Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Which Reminds Me, I Need to Renew My Driver's License

Poop Everywhere

Up shit creek:
In the days and hours before Hurricane Irma slammed into Florida, its residents were treated to copious media speculation about nightmare scenarios. This monster storm, journalists said, could bring a 15-foot storm surge, blow roofs off of buildings, and cause tens of billions of dollars in damage. But perhaps no scenario seemed more dire than the one Quartz warned about the day before Irma made landfall: “Hurricane Irma will likely cover South Florida with a film of poop.”

Quartz’ apparent hyperbole turned out to be an understatement. Pollution reports submitted to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection show that, due to power outages and flooding caused by Irma, human waste has been spilling into streets, residences, and waterways across the entire state.

Porn Again Christian

The Dubstep Contact

I recall going to a sparsely-attended rave in Phoenix. Of the dozen or so people in attendance, there was a courtly-looking fellow, age about 70, looking a bit out of place. I pointed towards the stage and asked: "What do you think of the music?" (There was some dubstep on the turntables.) He thought for a second, and diplomatically replied: "It's like Sinatra."

FOX News Panel Discussions on Race

Gymnastic Humor

Why its Hard to Get Chores Done at the Theater

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Hurricane News is Mostly Good Right Now

Hurricane Jose will approach New England and linger offshore for a considerable period, which is awkward for Cape Cod but which will likely draw Hurricane Maria on a similar path. Neither storm will make much of a landfall on the United States. So, Hurricane Maria's impact will mostly be on Caribbean islands, some of which were also seriously damaged by Hurricane Irma.

There is no strong signal yet for a possible storm at the end of the month in the southern Caribbean, and what signal there is moves west, not north.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

It's Not Over Until December

Today's GFS forecast shows Hurricane Jose NOT making landfall in the Boston area next week, but instead staying off the coast. If so, it won't be nearly as bad as originally feared. Still, things will be pretty windy at Cape Cod.

There is now a Tropical Storm Lee, but it is likely to die out.

Not so with Tropical Storm Maria. This new storm will likely strike some of the same Caribbean islands Hurricane Irma struck, hitting Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and some of the Bahamas before strengthening for landfall, which could be as far south as Jacksonville, but will more-likely be towards North Carolina and tidewater Virginia in the September 25th time frame.

There is a possibility of tropical storm impacts related to Tropical Storm Norma in the Pacific. That storm will stall near Cabo San Lucas and slowly disintegrate, leading to surprisingly-heavy rains in New Mexico, and possibly southeastern Arizona or western Texas. People frequently ignore these Pacific storms, and they can catch you completely flat-footed. (When I lived in Tucson in 1983, I was shocked at the heavy flooding resulting as Hurricane Octave slowly disintegrated.)

There is also a hypothesized storm in the September 28th time frame. Current modeling shows the storm hitting the Yucatan of Mexico, crossing the Yucatan peninsula, and heading into mainland Mexico. Since the disturbance doesn't yet exist, there's a chance it might not ever exist, but the southern Caribbean is a noted trouble spot, so it bears watching. The storminess straddles Central America, and could appear in either Atlantic or Pacific oceans, or both. And once a storm starts, it can surprise with where it goes.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Head Turner

My Neighborhood These Days

This fellow is passing through my neighborhood, as is the woman we call "The Queen," just out of sight on the street corner. Midtown is migrating south, bringing with them their insider code.

Opening Day of Zucchini Season

Bitcoin is a Fraud

The perfect tool for ransomware:
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon did not mince words when asked about the popularity of virtual currency bitcoin.

Dimon said at an investment conference that the digital currency was a "fraud" and that his firm would fire anyone at the bank that traded it "in a second."

Dimon, speaking at a Barclays investment conference Tuesday, said he supported blockchain technology for tracking payments but that trading bitcoin itself was against the bank's rules. He added that bitcoin was "stupid" and "far too dangerous."

