Category Archives: Weather

Posts about or containing all things relating to weather, usually accompanied withphotos

Today’s Challenge

I’m away right now so not readily availabe to the internet.  However, I do have a moment now and the best thing I have is the battle for sanity, Randolph NH.

It has snowed three mornings in a row. Yep, warm days and snow almost all gone. Bam! honey I’m back.  No, no, no, curtains close and blanket over my face. I’m not getting up. I’m not getting up.  Curtain open, hmm.  Still there and I have to get up.  How reality tempts us to change its very nature.

Yesterday Morning

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p.s.  I’m in Cape Elizabeth, Maine where the grass IS greener.

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Bangs Photo Journey

My camp resides in a postage stamp sized grassy environment.  These grasses cover much of the island with a density that makes exploring without adequate protective clothing impossible.  The tree population is 90% deciduous scattered about in small stands.  There are no trails here.  I’m glad as there are few islands in the bay devoid of human intrusion.

Reminder:  Click on Any photo for full-screen.

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Euproctis chrysorrhoea Brown Tail Moth

There is a Brown ail Moth Caterpillar near the tent.   The are limited to the coast of Maine and Cape Cod at this time but once covered much of New England.  This moth is oh so not nice as its larva eats voraciously, defoliating trees and shrubs and the caterpillar has poisonous microscopic hairs.  Contact with these hairs cause a poison ivy type rash that may last from a few days to several weeks.  It can become a full-blown dangerous allergic reaction in some people.  Their nexts are built at the ends of branches rather than in the croch like gypsy moth. Click for source and more information.

 

Altocumulous perlucidus

Altocumulous perlucidus

The sky is changing from mostly clear to cloudy.  These clouds are Altocumulus perlucidus which are a mid-level cloud forming at heights from 1.2 to 4.5 miles above sea level.  Height is determined by the severity of atmospheric disturbance.  They are formed by the accumulation of moisture and air that is forced high enough for the clouds to form.  The heating of the ocean provide the moisture in this case and the upward movement of air is most likely due to convection.  The perlucidus version of altocumulous clouds indicate a change in weather within six to eight hours.  VHF does call for deteriorating weather and rain in the evening.  Click on any of following for resource and info.  Clouds online   Names of Clouds   WeatherOnline

I head over to my dry clothing and gear, stuff it in a bag once more, carry it back to camp and put each item in its place which is mostly in the cockpit, sealed under my dive flag “cover.”  Camera in hand I walk to what’s left of my sandless beach to capture a few more scenes and plants before hiking up over the cliffs toward the south as far as possible to grab a few more photos.  This shouldn’t take long as the cliff exposure is a very short distance before hitting trees, shrubs and brush.  The tide is rising as well which will cut this portion off if I wait much longer.  I’ll take my nap later.

Zoomed in on buoy from cliff.  It’s position and movement indicates current and speed.

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Enjoy the Slide show.

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The Effect of the Sun

 

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The sun gifts us with joy, delight, and pleasure.  It brings out the best, the beautiful.
Subtle Colors thrive amidst the bold.
Spring brings forth its bounty.  Summer explodes into full bloom.

I’m looking forward to both but summer is winning the race.
The heat of the sun upon my skin.  Its warmth delves deep, right down to the bone.

Good bye frigied cold Randolph, NH winter of 2014-2015!

Fearful

I can feel that the bout with dehydration is over.  Strength and clear thinking seems to be restored this morning.  However, my nice feelings spun into fear within minutes of seeing my neighbors heading out on the water to make the trip back to Cow Island, where Rippleffect is located.  For those of you just joining me, I’ve been enjoying the company of ten kayaks worth of kids and three kayaks of adults.  Two of the adults are parents, one with a young child paddling a tandem kayak.  Last but now worrisome, Scott and Emily.

My heart is pounding as I watch the scene unfold before me.  Thirteen kayaks heading out on seas they have no business being out on.  VHF radio weather report as of ten thirty am broadcasted the following, “Rain in the morning into the mid-afternoon with possible thunder showers.  Small craft advisory from Port Clyde to Cape Elizabeth.  Winds 17 knots with gusts to 21 knots, Seas 5-7 feet every 7 seconds.”  It is eleven twenty.  What in the world are they doing?

