Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving in Millersville and an Unplanned Train Ride to Baltimore on a Rainy/Snowy Night

The view from outside my mom and Ray's place, Rol Park trailer village, Millersville, Md., 12:26PM November 27, 2014.


Here I am in Millersville, Md. (not even a CDP in Anne Arundel County) in the little trailer where my mom and Ray live. It's in the Rol-park trailer park for folks 50 and over.

My trek up here yesterday on the MARC Penn Line involved a Metro ride from U Street/Cardozo to New Carrollton via L'Enfant Plaza. I thought I would be clever and avoid the day-before-Thanksgiving mobs at Union Station and catch the MARC train at the New Carrollton station stop (located immediately next to the Metro station).

It was raining and snowing at that point (more on that below). I got on the train and it was quite crowded, so I stood in a semi-convenient spot. Deep gloomy blue dusk was shading into a rainy / sleety night. The ride to BWI Rail Station stop is relatively short -- not quite 25 minutes.

Unfortunately, I managed to pick one of the frickin' MARC Penn Line trains that SKIPS BWI Rail Station. It stops at Seabrook (an odd name for a suburban Maryland location), Bowie State, and Odenton.

The conductor announced the next stop was flippin' Pennsylvania ("Penn") Station in Baltimore. I hoped it was just an oversight on his part but, nope, it wasn't. This initiated a series of text messages to my mom, who was on her way to the train station with Ray to retrieve me.

I got to frickin' Penn Station in the depressing, timeless urban purgatory of frickin' uptown Baltimore in the rain and sleet and late November early darkness. I was last to Penn Station back in March during another ill-fated trip to Baltimore.

Anyway, long story short, the MARC folks were quite used to this mistake and I was able to get the next train back toward Washington that had a BWI Rail Station stop. It would have been nice, though, if the conductor had announced that the first train was skipping a major station stop such as BWI Rail Station.

Java Moon Café at Penn Station in Baltimore, Md., 5:24PM November 26, 2014.


There was a little combo canteen / snack bar / actual bar in Penn Station called the Java Moon Café and Bar. I was quite irritated at my screw up and at the Universe in general, but a glass of red wine relaxed me. I then caught the next train - which was barely 15 minutes later.

I actually enjoyed the ride back -- seeing the dimly-lit urban wasteland of the section of Baltimore through which the joint Amtrak and MARC Penn Line passes and seeing the eclectic skyline of Baltimore off in the distance under the low, swirling, nighttime overcast.

Look, I have a real fondness for Baltimore and all the year I've been in this region but it's still a bad-ass city in so many ways and nothing like D.C. for yuppie boom-town gentrification with resulting street-level safety improvements.

I was back at BWI Rail Station stop around 6PM. The station was crowded with people and the usual line of vehicles trying to pick up or drop off people. Anyway, I found my mom and Ray (who had in the interim driven back home) and we headed back to their home. We had dinner and I had a couple more glasses of wine, not to mention that little nip of Absolut Citron I bought at the nearby Northway Liquors store.

A blurry picture of me and my mom, Millersville, Md., 7:34PM November 26, 2014.


I fell asleep in the cozy, carpeted little back room where I stay around 920PM but then woke up two hours later, called and spoke briefly to my dad. He was in a non-crazy and even pleasant mood and wished me happy birthday. I went back to sleep and got up finally at 1030AM, so I had a good and needed 12 hours of sleep.

Giant teddy bear in the backroom, Millersville, Md., 12:33PM November 27, 2014.


We're going to the American Legion Post 275 today for a ready-made Thanksgiving dinner. This is where we went last year. I'll head back to D.C. tomorrow. It is technically a regular work day but I'm not going to make it into the office. I'll try to work a part-day from home.

Weather-wise, the following rain and snowfall amounts were recorded yesterday (and the whole event was captured in the calendar day of Nov. 26th):

KDCA: 1.06" / Snow: Trace (now there's a non-shock) (For the year, this precip. total pushed KDCA over the 40-inch mark to 40.91" or +4.65" year-to-date.)

KBWI: 1.19" / Snow: 0.3" (For the year, KBWI is at 49.00" precip. exactly or +10.95" year-to-date.)

KIAD: 1.20" / Snow: 1.6" (Daily Record)

KDMH (Maryland Science Center): 1.15" / Snow: Not recorded in climo summary. (For the year precip-wise, KDMH is just 0.48" from reaching the 50-inch mark. It doesn't have a full 30-year base-period normal yet.)

The KIAD snowfall was a daily record, surpassing the 1.1" set in 1978. The KDCA and KBWI records were safe.

Those records were 2.2" and 4.5", respectively, set at the start of the legendary winter season of 1898 - 1899.