"A Crisis With No Simple Solution”

The industry will never be the same again:
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The pornography industry has likely suffered permanent damage as a result of its unfortunate association with the Texas senator Ted Cruz, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Porn, which takes in annual profits of fifteen billion dollars, could see those revenues decimated if, as some industry experts fear, users begin to have intrusive thoughts involving Senator Cruz.

“For porn producers, this is a crisis with no simple solution,” Harland Dorrinson, an industry insider, said. “If you warn viewers not to think about Ted Cruz, there’s a real danger that that’s all they’ll think about.”

I Can Make Your Student Loans Disappear

I'm Into Fitness

Furafic Park

Maternal Love

Everyone in Australia Hates on the White Ibis

Totally funny, and totally true!

What If It's A Big Hoax?

Steve and Jan Receive SARTA's "Lifetime Achievement" Award

Well-deserved!

I Have No Idea What I'm Doing

Midnight Oil - The Dead Heart

My mood. An old favorite. Funny how you can't turn your eyes away from Ayers Rock.

1880s Cat Photo

Maybe one of the first.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Report From Tampa

(Photo from the Weather Channel)

My friends in Tampa report:

Good morning Marc – We are good here. I haven’t gone outside yet, but we appear to be fine. In fact we never lost power the entire time. And the screens on our back deck appear to be intact. Thanks for all the time and effort you spent for us. I think what helped us the most was the storm went inland and passed east of us. Storm surge pictures from Sarasota (about 75 miles south of us) didn’t look too bad. But we haven’t seen all the news yet.

Now do another great job for us and keep Jose away. OK?


I reply:

Glad to hear you and your charges are safe, and as happy as can be reasonably expected!

From radar, it appeared as if you got part of the Irma's eye as it pushed past. That's a memory, for sure! Maximum wind speeds from the International Airport were 41 mph, with gusts to 63 mph (roughly 11 p.m.). Those wind speeds are uncomfortable, but not intolerable.

A Facebook friend with a daughter in Sarasota says they didn't get expected storm surge there. The storm's path inland was fortunate. Another Facebook friend is without power in Jacksonville. Haven't heard from another friend in Orlando.

Jose is a menace to the Bahamas, and will be circling very close to there over the next week, but available indications are Jose will eventually break free and head up the Atlantic coast, with possible landfalls from North Carolina, northwards. So, in a week, someone else farther north will be under this kind of stress.

Irma's Eye Visits Tampa

Looks like my Tampa friends have received that rarest of visits - the eye of a hurricane. Hoping for the best.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Heading North by Northwest

So far, Irma is following the modeled forecast path towards Tampa very closely. The eye will pass very close to Key West in a few hours. I'm impressed by the tug of the trough along the East Coast, trying to drag Irma north. Even though Irma likely will pass near Tampa, there is still an outside chance Irma might swing up Florida's east coast, or follow the peninsula straight up. Some possibilities are still open.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Crisis of Faith

Irma is creeping WNW along the Cuban coast, and will do so most of Saturday. The models indicate it will start turning north after sunset towards Naples.

Latest weather maps are out. Both NVG and GFS bring Irma right up Florida's west coast, with Irma's sharp northerly turn coming around sunset this evening.
Jose is becoming a nuisance. After dithering for a long time off the Bahamas, more than a week, it may head towards the northeast United States. Currently models point it at New York City, but it could go lots of places.

-----------------------
I'm having a crisis of faith with the models. My instinct is Hurricane Irma won't turn much, if at all. I worry the models have simplifications that mislead them. Specifically, the basis of the models, the Omega Equation, may be oversimplified.

The models are equating the fast-moving cyclonic vorticity advection heading south from the Dakotas with the slow, northerly-moving but intense cyclonic vorticity advection of Irma, setting up a common center, and forming a cutoff low. It's a neat, clever resolution. Maybe too neat and clever.

Irma has a freakload of inertia. The Omega Equation drops inertial terms though.

Why should Irma respond to the fast-moving but evanescent Dakota fluffballs? Why shouldn't the Dakota fluffballs respond to Irma instead? The East Coast trough has largely moved on. Why should Irma respond to it? Irma is a vertically-organized vorticity machine with almost the entire tropospheric column of air under its control. Irma IS the vorticity queen! Plus, the tropical easterlies don't move quickly - not nearly as quick as the Jet Stream. Why should the tropical easterlies form a cutoff low now? It's perplexing.