[17 to 21 knots is = to 19 to 24 mph.  A knot is speed according to the nautical mile, 6,076 feet.]

I move to the shore to keep watch, VHF radio in hand ready to call out a Mayday, “In need of Immediate Assistance” to the Coast Guard.   So far they were in relatively “calm” water, being that they were still in what I would call a Cliff Island Buffer Zone.  I watch the group spread out as they struggle against the wind and the tide of which the top of High Tide is an hour away.  The sky is awash in a pale gray while a low stratus front approaches from the west.  The sea is a dirty darkish tan topped with thin strands of white, making it difficult for me to spot several of the kayaks, especially the two stragglers whose crafts are a dark blue.

The entire group becomes one long serpentine line.  I lose sight of each one in the low troughs between the short-lived swells but not at once.  I count them from front to back and then the last third two or three times over before going back to the front of the group.  The only reason I haven’t called the Coast Guard yet is that there are two sizable lobster boats nearby.  One is in the harbor with men on board and the other is out where the group is going, beyond all buffer zones.  It is truly at sea and all but the top of its cabin disappears between the swells and constantly breaking waves out there.  However, I will make the call if they approach Green Can 24 which is the point of no return from Cliff Island’s Buffer zone.  They were heading right for it. Thankfully, the group turned around with time to spare.

I still remain on watch, counting kayaks over and over until they are in truly safe waters.  My heart still pounds as I make a dash for their camp and the landing zone within Cocktail Cove.  One by one each kayak rolls in with its paddler on board.  None of them have spray skirts.  The kids are in shorts and t-shirts, soaking wet and laughing, while hauling their crafts up on the island. They had a blast!  The leaders file in last.  Scott is in full dry gear and wearing a skirt.  He also has a VHF radio in his life jacket pocket.  What?

I have no intention of embarrassing Scott so I wait until the kids are out of earshot.  The question of why he took the group out is posed quietly and with respect.  His answer, “to see what it was like.”  I gently point my VHF radio at the one tucked in his vest saying, “That’s what this is for.”  I leave things with that and walk back to my camp.  Now that I’m relaxed, I need to pee!

That bit of relief done, I crawl inside my tent, grab my journal and begin writing out a list.  The finished product reads the weather and conditions of the sea as reported by the VHF prior to the group’s departure.  Followed by visual aids that also could have made for an easy understanding of “seeing what it is like” without leaving the island.

Buoys lying flat on the water – direction and strength of tidal current.
Wall of stratus clouds heavy with moisture approaching from west and already over the water.
The Lobster boat bobbing up and down like a small toy, falling nearly out of sight in the troughs between swells far larger than what is between Jewell and Cliff Islands.  (It’s always at least five times worse than views from within protected islands.)
Last is the weather report via VHF, written in detail.

The kids noisily walk by still happy and laughing with Emily in tow.  This my cue.  I walk over to their camp where I find the couple drinking coffee and Scott standing on his high shoreline ground looking out over the water.  Scott, do you mind if I offer some advice?  YES, please do.  He says this in an eager tone, ready and willing to learn from his mistakes.  I had torn the list from my journal and handed it to him.  We went over it slowly item by item.  I ask Scott if he realizes the danger he put himself and the kids in. A sober yes is his answer.  And then, he fires away with more questions and I become more and more impressed with this young man.  His ego is not bruised.  He is not embarrassed.  He understands and wants to learn all he can.  Remarkable.  Ten minutes later the stratus clouds arrive unloading a drenching downpour.  My cue to run ‘home’.

The green dots on Jewel Island represent our camps.  Mine is inland by the wharf and their’s is near the cove.  The red line represents route outbound.  The blue line is route back.  The green circle near the turning point of the routes is around Green Can 24.  The two Black “X” are the location of the Lobster Boats.

Group Route

“It takes just one wave to capsize a boat, and one more to take it down.”
― Federico Chini, The Sea Of Forgotten Memories

 

 

The sea cares not for mankind,
nor the “unsinkable” ships we build.

