Friday, August 29, 2014

A Few Words to a Certain Set of Random Visitors to This Blog -OR- No, Obama Didn't Take Either Oath of Office Holding a Koran

Let me just say this:

I appreciate anybody who reads my blog, although I know that it is typically found through image searches and, to a lesser extent, word / phrase searches. As for comments, well, to paraphrase the great Paul Krugman, I have comment moderation on because I do not need a robot selling Viagra or some strange person in Bangladesh, South Korea, or Nigeria posting commercial links to God-knows-what.

Having said that, to any individuals who find this blog because of search terms on some combination of the following:

Obama Inauguration Koran Hand Oath

Get a flippin' life and stop watching Fox News / listening to rightwing hate radio. He didn't frickin' take EITHER Oath of Office with a Koran anywhere near him. If you actually think that, then you really are a dumb tool of rightwing intrigue -- ready to buy ANYTHING being peddled.

In short, stop being a Teabagger.

Look, I know it bothers a certain set of people (not saying YOU in particular) that we have a black / non-white president, and one who is using the Fedearl Government to do non-crazy rightwing things, but those are their flippin' problems.

Yes, Pres. Obama had to take his second Oath of Office inside because January 20, 2013 was a Sunday. The ceremonial event was the following day. It's that simple. It has nothing to do with establishing an Islamic Caliphate in Alabama (or could it really be "Al-Obama"??? -- ooooh, cue spooky music).


OK, my intention is to have the first big batch of pictures of my Jersey shore trip posted either tonight or tomorrow. Last night, I went to a post-work happy hour with a co-worker. I took him first to the strange place called Stan's at L Street and Vermont Avenue and then we went to No. 9. Later, I went to Larry's Lounge, where I met up with Chris H. (I'm somewhat worried there.)


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Remembering The Family from Long Ago -- Carol Burnett's TV Show and My New Jersey Ones

I had intended and still do intend to post the first batch of 30 or so pictures from my Jersey Shore trip with Gary, LP, and Wendy (specifically, the pictures that Wendy took). However, it's just too late to try to finish the entry tonight. I have already uploaded the pictures, sized them, and posted them in chronological order. Now I just need to put captions and some explanatory text and then do the formatting. My intention is to post those pictures over the weekend and then (at some point in the next week or so) to post some of the 50 or so that I took along with a narrative of the trip.

I intend to post the entry either Friday night or over the weekend.

In the meantime -- and just because Gary and I have been talking about it, and because there is a long-ago New Jersey connection for me (not to mention because it is hilarious) ...

Part 1: "The Family" skit from The Carol Burnett Show, episode "Family Charades"

Part 2: "The Family" skit from The Carol Burnett Show, episode "Family Charades"

Best line: "Well, you're a FAHINE WUN to tawk after those DUUUHMB clues yew gave me! What the HELL was all that POINTIN'! POINTIN'! POINTIN'! POINTIN'!"

"The Family" skits -- which are sort of a humorous version of a Southern Gothic novel and which I watched with The Carol Burnett Show during the late 1970s into the 1980s reruns -- always reminded me of the fights in my Italian American paternal side family in New Jersey, though mixed in with some of my maternal Polish American side as well. These skits later became the basis for the far lighter comedy show Mama's Family (minus Carol Burnett, except for a few cameos, and the others).

Of note, on our first night in Wildwood Crest in the hotel, Wendy so liked my reenacting of a long-ago (1977 or so) fight between my grandparents that my dad tape-recorded (and that I subsequently committed to memory) that she asked me the next day if I would do it again -- as she films it. I'm not sure about that ...

... however, I'm happy to post the print version in this very entry:

Place: 368 Kirby Avenue, Long Branch, N.J. (see above picture from Sept. 2008 -- it doesn't quite look like that anymore following a big renovation).

Time: 1977 (likely during the school year and on a weekend because I was not home, but rather, I was probably at my maternal grandmother's house on Henry Street in South Amboy, N.J.)