My instinct is the storm will shift north, perhaps heading northwest, but not turn sharply north like the models say. Irma could head to sunnier shores where large hurricanes are always welcome, like New Orleans or Houston.

But we won't have to wait too long. In a day, either way, Irma will make its path, and we will find out.

Friday, September 08, 2017

L'Otters Are Not Afraid

Keep Inching the Track Westwards

Latest model forecasts keep inching the track westwards. NVG shows the storm's eyewall barely clearing St. Petersburg and crashing into the coast near Tallahassee. GFS shows the storm running right along Florida's west coast right over Tampa. Keep inching that track west! But Cuba will pay that cost. Right now, Irma's eye is crashing into the Cuban coast. The farther south Irma passes, the better the odds for Florida, but the worse for Cuba.

Too Damned Close to the Cuban Coast

That hurricane is too damned close to the Cuban coast. It's virtually impossible now for Irma to miss Florida by going up the east coast. The only way Florida escapes is if Irma clears the west coast.

Irma's Path

This morning's forecasts shift the Hurricane Irma's path a bit farther west. The NVG modeled path brackets Tampa on the west, and the GFS modeled path brackets Tampa on the east. The Tampa Catastrophe Scenario I illustrated earlier is in play.

It's hard to believe the short wave fired off by the low over the Dakotas is enough of a catalyst to have such a dramatic effect on the hurricane's path. The short wave is barely visible on satellite pictures right now, with a few high clouds racing south near the Kansas/Oklahoma border, but the models indicate when the clouds reach Irma, they will couple with the trough over the East Coast and turn the storm north.

My hope is that the modeled path keeps inching west. But we don't know for sure.

Margaret Gidding Profile

Go, G-Boogie!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

GFS Flips

The latest modeling runs are out. The GFS computer model flipped its opinion and is now joining the NVG model with favoring the Tampa Catastrophe Scenario I illustrated earlier. Actually, GFS is trying to conjure up a compromise whereby Hurricane Irma bulldozes straight north from just south of Naples and hits Orlando, afflicting Florida's east coast and middle, before heading arcing northwest into Georgia. That path might miss Tampa, but maybe not.

Most of the other models still favor a path east of Florida, but they have inched their paths further west.

GFS' flip is a bad omen for Tampa. I was hoping NVG would flip.

Trump's On a Roll

For the second day in a row, Donald Trump throws conservatives where they belong, under the bus, and makes totally-good sense:
“It could be discussed,” Trump said when asked if he would be willing to nix the debt limit altogether, according to a White House pool report. “There are a lot of good reasons to do that.”

Trump's Russian Anchor Baby Mill

Donald Trump provides Anchor Baby refuges for Russian immigrants:
Anatoliy Kuzmin held out his daughter’s blue U.S. passport over a red Russian one and snapped a photo from a Florida beach.

“Woohoo! Got dual citizenship for my daughter!” he wrote on Instagram.

American citizenship for the newborn girl was the goal of Kuzmin and his Instagram-celebrity wife, who sought the help of birth-tourism services in Florida for the arrival of their first child. They are among the estimated hundreds of Russian parents who flock to the U.S. annually for warm weather, excellent medical care, and, more importantly, birthright American citizenship.

The Tampa Catastrophe Scenario

My friends in Tampa asked me to explain in more detail about the meteorology. Here, I discuss the NVG model's Tampa Catastrophic Scenario:

The models are locked in cement right now. Right now, most models send Irma up Florida's east coast, but NVG is a bit of an outlier, sending Irma up Florida's west coast. Saturday will be the BIG DAY, when Irma starts turning north for sure, or delays turning. I'm thinking it will turn early (but maybe very close to Miami). If a turn is delayed, it could be very bad for Tampa.