 

 

 

 

The Cleansing

I was glad to relax into a comfortable sleep after dining within my humble home with the ambiance of light rain and the usual boring cuisine. (Grape Nuts Cereal, Powdered Milk, Strawberry Protein Powder, and Peanut Butter).  My alarm went off at 9 pm for the usual keep me sane medications.  At least, I hope they do each time I take them.  They have done the job quite well for a couple of years and that in itself is a great blessing.

I have Bi-Polar disorder and have a mild form of autism called, Aspergers along with a few other autistic features.  The medications are for the Bi-Polar but it isn’t a cure-all.  I do have to adapt and live with it just like anyone else with a disorder or a disease.  Medications help and the rest is learn and adapt or suffer.  The autism, I do the best I can which is pretty good most of the time. The other times may cause those who are not acquainted with the odd behaviors flee the scene (LOL), accept the situation, or look elsewhere as if the space I occupy doesn’t exist.  I find the reactions of others both interesting and entertaining, depending on the who, where, and extent of reaction or lack thereof.  My personal quote to my therapist is, “Cats are weird and people are worse than cats.”  A funny observation from someone who has a BA in Sociology.

The most important aspect of dealing with the medication part is to take them as directed, amount and times.  I don’t get people with mental illness who stop taking their meds. because the “feel better.”  Duh, if taking meds = feeling better than it’s a good idea to continue the use of the formula.  Like I said, “People are worse than cats.”

I brought a digital recorder with me and have a good collection of sounds from this trip.  Play this one while reading the rest of this post.  [Photo attribute found here]

It is nice to be tired enough to be able to fall asleep early enough to set an alarm to for the med. ritual and then sink back into a state of peaceful sleep.  The light rain drops a bit heavier at times which rouses me.  I drink more water as dehydration is still in effect before indulging myself into some absolute pleasure.  I remove the clothing that I’m wearing and exit the tent naked with my sliver of soap and some shampoo to take a shower.  The freshwater saturates my hair as it runs down my body.  I stand still for a lengthy time before applying cleansing agents.  The removing of sweat and crusty sea salt is pure joy after five days without the privilege of freshwater clean up.  My personal supply of fresh water is for drinking.  Every drop is accounted for and calculated according to need in all circumstances.  But rainwater, is a free – for – all grab as much as I want and be selfish about it! Oh yeah, baby, bring it on!

Once I feel clean enough, I kneel down just outside the tent door and grab the bag with all other garments and empty the contents.  It takes several trips but the task of laying my clothing on benches and grass for a thorough drenching as well.  I’ll let them sit as they are through the night and turn them from time to time during the morning drizzle.  For now, it’s back into the tent to dry off and take advantage of more water and the bliss of sleeping through the rest of the night.

See ya in the morning!

A Windy Winter Sunset

Wow!  It’s hard to believe that there have been so many days of high winds this year.  That is, unless you live here.  Today is no different from the rest.  It’s a repeat of the previous ones.  I guess the wind is living fancy free and I am at its mercy.

There have been some beautiful sunsets on these days.  I’d love to share one but you’ll have to settle for a slide show from last year as I feel no compunction to risk my hands and fingers to the sub-zero temperatures today.

Frigid Windy Loader Day

Oh, baby!  The weather usurps a post for 21 days at sea.  The wind has been a whippin’ by today.  It actually started last night when a high pressure system built up out of western New York.  Steep pressure gradients formed around the system went into flight mode heading to the Newfoundland Low.  Cold arctic air is being funneled through these systems via the jet stream and other factors.

Mount Washington, New Hampshire reported sustained winds upward of 122 mph today.  The Valley, Gorham and Berlin reported winds of 15 to 20 mph sustained for a few hours, winding down to 9 mph hour this evening. Click here to see an animated wind map  (current view only).

“The Hill” of Randolph New Hampshire is the Mt. Washington of Mt. Washington Valley.  Sugar Plum Farm, my home, is at the pinnacle of “The Hill.”  The open fields create a great plain’s state feel with the added impact of weather created by mountains.  Our sustained winds today reached upward of 38 mph with gusts to 55 mph to my knowledge.  The windchill value as low as -40 degrees.  That did it for here.  It hasn’t snowed and the fields have been wind whipped clean of snow but Sugar Plum Farm is snowed in.  Where does this snow come from?  It’s being blown off the mountains where it blasts through open areas piling up against trees and downwind of drifts.  We called in a giant loader to open up the driveway.  We will also require a plow truck to open up the driveway again in the morning.