Scene setter: Grandparents fighting and my dad stealthily tape-recording it on an old tape recorder. My dad and grandfather were (for some reason) measuring the mantelpiece over the fireplace in the den.

Dad: Chuckling (because he knew the tape recorder was turned on).

Grandpa: "Why, you dirty son-of-a-bitch! What are you, on SOME KIND OF A GOD-DAMN LAUGHIN' SPREE!?!"

Grandma: "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! Get in there and measure that!"

[Additional scene setter: Grandma in the vestibule room outside the den looking at the linoleum that a family friend, Richie B., had placed down some months earlier. Bruno had cut the linoleum incorrectly with a large piece and two small ones. The three met at a pinch point that drove my grandmother crazy. The "that son-of-a-bitch" and "she" refers to Richie B.'s wife.]

Grandma: "See that spot...? It'll never come away. Right there. That son-of-a-bitch. She wouldn't want it in her house like that, that rotten bitch. She oughta drop dead-!"


It never gets old.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Shore to Please" (Part 1) -OR- Back from the Jersey Shore: A Preliminary Entry

Yours truly, Richard Todaro, in the surf in Wildwood Crest*, N.J., 10:50AM August 24, 2014.

*This was right along the Wildwood Crest / Wildwood ("dry / wet") boundary (no, that isn't referring to the wetness of the ocean but rather, of course, to the whether or not liquor is sold).

The surf was actually more forceful than it appeared in the picture with a real rip current, if only because of a 25 to 30MPH wind that was whipping down the beach on the 23rd and about 15 to 20MPH the next day (when the above picture was taken).


I'm back from my annual, all-too-brief Jersey Shore summer trip to "The Wildwoods" -- that is, Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, and North Wildwood -- with a side trip to Cape May. I have as many as 102 pictures that I can post including 50 that Wendy took and sent to me and another 53 that I took. However, there was an RCN internet outage tonight and by the time it came back up, it was just too late to start an entry.

This entry features three pictures -- one that Wendy took (lead image) and a second one that I took.

Two girls seated in beach chairs in the surf, Wildwood Crest, N.J., 1:20PM Aug. 23, 2014.


I actually got back around 7PM following a drive through southern New Jersey ("South Jersey") from Cape May to the Delaware Memorial Bridge and thence into Delaware, where we detoured to Buckley's Tavern in Centreville (located right near the Pennsylvania border) before driving on Rt. 1 (rather than I-95) to the Baltimore area and then to Rt. 40 and Rt. 29 to the D.C. area. Recall that we drove to Wildwood via the Eastern Shore and the Cape May - Lewes Ferry.

I was able to go the gym tonight and then come home and check my work and personal email accounts as well as balance my checkbook and update my daily expenditures spreadsheets.

The surf and swimmers, Wildwood Crest / Wildwood, N.J., 1:20PM August 23, 2014.


My intention is to post two distinct entries dedicated to the trip over the next several days (and NOT to be distracted with other entry topics). On a tangentially related note, I just moved the 75 or so images from August 2013 on my previous Jersey shore trip to the Wildwoods -- not to mention the Rehoboth Beach prelude into an archived folder on my Hotmail since those pictures will, alas, never be posted.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Off to the Jersey Shore ... (Yes, You Can Go Back)

So I'm heading out for my annual Jersey shore summer vacation, a sort of pilgrimage or Atlantic seaside hajj, if you will ...

Again, this year, it is with Gary, LP, and Wendy and again it is to "the Wildwoods" with our hotel technically just inside the Wildwood Crest border. This year, we are at (I think) Adventurer Oceanfront Inn. This is a larger and less kitschy one than the others we've patronized (the Jolly Roger and the Caribbean). We are also heading to Rehoboth Beach, Del., for a brief stop followed by a Cape May - Lewes ferry ride to Cape May and thence to nearby Wildwood Crest.

