cool choice.
Coconut, possibly the most Spiritual of all...
"Life" is a huge circle, and each of us is but a very small little blip in the greater scope of the ages...and we would all do well to embrace the "Tao of Adopting Older Dogs" in order to be more in Harmony with the Circle of Life's energy flow...the Joy is in the giving to others, including animal companions...NOT in reaping egoistic glory for the "me"....the rewards are instant, and far-reaching. Here's a cyber-toast to all my 'companions' that enriched me beyond words...
Sunday, January 21, 2007
This has been a crazy afternoon...what you have to keep in mind with any and all models is that - uh, duh, they are "models" of time ahead and NOT what will actually happen. All day I've watched NWS products talk of highs in the upper 30s here, little freezing rain accumulation, and the only Triad warning for ice is Surry County. Yadkin, Stokes, and Rockingham Counties have been under a Freezing Rain Advisory...and all 4 of those counties are controlled by the NWS office in Blacksburg, VA.
Lots of rain yet to pass through our neck of the woods, but the warm nose aloft has yet to carve its way down to the surface. Check out the the air temp data from Piedmont Triad airport in Greensboro, along with the timestamp:
...and for the Winston-Salem airfield:
Clear as a bell the CAD (cold-air damming) was intensifying and slowly moving south and west...models all point to the opposite to have happened today, and it didn't...and as yet isn't...happening. Winds were forecast to become south, but have remained basically east all day.
Raleigh-NWS just issued a 'special weather statement' for the Greensboro -Winston-Salem-High Point area...even with the rain and the air temps, little to no icing was ocurring on roads and bridges, hence no advisory...4-5,000 feet aloft the air temp is 50 degrees...so for a few more hours we'll walk that touchy line of c-c-c-c-cold rain versus a nightmare.
Come on, warm nose!
And, soon enough for me, hello 1000 thread-count sheets!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Giving live weather forecasts 6 times an hour for 6 hours is a 'bear' on the ol' vocal chords, and, honestly, you begin to hate hearing your own words because after so long they are beginning to bore YOU through their droning repititions. The answer? Therapy. Lots of Therapy...
"insurance and benefits, insurance and benefits, insurance and benefits..."
And so we conclude another bout with wintry weather, the first of many to come, I'm sure...and as early as Sunday night. The active southerly branch of the jet stream is now playing constant 'footsies' with the polar jet dipping well south through the U.S., keeping us on our weather toes in a big way. Ah, 'tis winter, no less....bring it on! Just try to have it hit on Mondays and Tuesdays, could ya, please? That way we don't have to call Monte and Tara in on their days off...
Late last night a wave of jet-led precipitation coursed through north GA and eastward through SC, and if you looked at that alone you'd muse 'forecast bust'...that precip had zilch to do with what is supposed to start up in just a few hours. And that's the kicker in any weather scenario, of course: we have diverse and myriad models that give us all kinds of forecasts, but ultimately you have to remember it's only a suggestion of what could happen, not what will. There is no one 'best' model, though we each have our favorites we lean on in particular situations. For this write-up, I'm setting aside any other concerns for later this weekend and next week. Many bales of hay, therein, for weather cattle to feed on...
(FYI: the following remarks are more for the Greensboro/TRIAD market area, markers as I will now head in to work shortly...)
At 1am, GSO air temp is already at 29 degrees. The dewpoint is down at 11 degrees and a 47% relative humidity. East winds are blowing at the surface 6-10 mph. Excellent set-up for a tenacious and rather expansive "CAD" event for a lot of NC (stands for 'cold air damming'). When precipitation arrives, there will be a lot of evaporation aloft, which helps entrench the cold column through evaporative cooling. Bottom line for today's highs? They will struggle mightily to reach 33 degrees in the early afternoon. As long as we have the incoming precipitation fields around daybreak, we will lock the cold in for the day.
Remember, just because the air temperature is in the upper 20s does not make for precipitation to fall as snow. The great ice storm we had in 2002 was proof of that where it was 27 degrees and pouring rain in Charlotte. Thankfully we are NOT dealing with such a situation this time around.
I refer to today's system to be a 'nuisance' storm. At worst it will only temporarily stymie travel around the Triad. There isn't a massive amount of liquid poised to move in, either, though we'd all agree it takes little in the ice and sleet world to send vehicles sliding out of control. Bridges and overpasses are notorious for freezing well in advance of roads because the sub-freezing air can circulate all around the road surface. Of course, with our cold air of late and tonight's sub-freezing temps, road surfaces could quickly become slick as well.
Surface observations. Critical. Hard to get 'em, most times, which is why we love for viewers to send us quick email updates on temperature, precipitation, and conditions. So PLEASE if you have something you think we'd find useful, please email us at:
Those emails are posted to all 10 News 14 meteorologists immediately, and it helps us to piece together a patchwork weather quilt to get a more detailed feeling of the situation.
