Saturday, August 22, 2009

Summer Tropical Storms (and South Jersey Pictures)

A Saturday afternoon update ...

I still need to post my New Jersey beach pictures from earlier this week -- such as this one of the sand dunes at the edge of the expansive beach in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey from last Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2009. Some of these images are posted in the second section of this entry, but in no particular order.

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Part I: The Weather

So it looks like we may get a deluge of rain this afternoon. We're actually under a flash flood watch for the entire Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas. (There is a difference, I believe, between a "flood watch" and a "flash flood watch.")


There is a meso-low moving up from southern Virginia ahead of a cold front -- part of the same shortwave that will be kicking Hurricane Bill (presently even with D.C.'s latitude) rapidly out to sea and only affecting the U.S. East Coast this weekend with high and dangerous surf.

Here is the water vapor satellite image of the U.S. East Coast taken at 1915Z (3:15PM EDT), Aug. 22, 2009 showing Hurricane Bill passing offshore by about 400 miles even as a weather system with cold front and associated low pressure area moves across the Eastern Seaboard.

It's a bit unusual (I think) to have a hurricane passing so close to the East Coast and a meso-low with tropical downpours over the mid-Atlantic. Usually, a well organized hurricane like this (Bill is a strong category 2 with max sustained winds presently of 100 mph) creates a subsidence zone around it so that it is just clear, sunny, breezy, and hot in the mid-Atlantic while the shortwave (with surface cold front) that INVARIABLY is going to kick the tropical system on a rapid right angle turn far out to sea passes through dry.

I guess I should happy.

Above is an image of the current LWX "county warning area" (CWA) for the Baltimore / Washington NWS area, a.k.a. "Sterling" (since the office is located in Sterling, Virginia), a.k.a. "LWX", which refers to its three-letter abbreviation. Also included are parts of other NWS forecast office CWAs, including Wakefield, Virginia (AKQ), which covers the Tidewater area.

There are a few errors in this: the not-listed pink area is actually a severe thunderstorm watch and the dark red in lower King and Queen County, Virginia is a flash flood warning, not a tropical storm warning.

Here is the current NWS national map of the U.S. valid at 3:36PM EDT, Aug. 22, 2009 showing all the warnings and advisories in effect in the United States. Note in the legend how similar the tropical storm warnings and flash flood warnings are.

The NWS sometimes uses very similar colors for multiple purposes and their system seems to get confused. Also, when a given area is in more than one warning, the "more serious" one is given prominence, so much of that severe t-storm watch area is also in the flash flood watch, but the former is shown rather than the latter.

Here is the 2:49PM EDT, Aug. 22, 2009 Sterling (LWX) base mode reflectivity radar image shows the precipitation moving toward the D.C. area.

Here is the 2:49PM EDT, Aug. 22, 2009 Wakefield (AKQ) composite mode reflectivity radar image. That's quite impressive. (Composite mode shows what's happening inside the cloud while base mode is showing what is falling from it.)

On a related topic, all my admittedly strange fuming about how the D.C. area has gotten nothing lately -- at least officially in that stupid rain bucket at National Airport (DCA) -- has been somewhat incorrect. To begin with, DCA managed to pick up 0.38" of precip. in the 24 hour period ending at 1PM today, mostly from a 0.25" t-storm this morning at the 4AM hour.

DCA officially had only 0.10" yesterday and through midnight is actually running 1.29" below for the month with only 1.02" having fallen. For the year, it's at 25.22" or almost exactly normal (+0.09").

Trouble is, it doesn't feel that way ... esp. since nearly everything in the last month or so has somehow managed to miss DCA, including that 3 to 5 inch deluge on parts of the District of Columbia on July 23, 2009.

I've never experienced a year with so much rain that has managed to "officially" miss that damn rain bucket at DCA, which is located in a far corner of the field next to the river in a really stupid and unrepresentative spot for rain, temperature, and (when it does happen) snow.

Above is an aerial Google image map of Reagan Washington National Airport. I have drawn in and marked where the weather recording station is located.

For contrast, while DCA had 0.38" in that 24 hour period, an unofficial spotter report in Arlington County (at the eastern edge of which geographically is where DCA is located) received 1.37" in the past 24 hours.

By contrast, Dulles Airport (IAD) has had 1.81", with 1.28" yesterday, bringing its monthly total through midnight to 1.69" (-0.81") and its yearly total to 30.34" or +3.39" above normal. The IAD 3-day hourly observations give a grand total of 2.79", but that is apparently incorrect.

Speaking of IAD weather observation issues, it has also had problems lately with its thermometer. More generally, the quality control being applied to the climatology records by the LWX folks for the Baltimore / Washington area has been crummy in recent years.

As for BWI, it reported 1.12", with 1.04" falling yesterday, bringing the monthly total (through midnight) to 2.56" for the month (+0.04") and 30.65" for the year, or +3.54" above normal.

The anti-weather magicians at Sterling LWX put out this public information statement for today (the link will be active only for a short period of time before it is replaced by the next statement).