At this point, the weather seems marginal for a seashore beach week -- perhaps it will be sunny Sunday and Monday. It is not going to be particularly warm.

No, not this Jersey Shore.

Yes, there is a sizable element of that Guido culture, but it's more than that. And FWIW, the Guido culture isn't the worst thing in the world. It's a lot better than much of the soul-draining cultural crap that is the staple of Washington, D.C.


More importantly than that, though, it is just a chance to be back in my home state of New Jersey at the Jersey shore where I grew up. OK, I didn't grow up anywhere near South Jersey / Cape May County -- I was in Long Branch and Sea Bright. But it's still a seashore weekend nonetheless and a chance to get the hell out of the D.C. Bubble. (Oh, and as I've mentioned in a previous entry, there are not many folks from D.C. in that area -- the crowd is mostly a New Jersey / Philadelphia one. All the better.)

Barring the presence of a computer with internet access, I will not be updating this blog until I return late Tuesday, and quite possibly Wednesday. While I intend to post pictures I take, I realize I never did have a full, dedicated entry of the pictures I took last year.

A picture of the gentle summer surf of the Atlantic Ocean from Wildwood Crest, N.J., taken just about two years ago to the day.


So possibly not until the middle of next week ...


New Study Reveals Rapid Melting of Portions of Antarctic and Greenlandic Ice Sheets; "... And Then There's (Queen) Maud(e) (Land) ..."

**This entry was posted August 22, 2014.**

Troll Castle Mountain (Trollslottet) in the Filchner Mountains of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica.


Here is an informative article about a new study showing how quickly portions of Greenland and Antarctica are melting, in particular the Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland and the Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica.

The combined melt rates are 500 cubic kilometers (roughly 120 cubic miles) per year.

The BBC news article on this study states that this amount translates into approximately 1-millimeter of global sea level rise per year.

To put that figure in perspective, Earth's oceans contain an estimated 332,500,000 cubic miles of water, so this is adding 120 cubic miles or 0.00003609% of the total volume. In that sense, obviously, it's not that much. HOWEVER, it is also the case that marginal changes can be dramatic in terms of geophysical, biological, and climatic changes. In addition, there is thermal expansion of warming water (which has accounted for about half of the observed sea level rise in the period 1993 - 2003).

The Water Cycle as a schematic cartoon produced by the U.S. Geological Survey. Click on and/or download and open image for larger version.


The actual 21-page journal article from "The Cryosphere" is available for free here. It is a 14.8MB file, though. The abstract is given below.

Before posting, it, though, I realize that no discussion of polar ice cap melting and climate change is complete in America without oceans of willful stupidity, rightwing propaganda, lies, and (to quote the great Paul Krugman) "views differ on shape of Earth" false balance.

I say this because -- to the extent these finds even enter the American mass media / entertainment / carnival - barking machine -- I expect the more sophisticated Teabaggers to note the "anomalous thickening" of the icesheet of Dronning (Queen) Maud Land of East Antarctica as "proof" of "global cooling" while the more ignorant ones think "Maud(e)" refers to the late Bea Arthur and was she an icy lesbian?

Seriously, though, Queen Maud Land is named for the early 20th Century Queen of Norway Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria of Wales -- pictured at left. She was Queen Consort to King of Norway Haakon VII. Those are two awesome names: Maud and Haakon.

Interestingly, Queen Maud was born EXACTLY 100 years to the day before I was: November 26, 1869. She died in 1938 just six days before her 69th birthday.

Anyway, here is the abstract (I've broken up the text with two maps from the article):

"This study focuses on the present-day surface elevation of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Based on 3 years of CryoSat-2 data acquisition we derived new elevation models (DEMs) as well as elevation change maps and volume change estimates for both ice sheets. Here we present the new DEMs and their corresponding error maps.