I tried to make some crude annotations to model output. The figures show the 500 millibar (mb) pressure level heights above sea level. The units are meters. 5,800 meters is about 19,000 feet above level. Half the mass of the atmosphere is above 19,000 feet, and half below. A ridge is where pressure is higher than average and where heights of the 500 mb level are higher than average. A ridge looks just like that on these weather maps. Similarly, a trough is where pressure is lower than average and where heights of the 500 mb level are lower than average. A trough looks just like that on these weather maps. The colors refer to vorticity - if you will, the 'swirliness' of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is rotating counterclockwise where the colors are orange, and rotating clockwise where the colors are blue.

Illustrated below is the NVG model output - the Tampa Catastrophe Scenario.


Figure 1 is the weather situation this morning (Thursday, 6 a.m., Sept. 7th).

I've illustrated wind flow with crude arrows. Wind flow is along the lines of equal height of the 500 mb surface. (These lines are called isohyets). Where these lines are close together, where the height gradient is greatest, is where wind speeds are the highest. The looping band of high wind speeds across the top is the Jet Stream. The Jet Stream acts like a meandering river, and will form the equivalent of river oxbows when it encounters unusually slow-moving air. One of these situations is illustrated off the Oregon coast. The trough is 'digging' here, and will form what is called a cutoff low - a low pressure system spinning in isolation from the Jet Stream. The low has been 'cut off' from the westerlies.

Usually cutoff lows form from the Jet Stream. The Jet Stream spots more sluggish air to the south and injects the cutoff low into a vulnerable ridge. In the subtropics, though winds flow from the east. The tropical easterlies are more sluggish than the Jet Stream, and rarely do they have the power to inject a cutoff low into more sluggish air to the north. NVG is suggesting that unusual scenario might occur.

The weather situation in the U.S. is quite unusual right now, with a very strong ridge in the Plains and Rockies and a very strong trough along the East Coast. The amplitude of the wave is very large, and can't last long.

There is a small, weak low pressure system present in the Dakotas that is eroding the Plains ridge. NVG says it makes sense for the Dakota low and Hurricane Irma to start rotating around a common center in the lower Mississippi Valley, forming a cutoff low. That common movement, similar to dancers linking arms and swinging around each other at a square dance, is what makes Irma move north so abruptly.


Figure 2 is NVG's modeled situation (Sunday, noon, Sept. 10th). The Oregon trough is now completely cut off and spinning over southern California. The big trough is also cutting off from the Jet Stream near Maine. The ridge over the southern Rockies is now very weak. The weak Dakota Low spins off a tiny band of vorticity (marked with orange colors) which arrives at Irma. The subtropical easterlies sense the weakness over the southern United States and decides to use Irma to inject a cutoff low into the weak ridge. Irma suddenly shoots north to Tampa.


Figure 3 is the NVG modeled scenario (Wednesday, 6 a.m., Sept. 13th). The California and Maine cutoff lows are no longer isolated from the flow, and have rejoined the flow of the Jet Stream. Irma has crushed Tampa and Irma's remnant has moved into the lower Mississippi Valley, forming a cutoff low in the middle of the ridge.


That is the nightmare Tampa scenario.

Personally, I don't like the NVG solution. Hurricane Irma is strong and the Dakota low is weak. There is no compelling reason for them to work in concert. The Dakota low isn't powerful enough to fling Hurricane Irma north. The GFS solution is still the most likely one - the storm stays east of Florida and the storm slowly moves north. And it's still possible there is no northward movement at all and the storm just keeps heading west.

Meanwhile, the less-imaginative GFS model suggests Irma will get captured by the East Coast trough in a standard manner, and that's why it moves the storm north.

And there's a third possible solution: Hurricane Irma keeps moving west without a turn, following Hurricane Katia, and ends up on the Mexican or Texan coast. That's a different way to make a cutoff low, and quite a logical solution too.

The Models Are Beginning to Disagree with Each Other

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida, you'd expect the models to start coming to a consensus about future movement. Instead, the models seem to be diverging from each other. There is a real question about where the storm will go next.

The NVG model now suggests the storm will move north along Florida's west coast, from Naples, straight through Tampa, and north. The GFS model also suggests the storm will move north, but will stay largely east of Florida.