Both locations have much longer records stretching back to 1871 and to 1888 and 1883, respectively, for snowfall. They thus include significant pre-airport periods.

OK, that's all for now.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Just Noting My Half-90th, er, 45th Birthday -OR- Dubber Rucky Duo (UPDATED)

Updated 11:58AM 11/26/2014: See bottom of entry.

Today is my 45th birthday. (Ditto the Bert & Ernie duo. OK, they're more "in November" than a specific date, but still.)

How bizarre and off-the-wall weird is that??

I had a nice night tonight -- after a sort of stressful day at work involving all the Clean Cities stuff (except, as always, Andrea made it infinitely better than it would have been when I spoke to her). LP, Kristof, and I went to Sur La Place (which I think I've been writing incorrectly as "La Sur Place" in recent entries, or at least in emails) here in D.C. (way out in Palisades).

The food was delicious but the service crappy as the waitress / manager crapped out early on and left her tables to the busboy, who became the waiter. She kinda sucked. The part that really sucked is that she was -- I think -- our waitress the last two times that I was there (once in Sept. 2013 and again in Nov. 2013 for my 44th birthday), and she was great both times. Tonight, she wanted to be somewhere else.

Later, Kristof, LP, and I went to Larry's Lounge, where (1) I did NOT get into an argument with anybody but instead had a good time; (2) had a great conversation with Gary and Kristof about meteorology, gravity (not gravitational) waves; and breaking planetary waves (Kristof is a world-renowned expert in that field); and (3) enjoyed a group shot for my birthday that the bartenders gave. (The latter surprised me since I am NOT ANYBODY'S favorite customer there.)

As for my 45th birthday, I tweaked the "About Me" section of the blog to reflect that -- and it was harder than ever to find the damn section.

OK, that's all for now.

Oh, yes, I have to get up early, in a way, because the building maintenance man is coming to fix the wall in my bathroom now that the plumbers have come at 9AM (well, 920AM) for two days in a row to replace my toilet and pipes behind the wall.

I am also going to see my mom in Millersville, Md., in her wee trailer (with Ray). And I need to call my dad (who actually texted me tonight for the first time on his own forever). I intend to update the blog tomorrow night from the trailer, in particular, the two entries I have yet to finish. However,  I'm dreading passing through Union Station tomorrow. I'll be back home in my wee dusty efficiency on Friday.

Oh, and the weather issue about would-be accumulating snowfall in the immediate D.C. area is TOTAL BULLSHIT. It's NOT going to snow at all -- not in the D.C. area. To be clear, 17 of the last 20 Capital Weather Gang entries and approx. 3,150 comments (obviously, not all relevant) have been almost uniformly delusional in anticipating accumulating snow in D.C. rather than what will actually happen: A 0.50 to 1.0-inch light-to-moderate rainfall event with a few flakes of snow about 30 miles N and W of D.C. and Baltimore before it ends. YAY! WE WIN!

UPDATED 11:58AM 11/26/2014:

View from my Hampton Courts apt. with moderate wet snow falling, Washington, D.C., 10:57AM November 26, 2014.


Well, whaddaya know, it actually is snowing moderately even here in D.C., as I can see outside my apt. window. And the radar looks impressive. I guess I was wrong when I said it wouldn't snow at all in the District proper.


The surface air temp is still 40F at KDCA at the 11AM hour. The CWG commenters are goin' wild. Apparently, it has accumulated to a few inches already way out along the Allegheny Front and into western Maryland.

Left: Portion of U.S. composite radar mosaic, 1548UTC (10:48AM EST) 11/26/2014.

I'm home this late morning / early afternoon -- trying to work from home. I'm also doing five loads of laundry -- clothes and my deplorable blankets / quilts (I desperately need new bedding). As it is, hopefully, I can get a dryer but one woman in the laundry room looks like she wants to use every dryer all day.

You know the sort: A young woman who puts three dainty garments each in five dryers and a bathroom mat in the sixth one (oh, and the seventh / final dryer is out of order). Then she leaves them in there for hours so that you're stuck -- and woe unto you if you try to move them. You have the whole Feminazi crew down on you as a monster pervert (never mind you're a gay 45 year old man) and responsible for every atrocity this side of World War II.

Changing subjects, there was a fellow here earlier fixing the drywall in my bathroom now that I have a new toilet. I just need the tile guy to finish the wall. It has been a three-day ordeal.

Not looking so good right now.


I have to get over to Millersville later today. I need to take a MARC Penn Line train. I think I'm just going to go to New Carrollton rather than even attempt to navigate Union Station.