Elevation changes in Greenland between January 2011 and January 2014 measured by CryoSat-2. The darker sienna / red colors are elevation decreases  -- which implies melting ice sheets or sinking/collapsing glaciers. Bluer colors indicate ice sheet growth. Changes are given in meters per year.


"The accuracy of the derived DEMs for Greenland and Antarctica is similar to those of previous DEMs obtained by satellite- based laser and radar altimeters. Comparisons with ICESat data show that 80 % of the CryoSat-2 DEMs have an uncertainty of less than 3 m ± 15 m. The surface elevation change rates between January 2011 and January 2014 are presented for both ice sheets. We compared our results to elevation change rates obtained from ICESat data covering the time period from 2003 to 2009. The comparison reveals that in West Antarctica the volume loss has increased by a factor of 3.

Elevation changes in Antarctica between January 2011 and January 2014 measured by CryoSat-2. The same color scheme and scale are used as for Greenland.


"It also shows an anomalous thickening in Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica which represents a known large-scale accumulation event. This anomaly partly compensates for the observed increased volume loss of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica. For Greenland we find a volume loss increased by a factor of 2.5 compared to the ICESat period with large negative elevation changes concentrated at the west and southeast coasts. The combined volume change of Greenland and Antarctica for the observation period is estimated to be −503 ± 107 km3 yr−1. Greenland contributes nearly 75 % to the total volume change with −375 ± 24 km3 yr−1."

The Royal Society Range as seen from icy Ross Island on the edge of the Ross Sea and the Ross Ice Shelf in Victoria Land, Antarctica, January 20, 2013 (at the height of the austral summer).

It's butt-plug cold there even in summer.


OK, that concludes this entry. One more VERY quick one to follow as I am running out of time here this early afternoon.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just 3 Years To Go -OR- A Total Mental Eclipse

Today is August 21, 2014. Just three years to go to the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017 -- an event I have been aware of since 1979 when I was 9 years old and living in New Jersey and couldn't fathom it when I added up my age in the impossibly far off year of 2017: 47.

Path of the eclipse of August 21, 2017

Assuming I am around in 3 years and functioning, I intend to be on the coast of South Carolina in the path of totality.


Today is also DD's birthday.

Sorry for a lack of update last night. I intend to post links / excerpts of some Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman recent pieces that I really like along with political commentary that includes my favorite topic of late -- The Washington Consensus and its Very Special Legal Needs Man-Child, Benji Wittes. But all of that takes too long.

In addition, I have begun my very first edition -- Episode #1 -- of "The Wall-P & Me Chronicles"This pilot episode is titled "Wall-P & Me Open a Restaurant." It's divided into four acts plus intermission side/freak show featuring the Hysterical One. They are preliminarily entitled (subject to change):

Act 1: Money Grubbing & Walmart Supplying

Act 2: Let's Fail: Permitting, Licensing, & Health Inspections

Intermission: ROCK ON! The Hysterical One Shrieks a Visits

Act 3: Fury, Fighting, and Firing: Wall-P Loses Money

Act 4: Götterdämmerung: Twilight of a Member of the American Booboisie

As with most of these episodes, it concludes with the police arriving and a ghastly and horrible demise while Wall-P declares matter-of-factly: "Eh. Eh. Eheheh. IsWhatItIs."

Wall-P does so while checking its 26 personal electronic devices to see if a client call came in or some corporate-ass legal brief has been filed or its net worth increased in the last 15 minutes.

I haven't figured out how I come back to life, though, for each subsequent episode. Episode #2 may involve Wall-P, Nag 'Em the Concerned Cheesecake - Eating House Hippo, and GAY me trying to babysit sticky, poopy, little bald babies belonging to Wall-P's Staff-approved "friends," all married-with-children upper middleclass suburbanites. It is tentatively titled "To Catch an Idiot" -or- "FBI Field Day."

However, my scheduled Jersey shore trip is now just 1 day away. I'm looking forward to that. Except for the bathroom issues that define my morning world.