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Dylan came out with me to photograph the snow banks.  Can you see him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Windswept Snow

 

Loader at Work

 

 

 

 

Wind and Weather

I’ve returned from my wind wanderings and found that there a myriad of stories that I could share.  I’m also sure that nearly all of my readers have their own stories as well. Some that are funny and others that a scary.  For me tornadoes fall into the scary category.  However, I’m also attracted to being near them and have been visited by a few.  I grew up in what is called, “Tornado Alley” in the state of Michigan.  The area has spawned many a tornado or other severe weather to support this claim.  In fact, one of the most devastating tornadoes in U.S. history (listing of top 10) is the  1953 F-5 Beecher-Flint Michigan tornado that cut a 27 mile long swath.  It came within 8 miles of the home I grew up in.  My grandmother saved the newspapers that covered the tragedy.  I read and re-read them over and over again.  The stories fascinated me as well as adding growth to  my quest for understanding people.  A tornado leaves in its wake a war-like environment:  pain, suffering, unrecognizable loved ones both dead and alive, heroism and  its opposite.  It takes years to get over such an event.  And for some, there is no getting “over” it. Click for info and photos

Flint-Beecher Tornado

Flint-Beecher Tornado

“1953 Beecher tornado” by NOAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sea spawns tornadoes and worse too.  These events have to do with waterspouts and hurricanes.  Waterspouts are divided into two categories, fair weather and tornadic.  Fair weather ones form beneath developing cumulus clouds from the surface of the sea and build upward, where it reaches maturity and peters out.  Tornadic waterspouts are tornadoes on water, often developing on land before moving over the water.  These are treated as dangerous and are associated with severe storms, hail, high winds, large seas, and lightning. See for source material and more information.

Fair weather water spout  Photo credit: Niccolò Ubalducci Photographer / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Tornadic Waterspout Photo credit: RelentlesslyOptimistic / Foter / CC BY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricanes form over the equator which is the reason that they are fist labeled as a tropical storm.  These form when warm moist air rises at a rate that leaves a heightened low pressure area at the surface of the ocean.  High pressure above sends air down, which forms more warm moist air that rises .  This scenario repeats itself over and over.  Eventually, the cloud formation spins and develops an eye.  The eye works as a funnel for the high pressure air flowing downward.  The factors that move a hurricane are global winds, heightened high and low pressure systems, beta drift (due to the Coriolis Force), the jet stream, gulf stream, wind shear, and a few more items. Click here for source and more information.

Photo credit: NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Foter / CC BY-NC

Now, that I’m loaded with all of this information, I grab the VHF and have a listen.  The forecast creates a need to adjust my schedule.  It says that by early tomorrow afternoon rain and possible thunderstorms will move in.  My plan is to paddle all the way to Crow Island (Harpswell), but I wouldn’t make it by noon.  Bangs Island is much closer and on my list of islands to visit.  I’ll head there but Abbie B and me will have to leave early for a comfortable voyage and to arrive before noon.  Fine with me.

I am now ready for the great outdoors and unzip the tent door and do my little spin maneuver to exit.  I have a knee injury that has healed quite well except for possible meniscus damage, making the knee impossible to close or accept downward pressure.  It’s taken awhile to develop a technique for entering and exiting the tent.  I have it down now.  I don’t even have to think about it.  Roll onto side, make fist with each hand and put weight on them, bend healthy knee and sort of fold the other a bit, spin while moving body out the door and come to stand via pushing against hands and the knee of the good leg.  Stand and straighten injured leg.  I should have been a gymnast!

The wind has steadied and the tide is is three hours past it’s six hours high.  I walk the shore as best as possible exploring rocks and fauna, gazing at the intersection of the ocean and island at as many points as possible.  Boy, I’m really glad that I didn’t try to circumnavigate this island under the conditions of the day I landed and certainly not today either.