OK, that's all for now. Interestingly, the nanosecond picosecond femtosecond that I expressed interest in the falling snow, it stopped.

End of update and entry.


Monday, November 24, 2014

You Might Just Make It After All ...

My good friend and co-worker (not to mention supervisor) Andrea was in Minneapolis this past weekend for a conference and staying in a hotel near Nicollet Mall. I beseeched her to take a picture of herself with the Mary Tyler Moore statue and -- presto! -- she did. This was taken on Nov. 23, 2014.

Actually, she took two pictures but her eyes were a bit closed in the first so I'll post this one.


The immortal scene itself filmed on a cold day in Minneapolis in either late 1969 or early 1970. That confused looking lady in the headscarf is Hazel Frederick -- years later in 1996 she would introduce herself to MTM at (I believe) an event for her book After All. MTM welcomed her as "my co-star." Frederick died in Nov. 1999 at age 91.

As I mentioned before, when I met MTM at the old Dupont Supercrown (a book store was later replaced by the current Books-A-Million as a result of the Haft Family feud) back in November 1995 for the book signing of After All, I asked her what happened to that blue Tam o'Shanter. She said he had it for years until it was stolen.

Boo. You suck, thief. Big time. 


I was last in Minneapolis -- on my one and only visit there -- with my crazy dad back in July 1986 when I was 16 years old. It was at least a week long trip. We drove on a big loop all the way to Sprague, Manitoba and International Falls, Minn. (alas, there are no waterfalls there), over to Split Rock Light and then back to Minneapolis where we stayed for about 3 or 4 days.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

BAROOOSHHH! Two Thematic Entries Today That Weren't and This Themeless One That Was

A still-colorful Japanese maple tree in the yard-let along the alley that runs behind both the row houses in the 2000 block of 15th Street NW and my building along the 2000 block of New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 3:12PM November 22, 2014.


So today's blogging efforts are a nice example of why I find it so frustrating to keep a blog...

For starters, I have a lengthy entry on the movie Interstellar -- which I saw last Sunday -- to post except there are a number of pictures I need to insert and to format the whole thing. That takes a few hours. I was going to do it, but then I heard the news of Marion Barry's death earlier today. I wrote an entry featuring my thoughts on him and the "old school" D.C. world he inhabited and defined and its relation to the "Washington Consensus" world of the Washington Post crowd.

Well, I think it's interesting entry.

However, In writing what I thought would be a quick entry, I soon easily spent 3 hours on it -- and still would need another at least another 2 hours to finish it.

The row houses along the 1400 block of W Street NW, Washington, D.C., 3:15PM November 22, 2014. I was walking to the YMCA when I took this.


So in the end, nothing is getting posted today except this interim entry. Furthermore, I'm not even sure when I'm going to have time to complete and post both entries. Both could very well join a long line of entries that never get posted.

To be clear, those entries would get posted if I didn't try to hard to get pictures and formatting.

Oh, and needless to say, I didn't do ANY of the work I had intended to do at home this weekend for work.

The NWS composite radar mosaic for a large portion of the eastern U.S., 2038UTC (3:38PM EST) November 23, 2014.


It is now nearly 5PM on Sunday afternoon and already starting to get dark on this cool, cloudy day. It is supposed to rain tonight -- indeed, the radar mosaic image for the U.S. shows abundant rainfall over the Gulf coast states and Ohio and Tennessee River valleys approaching the East Coast including the mid-Atlantic region.

Oh, and there is a chance of coastal storm / mixed precipitation event for the mid-Atlantic on Wednesday and heading north into New England on Thanksgiving.

Left: Today's 12Z GFS showing MSLP, 850-mb temperatures, and 6-hr precip. valid at hour 78 / 18Z (1PM EST) Nov. 26, 2014. That would a messy weather event on a very high travel day.

At this point, I doubt there will be accumulating snow in D.C. proper but I figured I would mention it. I doubt it not because I've been paying close attention but because that is usually a good guess for how these things turn out. Needless to say, the comment section over at the CWG is going wild.

As for now, I don't know what to do. I would like to get the heck out of this apartment for a few hours. I am ALMOST flat broke until Tuesday, at which point I should be OK. I have exactly $31.59 in cash on me and $2.25 in the bank. That's it.

Ain't that great? You can be happy now -- and you know who you are with off-the-charts unctuousness.

It is going to be quite a truncated week workwise as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is also my birthday on Wednesday. To celebrate that event (I turn 45), I'm supposed to go with Larry and Kristof and perhaps Gary to La Sur Place in Palisades on Tuesday night.