I'll try to update this blog tonight and/or before I leave.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sunday Suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia Rails-to-Trails Tales

A cumulus congestus-with-pileus (or scarf) cloud as seen through a high tension wire tower in the foreground along the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) bicycle trail around mile marker 15 in Fairfax County, Va., 5:47PM August 17, 2014.

These pileus-capped cumulus congestus clouds are often a prelude to cumulonimbus formation. However, on this day, no real thunderstorm activity formed on this afternoon in the D.C. area.


This entry features some pictures from my Sunday afternoon and evening in both Anne Arundel County and later on a lengthy bicycle ride from the Virginia exurban end of the Silver Line back into D.C.

Rol-Park trailer park located in Millersville, Md., 12:21PM August 17, 2014


The giant ellipsoidal water tower located off East West Blvd. in Millersville, Md., l2:26PM August 17, 2014.

Elevated atop a central shaft and series of smaller legs, this sky-blue water tower resembles an alien spaceship. I've featured this water tower in at least three other entries over the past 3-1/2 years including here, here, and here. (It is painted bright sky (cerulean? azure?) blue color, although on this day and in this picture, it isn't obvious.)

Unlike the immediate D.C. area with the Potomac River, the Baltimore area lacks a single large river for its drinking water supply, and instead it relies on a network of reservoirs (e.g., Loch Raven, Prettyboy, Triadelphia, etc.) and a large number of water towers that dot the landscape.


The old Severna Park train depot along the Baltimore & Annapolis (B&A) hiker-biker trail that now houses the Severna Park Model Railroad Club.

The B&A Trail runs for 13.3 miles through northern Anne Arundel County from Glen Burnie to just north of Annapolis. I recall when the trail first opened back in 1990 (and I walked it MANY times in the early 1990s; I biked it far less frequently). It is now part of the East Coast Greenway system that is still under development. The B&A Trail follows the old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad.

The Severna Park and Arnold stretch are quite nice. My mom's little office is located right off the B&A Trail in Severna Park.


My mom, Ray, and I went to Adam's Ribs in Severna Park after stopping briefly by her office. Though she has only worked in that office for less than 3 years, it is located next to the building where she worked for about 27 years (the firm moved next door in 2011 or so). She has been with that firm for just over 30 years.

As an aside, I calculate that the Earth's human population shifted about 5-1/2 billion people -- between births and deaths -- in that 30 year period (roughly 130 million born per year and roughly 57 million dying per year -- add the totals to get the shift). That's an amazing thought. As for my mom, she will probably only be there for another year and a half before retiring.

Anyway, after lunch, I got dropped off at New Carrollton Station and headed home, only to head back out again on my bicycle to the Foggy Bottom Metro and thence onto the Silver Line to its Virginia end for a repeat of a ride I did late last month and discussed in this entry.

The Wiehle - Reston East Metro station platform, Reston, Va., 5:17PM August 17, 2014.

This time, I was able to get to the nearby Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) bike trail more quickly. This trail also is an old freight train line. Oh, yes, in looking at the brand new distance signs along the above-ground Silver Line -- distances are given in feet between stations -- I was able to determine that the 5-1/2 mile (approx. 30,000 foot) distance between Spring Hill and Wiehle - Reston East stations accounts for HALF the entire new portion of the Silver Line beyond where it separates from the Orange Line.


The W&OD trail at Wiehle Avenue, Reston, Va., 5:29PM August 17, 2014.

This was my trail starting point. It is located between mile markers 17 and (heading toward D.C.) 16.5.


The W&OD trail near mile marker 16, Reston / unincorporated Fairfax County, Va., 5:37PM August 17, 2014.

It's a very lovely stretch -- all rolling and bucolic -- out there along the trail and under that high-tension wire pathway. Fairfax County itself is a Northern Virginia exurban nightmare that I couldn't abide.


