Category Archives: Weather

No, New York Times, Irma predictions were not wrong

The graphic above is from the NY Times home page just now. Notice the suggestions that storm predictions were wrong. They were not.
It’s important to note this not only to point out that whomever writes the Times home page does not have a clear understanding of hurricane path prediction, but also important because people living on the West Coast of Florida also did not understand these same concepts and might be in danger because of it.
A meteorologist on CBS-N (don’t recall his name) made a very good point last night about the media reporting on this issue.
The forecasted path of a hurricane is usually represented on maps by a single line with points of time along the line where the hurricane might be.
The predicted path of a hurricane (black line with circles) and the wider cone of a possible path in which all residents should be ready to evacuate.
The cone of the storm’s path is the likely area a storm will affect. It is represented by, just as it sounds, a cone on the map. It is less specific than the single line but is no less important.
Hurricane forecasters have always said the cone of the storm — the area most likely to be hit hardest — was different than the apparent path at any given point in time.  The Gulf side of Florida was always included in Irma’s cone. Using that information, residents of the state’s Gulf coast should have been ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, even if they were not under an evacuation order because early on the storm looked to be heading up the east coast of the state. But western Florida was always considered high risk.
The sub-heading on the Times home page both misrepresents the actual storm predictions, but also does a disservice because it reinforces the notion that science is somehow to blame for not knowing the shift of the storm from east to west.
Science had predicted that a hit to the Gulf side was highly possible. Because people did not understand that some people are at additional risk.

Drone footage of nearly deserted Miami Beach

Normally bustling Miami Beach has a pre-apocalyptic feel to it in the drone footage of an area waiting for Irma to make landfall.

Snowstorm Stella stalks Northeast

With snow predictions wildly varying from less than a foot to more than two feet, the Northeast plays a waiting game as panicked food shopping yields the photo below.

Really, is there anything more New England prior to a snowstorm than a packed Market Basket in Chelsea (MA). And then there’s this one guy who really knows his storm shit with an armful of Hostess snack cakes.

If I had to choose one person with whom I’d like to ride out a civilization-ending snow event, I’m pretty sure it would be Little Debbie. 

No. I won’t go, I won’t go, I WON’T GO.

Otto the rescue dog doesn’t mind a bit of rain, or even a lot of wet grass and puddles after a rain. But if it’s raining hard I have to pick him up and carry him outside rather than drag him by the collar.

I await anxiously to see how he reacts to snow on the ground. 


I love the approach of autumn

Labor Day weekend is almost here.

And with it comes the annual complaints about how short the summer was, how people are not ready for winter, how they really should move someplace warmer.

I don’t want to knock all of you who hate autumn and winter. I get it.

But some of us enjoy the change of the seasons and could not imagine making a decision on where to live based solely on the weather.

Parts of Chicago winters can be brutal, to be sure. But so many other things outweigh the bad parts. And, frankly, sometimes the incessant complaining about the cold is more annoying than the cold weather itself.

Normally I don't post cartoons without a credit. but I have not been able to find one (yet) for this.
Normally I don’t post cartoons without a credit. But I have not been able to find one (yet) for this.

The smell of autumn

summer ratliff Chicago autumn leaves skyscrapers
Autumn in Chicago. (Click to make bigger.)

The Smell of Autumn

The smell of autumn on the breeze,

make’s me feel so serene.

Colored leaves floating down,

lay a blanket of beauty on the ground.

When the sun rises up,

splaying out its radiate light,

touching dew covered leaves.

Red, gold and green,

A faucet of tranquil reflection,

Creating a scene to be seen.

Wrapping the heart with grateful intent,

Relaxing the mind from all life’s extremes,

Leaving behind all the stress and bad dreams.

Blocking the toxic seeping of noise,

There is only me and the trees,

and the smell of autumn on the breeze.

summer ratfliff

“Delight over the treasures of jolly Autumn”

Autumn millennium Park Cloud gate bean

‘It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet…. As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye… ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. “~Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”

Climate change and (some day) waterfront real estate

Heads up Boston, New York, Washington, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami and others. Behold your future. Good thing y’all are in blue states and might still be able to do something about all of this before it’s too late. Maybe. 

Charleston, you just might be getting what a majority of your state’s voters deserve:

You may have heard that the world could be in for 20 feet of sea level rise even if it meets its climate goal of keeping warming below 2°C. And if you haven’t heard, feel free to get caught up over here. We’ll wait.

That rise would vastly reshape coastlines around the world and endanger millions unless efforts are made to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changes already in the pipeline. Specifically, 444,000 square miles of land that’s home to more than 375 million people today will be swallowed up by the oceans. 

But saying that (and showing maps and figures) only conveys a fraction of the change society could be in for. To really understand what climate change could mean for coastal areas, photos really do the trick.

Of course, even if sea levels do rise this much, these photos presume that entities public and private will do nothing to mitigate the damage in the areas shown.

Although the Back Bay and Harvard (seen below) are going to look very different raised up on stilts.

For images two and three, below, use your mouse or touchpad to move the right-left slider to the before and after shots.

More interactive images at the link below.

Source: Here Are 10 Striking Images of Future Sea Levels : Discovery News

The after images were created by visual artist Nickolay Lamm using sea level rise mapping data developed by Climate Central



Tornado strikes, kills old couple, then a sign from God

Now comes this from The Blaze:

After a tornado ripped through Van, Texas, … killing a husband and his wife, neighbors of the deceased reportedly discovered something in the rubble that is bringing family and friends some comfort.

A Bible was found in the wreckage near the home of David and Brenda Tapley — the sole casualties of the tornado, according to the Van Texas Tornado Recovery Facebook page.

That Bible, which belonged to the Tapleys, was open to page 1,500, which includes James 1:2-6, verses that address how to handle life’s sometimes difficult struggles.

It reads, “My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The verses have reportedly brought comfort to the family, with AOL reporting that David Tapley’s sister wrote, “Thank you Jesus for your message,” in a Facebook post published following the couple’s death.

The Tapeleys, longtime members of the Van United Methodist Church, were praised by fellow parishioners who said that the compassionate and caring couple will be greatly missed.

Don’t take this as a indicative of my feelings about the death of what sounded like a sweet old couple. What about the many people who weren’t killed? God just loves them more? Or God kills off innocent old people to prove some point?

I wonder what they all would have said if they found a copy of Tits & Ass magazine open to the centerfold.

“Look, everyone! It’s a sign from God! We must all of us get boob jobs and butt implants!”

via A Bible Was Found in the Rubble of a Texas Home Following a Tornado. But It’s the Verse That It Was Open to That Is Gaining Attention. |