The only chance I have to go to the gym this week will be tomorrow (Monday) night. I'm going to Millersville on Wednesday to see my mom and I think we (she, Ray, and I) are supposed to go to the Severna Park American Legion place for Thanksgiving dinner before I return on Friday. We also went there last year. It's a no-muss, no-fuss kind of affair in its middle Americana well-intentioned and even innocent, Big Ideas-free way.

OK, that's all for now.

I might try to post one of the two aforementioned entries if I can finish the damn composition and formatting. Alternatively, they might have to wait until later this week. Of course, given that I will be at my mother's place in a small trailer in Millersville, Md., for two nights with NOTHING to do, I suppose I will actually have the time.

Oh, yes, I forgot: I had a leak behind my bathroom wall on Thursday and while it has been temporarily been fixed, the pipes are to be replaced tomorrow.

However, the building manager is taking this opportunity to have my toilet replaced. This is the interim one installed right after the cellphone disaster just hours before my Buffalo trip with Gary last January.

It is to be replaced with a tank-mounted one that probably has a weak and wimpy flush rather than the powerful BAROOOSHHH! one I have now.

I'm going to miss that admittedly water wasteful but awesomely powerfully flushing toilet. We had some good times together.

This also means I have to clear out of my apt. by 9AM tomorrow. And again on Tuesday to have the wall closed up.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jukebox Saturday Night Entry for Nov. 22nd, 2014: The "Later On, I'd Rather Be" Edition

"Later On" by Mezzoforte from the group's Live in Reykjavik release (2007)

This was performed live by the band -- and quite possibly in Reykjavik, and thus "live in Reykjavik" but not to be confused with the group's album of same name on which this song appears. Mezzoforte is an Icelandic band, specifically, described (at least on Wikipedia) as an instrumental jazz-funk fusion band.


"Rather Be" by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne from the group's New Eyes release (2014)

I love the lyrics to this song. (I'd post them but I don't have time tonight.) They are sung by British singer Jess Glynne rather than the Japanese girl in the video, who is actually the Japanese-born actress Haruka Abe.

The video is strange and captivating. I can't quite tell the story it's trying to tell, specifically, who is her beloved -- another woman (featured briefly in the video) or a guy. I do like all the scenes from Tokyo including its ginormous Tsukiji fish market (through which enormous quantities of the western Pacific ecosystem, having been sucked from the ocean by trawlers, pass), on its subway system, and along the nearby seashore.

Also, the YouTube video has had nearly 173 million hits as of today. That's impressive.

OK, that's all for now. I'm just posting two videos in tonight's Jukebox Saturday Night Entry. I am meeting Damon for dinner at Logan Tavern. I had a decent gym workout this afternoon / early evening but I'm tired now.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Still More Pictures and Information on the Buffalo Area Epic Double Blizzard this Week

This picture appeared on the Instagram account of user j2marcus living in Hamburg (a suburb of Buffalo) where over 70 inches of snow fell in a four-day period this week. The little dog is named Gracie, who looks quite confused by the massive wall of white towering above her. Source image here.


This is a follow-up entry to the one I wrote about the epic Buffalo area lake effect blizzard this week. Oh, and after a second 2 to 3 foot dumping on many of the same areas that brought selected spots' two-storm / 4-day totals into the 6 to 8 foot range with one spot reaching an hard-to-fathom 88.0 inches of snow, it was in fact an epic and historic event, even if not in Buffalo proper (officially, KBUF had 16.9 inches).

OK, then.

(This is another j2marcus Instagram image, source here.)


This entry includes some additional fantastic photographs -- such as the two above -- that people took and posted on their Instagram, Twitter, or other social media sites that appeared on media outlet sites including this Capital Weather Gang entry. It also includes an online account by a local radio reporter at the usually incredibly annoying WTOP station here in D.C. (I say "incredibly annoying" because the reporters and news readers on WTOP say the station's call letters "W-T-O-P" at least 4 times a minute or, at minimum, approx. 5,800 times a day.

Saying it that many times probably earns Wall-P more money and makes the Washington Consensus crowd happy.

Here is a truncated / slightly edited version of a screen shot of the Buffalo area snowfall totals as of 4:51PM EST today (Nov. 21, 2014) that appeared on the Buffalo NWS Forecast Office website. This covers the full 4-day period in question.

The highest amounts are 88.0 inches in Cowlesville, N.Y. (amateur radio operator report); 79.5 inches 1 mile north of Hamburg, N.Y. (NWS employee report); and 78.0 inches in West Seneca, N.Y. (trained spotter). (Again, "COCORAHS" refers to the CoCoRaHS network.)

Again, KBUF officially had 16.9 inches. Interestingly, Niagara Falls (the city) had a mere 4.6 inches.