Flowers growing outside the Whole Foods in Vienna, Va., 6:25PM August 17, 2014. (Are these Black Eyed Susans? For some reason, I didn't think they were when I took the picture.)

As for Whole Foods, I am so not a fan for a variety of reasons including its awful CEO, the lack of practicality as a grocery store, and the mobbed, bus station-like quality of the P Street store here in D.C. However, this Whole Foods in Vienna was much nicer with its various other amenities including what amounts to a dedicated sit-down snack and pizza bar and little beer/beer bar. I stopped for a snack for about 20 minutes before heading back out.


Evening view of the Washington Monument and "monumental core" of Washington, D.C., as seen from the Mount Vernon bike trail on the Virginia side, 7:47PM August 17, 2014.

By this point, I had completed the approximately 16.7 miles of the W&OD trail, another 2.2 miles connecting over to the Mt. Vernon bike trail, and was almost done another 3 miles up the Mt. Vernon bike trail to the Arlington Memorial Bridge or just about 22 miles.

However, I had also biked to 1.5 miles to the Foggy Bottom station from my apartment. In addition, I had another 2 miles to get over the bridge into D.C., around the Lincoln Memorial, and then over to Georgetown, where I locked the bike at the edge of Georgetown Waterfront Park / Washington Harbour area and went to Chadwicks for dinner at the downstairs bar. I then had another 2.5 miles to bike to Larry's Lounge and about 0.5 mile back home -- for a grand total of about 27 miles.

Of note, it is now quickly beginning to get darker earlier and I soon won't be able to do bike rides that start at 5PM on Sunday.


OK, that's all for now. I will try to update this blog tonight after work and the gym.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Singin' In the Rain: An Overview of Last Week's Multiple Extreme Rainfall Events

So before we get too far removed from the weather events of last week, I would like to post a recap of four extreme rainfall events that happened in the U.S. including three on the Eastern Seaboard. These included rainfall events in Detroit (August 11th), the Baltimore / Washington region (August 12th), Long Island (August 13th), and southeastern Maine (August 13th - 14th).

Among the figures of note, Islip, New York officially recorded (at Long Island MacArthur Airport) an astounding 13.51 inches for the day and for the 24-hour period between 11PM Aug. 12th and 11PM Aug. 13th, 13.57 inches -- making for a new 24-hour New York State record rainfall event, while a day earlier (and closer to home for me), Baltimore, Md. (as measured at BWI Airport) recorded officially its second wettest calendar day ever at 6.30 inches.

This entry focuses on the Baltimore / Washington and Long Island ones (in that order). However, I have links to information on the extreme rainfall events in Detroit area and southeastern coastal Maine.

The Detroit rainfall event witnessed 4.57 inches at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (KDTW) on the 11th in what was officially the 2nd greatest calendar-day rainfall ever (behind 4.74 on July 31, 1925) and a 2-day total of 4.85 inches.

Map of southern Maine and New Hampshire rainfall totals for Aug. 13 - 14, 2014.


The coastal Maine rainfall event was centered around Portland where 6.44 inches at Portland International Jetport (KPWM) on the 13th and 14th (virtually all of it fell on the 13th -- 6.43 inches, and which blew away the previous daily record of 2.38 inches). I couldn't find the all-time heaviest rainfall for a calendar day in Portland. (Also, I think Portland's airport must be called "Jetport" to distinguish it from Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon.)

The CWG has a series of blog posts on these events.

For an overview of why the Baltimore / Washington area event happened, see this entry. For information on the Long Island event, see this entry. (The entry gives a preliminary calendar-day figure of 13.26 inches, this amount subsequently increased to 13.51 inches.)

Some of the images in this entry are taken from those CWG entries as well as this comprehensive Wunderground blog entry on these events. For more information on the Detroit event, see also this NWS write-up.


A word on nomenclature: I typically use the term "climate station" to refer to the National Weather Service weather stations because it is at those spots that the "climate" for a spot is determined over a sufficiently long time (30 years).