For now, shower time...will post more and add to this a little later on this morning....
OK, here is my update at a little after 5am:
Limited moisture for the Triad should keep any accumulations to 1" or less (snow/sleet early, mixing in with freezing rain and then rain in the early afternoon).
Any glazing of ice should be 1/10th of an inch, and mostly on railings, vegetation, and power lines. Overpasses/bridge are always vulnerable; some secondary roads could get slick, as well.
Heavier amounts (read 'more problems') would be in the precip-favored areas which are those of you farther south and southeast (Montogomery and Randolph Counties, for example.)
Our WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect through this afternoon. A WINTER STORM WARNING is in effect for the Charlotte metro region just south of the Triad, where more acumulation is expected (though still limited.)
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Possible captions for the Chinese Crested (L):
1. "Did you hear them mention that "S" word on TV yesterday??? I'm not ready! Wardrobe!...can you go to the doghouse attic and pull down my winter clothes boxes, please? Oh, and while you're there, could you check and see if Clara left her collar over there...she can't remember where she had it last...oh, and one more thing, can you, like, use another set of bushes for a while, and maybe some not so close to the house, because all of our friends get to see our lovely brown-spotted bushes out front when they are on their walks..."
2. "All you do is sit there....Sit...Sit...SIT!...and don't close your eyes when I'm talking to you! You know how I hate that!..."
3. "Do you like my new cut and style? Didn't she do a marvelous job feathering my hair? That horse mane detangler is amazing how well it works! And WAIT 'til you see my tail...she matched the color just perfectly! By the way, I used your Visa..."
Possible captions for the Chihuahua (R):
1. "Talk to the elbow, the paw ain't listening..."
2. "Duct tape...wheeeeere did I put that duct tape....."
3. "I hate it when she ovulates..."
4. "That Dentabone was a waste of money..."
5. "It's 5 o'clock somewhere..."
I'm sure I could have come up with more imaginative answers, but I've got to spend some extra time on our tricky and fickle forecast for tomorrow morning. Looking at the big picture, the moisture appears to limited, though perfectly timed for the morning commute and the coldest of temperatures. Surface air will be upper 20s, but the cold layer will be somewhat thin, supporting freezing rain and sleet instead of snow.
This is no big classic winter event, to be sure...but the grocery stores will be sillily packed all the same. Don't bother to join in the fray, just be very careful driving tomorrow morning in the NC Piedmont. It takes little ice formation on bridges, for example, to send vehicles sliding. Ultimately the temperatures are just too warm to keep any frozen precip as such, so it is the early morning that is of the most concern. Woof.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
One of those days...like getting into your trusty ol' car, turning the key, and... nuttin'. Zip. Nada. Zilch. I usually have a blog idea the afternoon before now, but got working on a carving for a flute and, well, did nothing more than make a nice dusty mess. No complaints, here, of course!
Getting ready to head in to work, and here it is January 16, 1:30am, and it is 63 degrees outside here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. 52 up in the mountains at both Asheville and Boone, around the big ski resorts. Atop the 6,000 foot peak of Grandfather Mountain, it's 45. Yet all around to the north and west people are without power from the snow and ice, and dealing with a wintry grip that is most unkind.
The ice is the kicker, always. Give me 6" of snow and I'll happily drive it...give me even but a mere glazing of ice and I won't touch it. I call ice "The Great Equalizer" as it stymies virtually everyone from moving about. The AP wires were talking of the continuing woes in Oklahoma where 100,000 were still without power in the ensuing bitterly cold temperatures... as well as the sleet and ice build-up that totaled 4" in some places. Ouch.
There is necessarily and unavoidably this feeling we Tarheels have that we are going to get kicked in the teeth before too long. It has been too warm too long, with just enough minor cold taps to keep it from being ridiculous. I've always considered larger macro-scale weather systems to be like a coil spring or shock absorber on a car...and when the spring or shock is compressed for an extended period of time, the impending 'release' is usually a doozy. Hold that thought.
Do you know where that expression came from, a 'doozy'? Back in the 1920's and the early 30s glamor days of Hollywood, the 'hot' car for the stars was the American-built Duesenburg, and long story short the comment would be made on what a "Doozy" they looked like. Only the wealthiest could afford those beautiful, powerful beasts.
Oh yeah, the teeth-kicking...a doozy of a forecast, at that...it's coming today, at least the major temperature break, as we expect temps to continually head south all day. But we won't get any ice this go 'round, thanks to the coldest air banking on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains, allowing the precipitation to race ahead into the warm sector. And the cold regime looks like it will lock into place for weeks as opposed to days this time, with slippery stuff in our forecast picture soon enough. Guess I can't wear my shorts forever.