Dave Dildine took a flight from KDCA to KBUF just before the first blizzard struck on November 18 and his account his here (link embedded): Entombed in snow: a personal account of New York's snowstorm. My co-worker Laura pointed this out to me this morning.

Here is an extended excerpt with pictures and a YouTube clip from the article and its photo gallery plus some images I found on the above-linked CWG entry.

Last weekend, when forecasters began calling for an "incredible lake effect snow event," I decided I wanted to be a part of weather history. On Monday afternoon, my flight from Reagan National Airport to Buffalo Niagara International Airport would fly through the cold front that, hours earlier, had escorted a frigid air mass across the Great Lakes. The record-setting cold set the stage for a localized, but epic, snowstorm ...

The storm's overnight exhibition was extraordinary. As the winds increased, so too did the size of the drifts. And then, in a flash, came the thundersnow -- a half-dozen strokes of lightning in succession at close range. The crack of thunder was deafening, not at all diminished by the onslaught of snow.

Next to the hotel, traffic on the New York State Thruway ground to a halt by midnight. Drivers in vehicles of all sizes became stranded, overwhelmed by merciless snowfall. Cars, pickups and semis were left abandoned in the middle of roads nearby, catawampus and clustered. They were soon shrouded in snow, frozen in time.

Caption from article: Snow drifts over an abandoned car on a once-plowed Route 75. The lake effect storm left thousands of drivers stranded. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

(Blogger Editor's Note: I renamed this image file and included a date of Nov. 18, 2014 though it could have been Nov. 17th or, more likely, the wee hours of Nov. 19th.)


By the following morning, visibility was often near zero. My periodic walks became more exhausting as the snow depths increased. It was impossible to venture more than a hundred feet or so from the hotel without fear of becoming disoriented and lost.

Back at the hotel, the white walls were closing in. Enormous "snow dunes" swelled upward from the parking lot to the second-story balcony. The windows and walls were rimmed in clumps of ice.

That night, the roof of the hotel creaked and moaned under the weight of the snow. This made for a tense, restless sleep. The storm's howling winds were now deadened by enormous drifts that banked up against the walls.

By dawn, the squall had lifted north and weakened. The sun rose over a glaciated landscape. Most human things had vanished; the edges of cars were erased. Houses and larger structures appeared lower, their roofs blunted by sagging cornices made of ice. Vehicles abandoned on the nearby roads were nearly invisible.

With skies already darkening by midday and another several feet forecast, a hectic and exhausting dig-out ensued. In the narrow window of clear weather, I was faced with a labyrinth of road closures between the hotel and airport. A 20-minute drive to Blasdell (south of Buffalo) was a nearly four-hour return trip, with many roads, including the New York State Thruway, closed or impassable. I arrived at the airport as the next round of snow was moving overhead.

I learned that every city has its breaking point. In Washington, a mere inch of snow during rush hour will cause the grid to seize. But five to six feet of snow in 24 hours, even in the snow-savvy suburbs of Buffalo, is crippling and downright dangerous.


To be clear, the Blizzard of 1977 still stands (and long may it stand) as the worst ever in terms of snowfall in Buffalo proper including wind, cold, and snowfall amounts, not to mention loss of life. Also, to of note, that storm was not a lake effect event in that Lake Erie was already frozen over. However, it featured the strange fact is that much of the snow that fell on Buffalo is believed to have been blown off of frozen Lake Erie rather than falling from a weather system. 29 people lost their lives in that event. (This event as so far a reported 13 fatalities.)

I also wanted to note that a significant warm up and moderate rainfall of about 1/2 inch are forecasted for western New York state by early next week so serious flooding is a possibility. Indeed, the entire western tip of New York state is under a flood watch including the entire Buffalo area.

This a forecast of what are probably 850mb temperatures (that's how I noted the image file name) for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014 from appearing on the above-linked CWG entry. However, I do not know what model or model run it is taken from and for what exact time it is valid.


Oh, yes, the CWG very annoyingly had this dumb-ass entry about how it is going to get really warm here in the D.C. area -- potentially low 70s Fahrenheit -- by Monday and then cold again with the bogus model chance of some wet snow on Thanksgiving. That's bullshit and horseshit combined.

We aren't getting any snow next week. Full stop. And probably not much this winter.

True, it has been rather blustery and cold this month -- including today with temps just 40F at KDCA with gusty northwesterly winds under mostly sunny skies (and tonight should drop into the 22F to 26F range across most of the area, if not KDCA itself). But it really is a dead-shit pattern. However, it might rain on Sunday as it warms up.

There was some comment by someone saying he or she wouldn't mind a bit of "conversational snow" next week provided "it doesn't seriously impact holiday travel." My comment is underneath it -- it didn't get too many thumbs up, though. Oh, well. (It's at the very bottom of the comment section.)