The Baltimore / Washington August 12th, 2014 extreme rainfall event ...

Doppler radar-estimated rainfall totals for August 12, 2014 for the Baltimore area.

Click on image for larger version with more readable legend.


As I noted in this blog entry, the Baltimore/Washington Metro areas had an extreme rainfall event on Aug. 12th, 2014. As noted, the Baltimore climate station at BWI Airport (KBWI) had 6.30 inches. But areas just east of it centered on Glen Burnie (GLEN BURNIE!) and Pasadena had radar estimated totals ranging as high as 11 inches. The highest recorded figure was in Green Haven in Pasadena with 10.32 inches recorded in a rain gauge.

The Sterling (LWX) county warning area (CWA) advisories map updated at 4:00PM August 12, 2014.


There was also widespread 2 to 5 inches of rain in the D.C. area, although the two climate stations -- National Airport (KDCA) and Dulles Airport (KIAD) -- were at the edge and didn't get nearly as much. KDCA recorded 1.60 inches and KIAD logged 1.13 inches.

So to recap ... (and these figures aren't "official" until NCDC blesses them) ...

BWI Airport (KBWI): 6.30 inches

This was, of course, a daily record -- and it blew past the previous daily record that was quite high, 4.91 inches set in 1955. It was also the 2nd highest ever officially for Baltimore behind only the pre-airport record of 7.62 inches on Aug. 23, 1933. Prior to June 1950, records were kept at the U.S. Custom House in Baltimore.

The full Baltimore official climate record -- like the full Washington, D.C., record goes back to 1871. (In June 1950, the record-keeping was moved to then-Friendship Airport, now Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport.)

Deluge on the tarmac at BWI Airport, August 12, 2014.


Through Aug. 18th, BWI's 2014 yearly total is 37.50 inches -- or +10.97 inches and not too far from the current 30-year baseline annual average of 41.88 inches.

The Sterling LWX climate discussion on August 13th discussed the rarity of such an extreme event. In short, the observed 1-hour total of 2.70 inches between 1654 UTC and 1754 UTC is a once-in-a-50-year event and the 2-hour burst of 4.19 inches from 1554 UTC to 1754 UTC is estimated as a once-in-a-200 year event.

Additionally, the slightly-greater-than-1-hour monsoonal deluge of 3.91 inches from 1629 UTC to 1732 UTC is considered a once-in-a-500 year to once-in-a-1,000 year event.

I'm not sure I quite believe that: 500 to 1,000 years is a VERY long time.

CWG had an entry about that as well.


National Airport (KDCA): 1.60 inches

This wasn't even close to the daily record of 5.44 inches set on the same very wet day in 1955. Official record-keeping at KDCA goes back to about 1945. The airport itself opened in 1941. Prior to that, DC's weather records were kept at various locations including M and 24th NW.

As I've complained about so many times, the KDCA climate station is located at at the edge of the airport (toward the south end / not quite to Hunter Point) at the edge of an expansive tidal river about 2 miles south of downtown.

The KDCA Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) spot -- that is, climate station -- in an aerial view with the Potomac River visible.


KDCA is a very difficult to record extreme snowfall events, extreme high temperatures, and extreme low temperatures, and it's not surprising that, in fact, none of these have been recorded in Washington, D.C., since the records have been kept at National Airport. In short, it's just a lousy spot.

As case in point on the hot temperature side, and as I noted in this entry, back on July 7, 2012, we would have tied the all-time record temp of 106F but it "only" hit 105F at KDCA. In point of fact, it actually reached 106F at KDCA but for just 1 minute and the rule is 3 minutes. More to the point, though, that same 105F reading at Hunter Point was certainly 106F or even 107F at 24th and M Streets NW, but we'll never know.)

By contrast, KBWI is a very good / representative spot for central Maryland (unlike, say, the old U.S. Custom House spot and, to a lesser extent, the Maryland Science Center spot).