I find a duck and sit next to him.  He allows me to pet and speak to him.  However, I can’t understand anything he says and he’s heard a lot.  He’s made of dry wood and wood records sound.  I sit and stare at the wooden figure.  I imagine myself listening to his stories and enjoying a yarn or two.  I bet it would be an all-nighter.

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Back in the Tent

I finally let go of the sea and head to the tent.  There, I change into something warmer.  The VHF radio is to my right but I stop myself from reaching for it.  Why do I have to know what the reported conditions are a this moment?  Let it go.  I lie down inside the tent and close my eyes.  Thoughts of what I’ve been witnessing as to the rising tide infiltrate my mind.  I see sailing vessels of all shapes and sizes hightailing it to the nearest haven of safety.  They aren’t running from the tide.  It’s the wind, which is offshore as usual during this time of day.  My, my, it is in a hurry expanding its strength, becoming highly focused and more intense with each passing moment.  What is fueling it?  I reach for the radio once more and stop myself. . .   Let it go.

It is easier to close my eyes this time and even more so to stop thinking, wanting to know what’s going on in detail.  There ya go.  Breathe.  Be gentle.  A few moments pass or maybe more than that.  I don’t know nor do I care.  It’s just how it feels to me and that’s important.  I hear the waves tumble and see white foam exploding against the dark blue and greenish liquid upon which they ride.

I want to go out and play, like I’ve done so many times.   Oh, how I love the water.  I love everything about it.  I like being in it, immersed in its reality.  I have a healthy respect for all bodies of water but I am not afraid.   My favorite game is to wait for the action and the bigger the better and then put on a life jacket and swim away from shore.   It’s hard work reaching a special place out in such mayhem.  One so far out that everything on land looks very, very, small (As a youngster, the “far” for me frightened many an adult.).  I always smile when the time comes to fold my arms across my chest and lean back, allowing the force of nature to carry me back to shore.

Right now, I’m on an island surrounded by an excited sea.  I paddled here inside a craft that sits so low in the water that my lower half is beneath its surface.  The rest of me barely reaches above the height of buoys that mark lobster traps.  I sense how small I am and how big the world is through a lens far different of that of a hiker humbled by the wind on a mountain or cycling against some pretty nifty headwind for miles and miles on very flat land, or in a canoe not far from where the wind dropped to the ground in the form of a tornado.

More tomorrow for now I must rest among memories about the wind rather than water.  I’ll share where I wander upon my return.

Protected Cove

The Cove when I arrived

The Same Cove Today

The Same Cove Today

 

 

Finally

I’m finally at rest after two and a half days of listening to wind.  The average mph over time was 33 mph.  However, hours of 40 mph with gusts around 50 to 55 and few blasts beyond 60 mph raged across the fields at my home while the neighbors enjoy the protection of trees or live down the hill.

I checked the internet for a Randolph weather report and laughed as usual, as the conditions are from Gorham or Berlin.  Wind 0 mph and the highest during the roar up here was 12 mph.  I’m sure those snug inside the Mt. Washington Observatory laugh at me.  I checked up on them and saw 93 mph sustained winds.  There’s always the somewhere else that resets my perspective.

We did have a slight reprieve for a few hours on Sunday night.  The clouds fled the sky releasing the moon from their dark firm grasp.  I stepped out the door to have a look and saw its bright light, a perfect white to my imperfect eyes.  I walked back inside to look out a window.  The Elm Tree was back lit by the light of the moon, leaving finger like shadows upon the snow.  It was a remarkable sight because nothing moved.  The tree upon the snow was so still.  This is the picture that fills my head and will do so again and again, every time I find solace after the violence of nature comes to end.

Here are some photos of spindrift that I nearly froze my hands off taking.  For those who know where I live, I saw spindrift flying off Mt. Crescent for the first time ever.  Click on Photo for full screen and description.

I showed this video clip on facebook from a windy day earlier this year.  Try listening to the noise level several days in a row.  (Including the relentless pounding my house took, shudders, creaks and snaps was it cry against the onslaught.)

Finally, some quiet. The photo below is a symbol of the relief and solace I felt when I saw the Elm Tree branches perfectly still.

A Solace Moment during my 12 day winter trek.

A Solace Moment during my 12 day winter trek.