Yours truly in my office (in a side suite) by L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C., 1:23PM November 18, 2014. This was right at the time south Buffalo was getting 4 to 5 feet of snow in the first event. As you can see, the weather was very different in D.C.

We don't get "weather" in Washington, not this time of year.


Here is what I wrote (yes, as Arcturus24):

We're not getting any "conversational snow" in the immediate D.C. area next week or anytime in the next month. Our "big snow" will be a 2-inch event on, like, Feb. 16th between 5 and 6 in the morning -- everything shutdown -- and it will be partly cloudy and 45F by 2PM that afternoon. Oh, and National Airport will "officially" report 0.4 inches.

"Conversational snow ..." One would have to have a conversation if it actually snowed here. The conversation would be: Gee, how did that happen?

Well, I thought it was funny. And you have to read the "conversational snow" with incredulity and sarcasm.

Here is one more Instagram picture on j2marcus's site. I realize it is odd and perhaps a bit creepy to post pictures of other people -- esp. those you don't know -- but this image of Gracie (featured in the lead image to this entry as well pondering the massive snow) was just too cute not to post. This was taken on Nov. 16, 2014. Source image here.


OK, that's all for now. I am meeting Gary and Larry's Lounge and then perhaps going to No. 9. I intend to post a jukebox Saturday night entry tomorrow (before a planned dinner and bar jaunt with Damon this weekend, who is actually available as the wife and baby are away). I then plan to post an entry about the movie Interstellar (which I saw last Sunday) this coming Sunday.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Mysterious High-Altitude Explosion Above Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia, and a Little Drone's Bird's-Eye View of Snowy West Seneca, N.Y.

WTF was that??

See below for discussion of this mysterious high-altitude explosion over Siberia's Sverdlovsk region last Friday evening local time.


This entry is to note the mysterious massive burst of light (explosion) over a remote Ural Mountains region of Siberia that occurred last Friday evening local time. It occurred near / above the town of Rezh in the Ural Mountains / Sverdlovsk Oblast of the Ural Federal District (about 930 miles east of Moscow) at 1839 local (YEKT) time (8:39AM EST) on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014.

The flash lasted for about 10 seconds and has been aptly described as "sun-like" although it was overcast in the region so it wasn't possible to see the actual light source. It is pictured above in a video still from a car's dash cam and in a series of four video stills from that same dash cam. (The dash cam footage itself is embedded below as a YouTube clip.)

A Twitter tweet showing a series of four images from aforementioned car dash cam showing the mysterious explosion. This is from the RT Twitter feed here.


No one knows it is a high-altitude meteor detonating or a rocket blowing up or something else. And, no, it couldn't have been a high-altitude nuclear blast -- that's just too far-fetched and news of something like that simply could not be suppressed. Besides, there would have been an EMP and residual radiation detected all over the place.

Here is the Yahoo News article that reposts the original Christian Science Monitor article (link embedded): Mysterious burst of light over Russia leaves scientists, locals guessing.

The CSM article contains links to two YouTube clips of the event that I have embedded in this entry. The first is from a dash-cam on a car being driven along some lonely stretch of nighttime highway truly in the Middle of No-Where. The second is from a Smartphone and some of the language has been bleeped out by the E1-Ru news outfit because, presumably, the folks were using profanity. (No, I'm not linking to anything with ".ru" in the address.)

Here is a 27-second YouTube clip showing the aforementioned car dash-cam view of the explosion.


Here is a 36-second YouTube clip showing a Smartphone video of the explosion. There is a reddish glow in the sky that precedes the main flash -- and, in fact, it is that reddish glow that first attracts the attention of the person (likely a young man and his companions) and is why he is filming in that direction.

Mike -- Can you tell me what those people are saying??


As for the dash-cam, yes, we all learned about their ubiquity in Russia during the Chelyabinsk meteor / superbolide event as a result of all contrived accidents that are extortion attempts and the local police are, at best, wholly indifferent, at worst, in on the scam. (They're living the libertarian dream over there, aren't they??)

Oh, yes, one other question: What is it about Siberia and strange things in or crashing down from the sky?? I mean, I know Siberia is an absolutely GARGANTUAN place, but really.

From mysterious flashes filmed in the sky to little drones filming from the sky ...

Video still of an aerial drone footage above West Seneca, N.Y., on Nov. 19, 2014 following a roughly 5 foot lake effect blizzard the previous day.


