Archive for the ‘Weather & Climate’ Category

Flying over snow-covered lands

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

The flight home (via Baltimore.)

Christmas snowfall map

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

Here’s the official December 25-26 Snow Accumulation Map via the NWS. Can you find your house?

(Click on the map for a larger version)

Snow accumulation Dec 4-5

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Here’s the official map of the recent snowstorm.

Shows how widespread it was.

Fog rivers

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Got up early and watched fog rivers rolling from the little porch off our room off the Parkway.


Fall color series

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Traveling again at last.

Am recently returned from a long day in the upper mountain counties with a botanist friend. Posts coming about that, but first a few examples of this fall’s color and other sundries collected on Saturday and on a Parkway drive last weekend. Up first, the rose hips of Rosa palustris Marshall — the Swamp Rose, photographed Saturday, Oct. 13 in Allegheny County. Following that a striped maple near Linville Falls photographed Oct. 7 and cranberries and sphagnum also photographed Oct. 13 in Allegheny County.


Backyard blooming

Sunday, April 8th, 2007


This is not a blackberry winter. The flox survived the night. Not traveling much these days. Hope to a bit soon. Plenty to visit in the backyard. As in:






Bogue Banks moment and the Seafood Festival

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

A couple of hundred yards off Bogue Banks, dolphins–airborne at times–were working their way down the coast. Farther out, a trawler worked the channels near the inlet.

Along the beach was a well-spaced row of surf-casters in their shorts and hoodies. You could see the mullet roiling the waters–the long, slow breakers practically bubbling with them in the morning sun. Many, but small, one caster groused, but the sight was amazing–the schools traveling the waves at the pace of a brisk walk. The scene was a reminder that the currents at play this time of year, when the water is a warm 77 degrees and the morning air a dozen degrees chillier, draw a multitude all along the Carolina coast.

Farther up the coast, along the waterfront at Morehead City, was a much more organized reminder of the waters’ harvest. The air was not salty there; the sea breeze was thickly perfumed with the actions of hundreds of deep-fat fryers crisping the breading around flounder, oysters, crab balls, shrimp and mullet.

This is a time in North Carolina marked by county fairs and regional festivals, and in that way the N.C. Seafood Festival is no different. Like others around the state, this one has games, science displays, country karaoke and crafts and watercolors up for sale in long rows of tents and booths. But, save a lone fried Twinkie stand and the occasional turkey leg and blooming onion, this festival’s fare is a daunting array of the history of ingenuity applied to the day’s catch.

For landlubbers and seafood lovers, walking the midway is a dream come true–Blue-crab burritos, oyster burgers, baked potatoes stuffed with shrimp and scallops, shrimp rolls, clam chowder, shark bites, shrimp and chips, scallop fritters and sea trout sandwiches to name a few. You can’t try it all, but you can try these tricks at home. And that’s the idea.

There is a lot of talk, and rightly so, that the old ways on the water are fading as condos and seaside mansions edge out the fish houses and docks. But on some days, they still shine as bright as the morning sun on a breaker teeming with life.

Dogwood Fall

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

It’s time

I don’t need a calendar; I’ve got a dogwood tree. It’s fall and the leaves are getting rusty-colored and red berries are hitting the deck. So are pokeberries reprocessed, if you will, by a variety of locals like the cardinals and brown thrashers and migrating species like the hermit thrush, a wonderful singer.

This is the very same dogwood whose blossoms herald spring—perhaps you’ve seen the firework.

This is the very same dogwood that nearly didn’t make it through that nasty ice storm in ’02. It gave me the first clue that evening that something weather-wise had reached an intensity far beyond predictions.

The sound of pelting ice–pure pink noise–woke me. Not far from the bedroom window, the tree was already bent clear over, top branches frozen to the ground. I ran outside in moccasins and took a broom to the ice until it let go of the tree. Then I knocked off some more and went over to the hemlock and did the same.

Only after pausing to catch a breath did the sound of what was really going on become clear. Off toward the highway, all through the woods, you could hear the tops of trees exploding–a chorus of cracking and popping and crashing to the ground. I scanned the 14 pines in my yard, said a little prayer and woke up the missus.

We listened under the safety of the eaves for hours as pines lost their crowns in the woods and the neighborhood. Occasionally, farther on down the hill toward town, you could see the blue flash and hear the bang as another transformer went up.

We had some close calls, but no damage–just a lot of debris. Seven days with no heat was the worst of it and, like the dogwood, with a little help–a lot, really–from our friends, we survived.

So the dogwood is changing color. And the mammals of the house are getting their coats ready. It’s time to ride the tilt to the shadier side of the sun. Here’s hoping I just need the broom for sweeping.

Running to Wilburs

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

That’s the name of the second rain film. Or maybe it should be “Wilbur’s—it’s that good.”
Anyway, it was another heavy downpour and we’d just pulled into Wilbur’s the famous barbeque jernt along U.S.70 near Goldsboro. The sun was out and making a weird patterns on the dash. There were people running into Wilbur’s for some kind of meeting.
Video: Running to Wilburs

Hot in August

Monday, July 31st, 2006

I have a personal policy not to say the word “hot” when describing the weather until August. Prior to that, I use “warm” and “quite warm.” So, it will be another quite warm July day today with temperature pushing 100 degrees. I suspect that tomorrow, however, will be hot.
Weather Service says cool it.
Here’s the run-down of forecasts: Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, Carrboro
Ozone is at yellow statewide.

My advice:

Right after you read this go get a glass of water and drink it down. In this kind of weather, if you’re thirsty it’s too late. Lay off the heavy meat helpings as well (not a bad idea in other seasons, too). Most importantly, though, practice sloth. It is the art of only moving when you have to. If you’re having trouble with this concept ask the dog to explain it.
I have a third degree rope belt in sloth—honed on the shag-carpeted floors of Midwestern rec rooms where one could while away entire lifetimes listening to records and burning hardly a calorie in the process. My grandfather was at least a third degree as well, but he earned it the hard way—working the tobacco fields of Kentucky and southern Indiana as a migrant laborer. That man could sit motionless on his front proch for hours, only moving enough to take another slug from his water jar, wave at someone he knew traveling down U.S. 50 or to drop more masticated tobacco into a coffee can by his rocker. He had a garden the size of Canada and each year put up a freezer full of beans and strawberries, yet I can barely recall him working in it.