Both models feature a northward storm movement, but the reasons for the movement are quite different.

The weather situation in the U.S. is quite unusual right now, with a very strong ridge in the Plains and a very strong trough along the East Coast. There is a small, weak low pressure system present in the Dakotas that is eroding the Plains ridge. NVG says it makes sense for the Dakota low and Hurricane Irma to start rotating around a common center in the lower Mississippi Valley, forming a cutoff low. That common movement, similar to dancers linking arms and swinging around each other at a square dance, is what makes Irma move north so abruptly.

Meanwhile, the less-imaginative GFS model suggests Irma will get captured by the East Coast trough in a standard manner, and that's why it moves the storm north.

And there's a third possible solution: Hurricane Irma keeps moving west without a turn, following Hurricane Katia, and ends up on the Mexican or Texan coast. That's a different way to make a cutoff low, and quite a logical solution.

Personally, I don't like the NVG solution. Hurricane Irma is strong and the Dakota low is weak. There is no compelling reason for them to work in concert. The Dakota low isn't powerful enough to fling Hurricane Irma north. The GFS solution is still the most likely one - the storm stays east of Florida and the storm slowly moves north. And it's still possible there is no northward movement at all and the storm just keeps heading west.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Trump is Figuring it Out

A friend sends this to me today from Oklahoma. Ha, ha, ha! Love it! Since Trump stabbed Congressional conservatives in the back today, I'll post in his honor.

Trump Will Soon Join Team Dem

Eventually Trump will realize that the only way he can get victories in this Congress is to join the Democrats:
“Oh, was there applause?” Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said with a smile. “Maybe they were clapping for somebody’s birthday. Who knows?”

“We clap for a lot of things in our caucus,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) deadpanned.

While playing down the political victory they had just scored—winning all of their demands from a Republican president—the Democrats acknowledged that the deal gives them leverage down the road to extract concessions from the Republican majority, such as protections for immigrants now at risk of losing their DACA protections.

“You bet,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) responded when asked by TPM if the three-month timeline gives Democrats an upper hand in future negotiations over DACA. “We’re going to have the chance over the next few weeks to talk about how these young people really represent the best of America. This gives us a chance to make the case for good policy, and good policy is the best politics.”

This May Be Bad

This morning's forecasts inch the storm track back westward again, suggesting a path of Irma's eye on a direct line from the tip of Florida (Sunday, 6 a.m.), through Orlando (Sunday, 11 p.m.), to just offshore Jacksonville (Monday, 6 a.m.), with second landfall near Savannah, Georgia (Monday, noon), and Greenville, SC (Monday, 11 p.m.). Not a good path at all. Sunday and Monday will be difficult days.

I'm worried about the folks on Barbuda - last I heard, no one had been able to reestablish contact with them.

Let's hope the storm turns early.

Bad Blogger

I'm a bad blogger. I took a detour down 14th Avenue, and caught the first puff of a house fire. As I passed the house, I could hear people there yelling. A diligent blogger would have stopped immediately to take pictures, but there wasn't a damned thing I could have done there of any real value. So, I contented myself with dodging fire trucks on the rest of the drive down 14th Avenue.

Tuesday Evening Forecasts For Irma

At the moment, most of the models (NVG, GFS, & others) are sticking with a storm path that moves Irma up Florida's east coast. Interestingly, the National Hurricane Center suggests a path that moves the storm further west, towards west Florida, but most of the models are not supportive of that scenario. The hurricane has to execute nearly a 90-degree turn Saturday evening in order to keep the storm east of Florida. A sharp turn like that is unusual, but not unprecedented. If the turn happens late, or is less than sharp, Florida will take the full brunt of the storm.

Currently, NVG indicates landfall near Edisto Beach, SC (Monday evening, Sept. 11th), which places Charleston, SC, in the storm-surge-vulnerable eastern quadrant of the storm. South Carolina is likely to take the full force of the storm.

Follow-up Hurricane Jose may follow a circular path near the Bahamas, but there is no sign at the moment of it coming close to the U.S.