Oh, and while I am posting things filmed in sky, or in this case, from the sky, there is an interesting follow-through that I would like to post to my previous entry on the massive Buffalo area lake effect snow event -- an entry that I significantly expanded tonight (thus not doing what I said, which was to NOT update the blog until Friday night). I found out about it in a CWG entry showing a video taken by a drone (yes, a drone) of one of the more deeply snow-buried communities, West Seneca, N.Y.

The drone apparently belongs to James Grimaldi of West Seneca, N.Y., and he made what turned out to be two YouTube clips that are embedded below. (The video in the CWG entry is a single condensed version of both videos and features lovely light jazz music. However, I cannot embed that one.)

Day 1 ...

Here is a full 7-minute YouTube clip featuring a fly-about the residential neighborhood during the snow blitz on Tuesday.


Day 2 ...

Above is a nearly 9-minute YouTube clip featuring another fly-about of his little drone over the same neighborhood on Wednesday after the snow had ended.


Uh, oh ... Benji Wittes heard the word drones and is all excited...


No, Benji, this is drone doesn't also launch missiles. It's just basically a glorified model airplane with a good camera.


Sorry, Benji, I can't help you or your Washington Consensus on that one. Maybe Uncle Fred can help.


And with that, I shall sign off. My next update really and truly won't be until at least Friday night or Saturday.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Update on the Buffalo Area Massive Lake Effect Snow Event and a Midweek Blogging Note (SECOND UPDATE - Much Additional Content)

**Updated with significant additional content 12:38AM 11/20/2014: See below.**

The massive snow squall -- resembling one of those desert haboobs except its grayish white -- as seen from the top of a skyscraper along Lake Erie (unsure of exact location) and looking (I think) south around 9:30AM Nov. 18, 2014. Source here.


I had just created an update to my previous entry to note the fantastic amounts of snow that fell south of Buffalo yesterday -- as much as five feet of snow -- and the incredible gradient associated with it (KBUF itself had 6.2" through 8AM this morning). I also had pictures that I found on the Capital Weather Gang in this entry.

Blizzard conditions with massive amounts of snow in the south suburbs of Buffalo on the morning of Nov. 18, 2014 in a picture posted by Nicole Milligan.


However, my fucked up browser decided to freeze up for whatever asinine reason (the sort that pleases Wall-P and his Big Telecom racket, excites the Hysterical One, and earns Bill Gates another billion dollars), and so I lost the entire update, so it's gone. However, I've basically recreated in here in this short, separate entry.

Close-up image of the KBUF NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity showing the intense snow band and incredible snow gradient associated with it at 4:13PM EST Nov. 18, 2014. The snow band was like a fire hose off Lake Erie.


Through 930AM this morning, the highest snowfall totals were in Gardenville, N.Y., with 60.0 inches and in West Seneca, N.Y., with 57.0 inches. The airport itself (KBUF) had 6.2 inches. I'm not sure that even those incredible amounts are record-setting for that region overall. Whatever the case, the snow band has slowly shifted north and is gradually dissipating as the winds relax.


I also mentioned in that failed update -- and I am restating it here -- that I am having trouble posting entries this week. My schedule is simply too cluttered and disjointed and the hours just aren't there. In addition, I have a large multi-part assignment at work that is going to require I do some work at home after I get back from the gym late tonight. In short, I'm not sure when I'll be able to update this blog this week -- potentially not until Friday night.


SECOND UPDATE 12:38AM 11/20/2014: Additional Buffalo Blizzard Pictures / Information

An image of what it truly means to be "snowed in" taken in West Seneca, N.Y., on Monday night by Ed Russo, November 18, 2014.

West Seneca had just about 5 feet of snow in the lake effect blizzard. I love the imprint of the door design on the snow.


I would like to add some additional content including amazing photographs and time lapse images of the "wall" / standing "haboob" of snow that engulfed the southern sections of the Buffalo area for much of Monday. The images are from this SPLOID / Kizmodo site and another CWG entry, although these sites took the images, in turn, from various Twitter and Instagram user pages.

An aerial view taken from about 25,000 feet or so above Buffalo showing the haboob-like snow squall.

Yes, "haboob" -- and, yes, it's an Arabic word used to refer to a powerful dust or sand storm, and no, it doesn't mean Obama is a Muslim/Kenyan/Socialist who is secretly doing weather modification experiments to confuse you about anthropogenic climate change, that is, global warming. More to the point, if  you're such a paranoid Teabagger that you don't like that Arabic term, I also suggest you don't use the word "algebra." Or for that matter, the names of the brightest 50 or so stars. Of course, if you're that dumb, you're unlikely to know much algebra or astronomy. Thank you.