The BWI Airport ASOS, which is to say, the KBWI climate station.


Dulles Airport (KIAD): 1.13 inches

There was a tight gradient between KDCA and KIAD with radar estimates showing 4+ inches in parts of Fairfax County but dropping off rapidly to Sterling, Va., and Dulles Airport.

Dulles records go back to 1960 when the airport opened.


The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in composite mode at 1040AM EDT August 12, 2014.


Maryland Science Center (KDMH): 5.42 inches

KDMH does not quite have a full 30-year weather record yet. I think it started around 1987. However, this 5.42 inches was certainly in the top 10 events for the spot. (The Sterling LWX site doesn't have comprehensive info for KDMH.)

As of Aug. 18th, KDMH's yearly total is at 39.42 inches of precipitation, which is within 2 inches of its typical annual average. (Again, KDMH doesn't really have a set annual average although Sterling uses "normal" for it based on its partial record. Based on that, KDMH is running 13.50 inches above normal.)


The Long Island August 13th, 2014 extreme rainfall event ...

Doppler radar-estimated rainfall totals for Long Island for August 13, 2014.

Again, click on the image for a larger version with more readable legend. The pinkish coloring is 12 to 14 inches of rainfall.


There was also an extreme event also in the form of a record-setting deluge in New York on Long Island on Aug. 13th, in particular, in parts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, but with wide variations. Long Island MacArthur Airport ("LIMA") in the Town of Islip in Suffolk County, N.Y., achieved a new all-time New York State 24-hour precipitation record.

Flooded cars on the Sunrise Highway on Long Island in the most torrential of the torrential rainfall on the morning of August 13, 2014.


The LIMA climate station-- denoted KISP -- had a preliminary total of 13.51 inches of rain on Aug. 13th, 2014 which I assume is an all-time extreme event for that location. More noteworthy, though, for the 24-hour period between 11PM Aug. 12th and 11PM Aug. 13th, KISP received 13.57 inches, which is a new 24-hour precipitation record for the entire State of New York, surpassing the 11.60 inches recorded at Tannersville, N.Y., on Aug. 27 - 28, 2011 during Hurricane / Tropical Storm Irene.

A flooded portion of the Sunrise Highway on Long Island after the August 13, 2014 deluge.


The 13.57 inches was also KISP's 2-day total since 0.06 fell on August 12th.

A chart of the KISP 1-minute interval cumulative rainfall total between 12AM and 12PM August 13, 2014.


Other 2-day totals for Aug. 12th and 13th ranged from 0.59 inches at Newark International Airport (KEWR) to 0.72 inches at Central Park (KNYC) to 0.92 inches at LaGuardia International Airport (KLGA) to 3.26 inches at JFK International Airport (KJFK). JFK Airport was at the edge of the really heavy rainfall.

Selected rainfall totals for different locations as shown on channel 7 WABC in New York during a weather segment, August 13, 2014. The Jersey shore area got a 3 to 4 inch dousing as well (as shown by the Asbury Park High School total).


As noted (and shown in the above radar estimated precipitation totals), there was as tight precipitation gradient across and Nassau County with amounts ranging (as of a 129PM Aug. 14th report that I can't find any longer) from 0.98 inches at Malverne to 8.20 inches in Massapequa. There was also a gradient across Suffolk County from the aforementioned 13.57 inches at KISP to less than 2 inches in Upton and Stony Brook to a scant 0.14 inches near Montauk Point.

Observed U.S. trends in heavy precipitation events from the 1900s to the early 2010s. This appeared in the 2014 National Climate Assessment.


Oh, and as a concluding thought, yes, the frequency of heavy rainfall events is increasing in the U.S. as a result of human-induced climate change. Share the above bar chart with (to borrow a phrase from the late blogger Bartcop) ya' nearest Teabagger.

OK, that's all for now.