A 32-second time-lapse video taken by Alfonzo Cutaia atop the Guaranty Building at 140 Pearl Street in Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 18, 2014 showing the lake effect snow squall in all its haboob-like awesomeness. Note that the squall is moving mostly parallel to the image -- so it never really engulfs downtown Buffalo where this is located.


A picture taken closer to the edge of the "wall of snow" that engulfed the south side of Buffalo all day on Nov. 18, 2014.


Snowfall Amounts ...

Above: A slightly truncated screen shot image from a public information statement put out by the Buffalo NWS Forecast Office of the storm total[1][2]. I would link directly to the webpage but the content of this page will change quickly. Also, the "COCORAHS" reference is really CoCoRaHS and it refers to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network.

[1]I edited out the snow totals preceding it and went straight to the Erie County ones just so it could have the time-stamped header.

[2]To be clear, it is still snowing at this midnight hour in Buffalo -- but this is associated with a frontal system about to sweep through and in the whose wake there will be another round of intense, localized lake effect snows that could bring 2 to 3 feet in certain spots.

A man holds his dog in the 5+ foot blizzard that buried Lancaster, N.Y., where this was taken, Nov. 18, 2014.

I really hope that man brought that confused little pup back inside right after this picture was taken.


The highest total is 65.0 inches (5'5") 4 miles south of Cheektowaga followed by nearby Lancaster with 63.0 inches. Consider that 3 miles north of Cheektowaga, there was just 2.0 inches of snow. That's a 5-foot gradient of snow in 7 miles -- a distance you could walk in 2-1/2 hours. The KBUF official total remained at 6.2 inches.

Another image perspective of the wall of snow just south of Buffalo, N.Y., November 18, 2014.

You could literally walk a short distance into a blizzard.


Finally, there is this image ...

It shows what is a nighttime high-altitude (maybe 25,000 foot?) aerial view of Buffalo and Lake Erie with the snowsquall covering part of the area. It was posted in the above-linked CWG entry and came from an Instagram user "DailyClimb." However, when I looked at that Instagram page, "DailyClimb" said he/she had not taken the picture and it was not sourced.


Gary and I are supposed to visit Buffalo for 3 to 4 days starting on Christmas day. It is a repeat of our visit there last January -- with the intention of seeing snow and this time at Christmas (since a "white Christmas" in D.C. pretty much never happens in any meaningful way -- and spare me any bullshit about midnight dustings or 2 inches of snow out in Warrenton somehow counting).

In addition, Buffalo is actually a rather nice city, especially in its Allentown section near where we are staying, not to mention people are quite friendly.

End of Update and Entry.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Remote and Little Known Seaside Peninsula in Western Sahara; A Brief Cold Morning Update; and Buffalo's First Big Seasonal Lake Effect Snow

The ruins of what looks like an old fort in the seaside ghost town of La Güera (also known as La Agüera and La Gouera), Western Sahara, as seen on Sept. 15, 2012. This is located at the southern tip of the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula known as Cap Blanc. It is actually partitioned between Western Sahara and Mauritania with the former occupied by Morocco. Photo credit: Jose Antonio Navegante. (John Anthony the Navigator??)

The Ras Nouadhibou peninsula -- located at the very bottom left corner of this map of Western Sahara -- is similar in geomorphology to another peninsula of Western Sahara a bit under 200 miles to the north-northeast that includes the city of Dakhla, which I wrote about in this entry.

I've always been intrigued by Western Sahara (formerly Spanish Sahara) because of its desert-by-the-ocean location -- in particular, the Atlantic Ocean -- and because present-day Western Sahara is the region to which the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States including New Jersey was attached as recently as 200 million years ago when Pangaea existed.

Something like this. Click on image for larger version.


Sorry for lack of updates last night. I started an entry but it spiraled out of control in terms of length and was much too vitriolic, plus I was very tired after a long day that included a good gym workout.

Despite the middle November calendar date, it's a mid-winter cold and blustery morning here in the Washington, D.C., area with temperatures presently a bit below freezing even at KDCA proper. It won't get much warmer today. We had a rainy frontal passage yesterday with about 3/4 to 1 inch of rain area-wide. (The two-day rainfall total at KDCA and KIAD were both 0.72" while KBWI had 1.05".)

There is not going to be any snow for us in this set up. That is not the case along in Buffalo (where Gary and I are going on Christmas day for a four day visit) and across the Lake Erie and Lake Ontario snow belts where the first major lake effect event of the season is ongoing.

The Buffalo NWS county warning area (CWA) advisories currently in effect as of 930AM Nov. 18, 2014 as shown on the BUF NWS webpage. The deep aquamarine (or is it medium sea green?) are lake effect snow warnings for as much as four to five feet of snow in isolated places.


I'll try to post an entry later tonight.