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A distant cumulonimbus clouds looms up in the summer sky well behind the old Cole Field House on the Univ. of Maryland, College Park campus, shortly after 3PM, Aug. 18, 2009

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Part II: Life and Debt Update with Cape May - Wildwood Pictures

This second part of my entry includes some scattered and randomly placed images of my New Jersey beach trip from earlier this week. It is topically unrelated to the entry.

A small drawbridge with a tollbooth between Cape May and Wildwood Crest, 1:17PM EDT, Aug. 17, 2009. This bridge runs over the Cape May Canal that basically makes all of Cape May an island. The old rust bucket of a ship visible through the bridge guard rail was called the Flicka.

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As for other stuff, I'm still being hounded by creditors (although I never answer their calls) and cannot do anything unless I declare a chapter 13 bankruptcy, which -- ironically -- I cannot afford to do at this time.

My Sunshine Buddies, who along with my plush stuffed animals such as Flippo, keep me company in my wee apt.

I would prefer a chapter 7 bankruptcy, but I have to wait literally until Aug. 28, 2010 to do that because there is an arbitrary pro-Bush, pro-Ebola virus deadly-like credit card company 8 year rule in effect designed.

I'm sure a lot of ignorant Americans will be whipped up into a frenzy at stupid town hall brawls by Fox News and the likes of professional propagandists such as Betsy McCaughey in order to protect their "right" to be destroyed by corporate fascist interests, too.

It's not just on health care -- an issue on which Obama really needs to get it together and stop listening to fucking Cokie Roberts and The Washington Post Editorial Board. Still another topic on which corporate interests, in this case, Big Oil, are getting the booboisie and working class worked up into an uninformed lather is on climate change.

Taken all together, it is powerful proof of Marx's old adage about the underclass being "bribed tools of reactionary intrigue."

Boy, America is dumb country. Maybe every country is, I dunno. Maybe this fear and desire to maintain a status quo is what keeps countries inherently stable.

What have I done to help bring about positive change?

NOTHING. And that's exactly how it is going to remain.


As for Pres. Obama, read this Paul Krugman New York Times column from the other day. It basically sums it all up.

Wait, where was I?

Oh, yes, while I have not been sued yet, I may not be able to stave off judgments against me. The big fear would be wage garnishments or checking account liens. The former is highly problematic since I am a contractor and (according to the lawyer I spoke to) therefore I could have 100 percent seized, not 25 percent, and I'd have no money at all ("And I'm proud to be an American / Where at least I know I'm free ...").

Stewart's Root Beer stand on the boardwalk, Wildwood, N.J., 6:55PM, Aug. 17, 2009.

I owe a grand total of about $13,500 to four collection agencies and Macy's. I've "settled" with one of them and made interim arrangements with another for a total of $135 a month -- which I can ill afford. The other two collection agencies are suspiciously quiet, but in due time, they'll pounce. Then there's Macy's, which is (I hope) much farther back along the process, though it may run more quickly with them since they probably have in-house collection goon squads.

Henry's on the Beach, Cape May, N.J., Aug. 18, 2009

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In point of fact, I actually only ran up about half that $13,500 with all of it going for food and clothing and (once) rent back in 2006. The rest is just the usual American corporate and middlemen money grabs wrapped up in the flag.

Cape May Miniature Golf & Cocomoe's Premium Ice Cream Parlor -- housed in the fanciful looking building above -- 11:20AM, Aug. 18, 2009, Cape May, N.J.

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Once I get out of this, I will -- to paraphrase Queen Elizabeth II upon her ascension to the British Imperial Throne -- my whole life, whether it be long or short, NEVER have another shitbag credit card.

As for my contracting job, it has picked up and I'm about three-quarters of the way (for September into October) being able to pay my rent, other bills, and still live.

I guess I'm living the way GOD wants: always on the precipice of catastrophe. Now exactly when does my very special episode of Touched By An Angel begin??

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Finally, as for looking for gainful employment, it's all the usual shit with no call backs. Everything I send out by email in terms of applications goes into an electronic black hole. I am going to send a hard copy of my resume and cover letter to the boss of the hiring official at this one consulting company here in D.C., not because I think that will help me get the job (it will probably have the opposite effect), but I'm just pissed off that the bastard ignored both my email and a voice mail request to let me know if he received my files. Fuck him.

That's the key point: I DON'T EVEN GET TO THE INTERVIEW process.

That's how it works today. You don't actually interview unless the place is serious about hiring you.

Cape May Marina and parking lot with a very New Jersey looking bright blue car (I'm assuming that's a Mustang but I'm terrible at identifying car makes and models), 1:42PM EDT, Aug. 18, 2009.

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What may be hurting me, ironically, are all those damn degrees and the dates I have attached to them. I am going to omit at least one of my three masters degrees henceforth and remove the dates I received them, since that is showing up the fact that I'm now nearly 40.

Cape May, N.J., beach, 1:26PM EDT, Aug. 18, 2009. LP was looking for pier that he remembered from a long ago childhood visit and another one when he was in his 20s, but we couldn't find it and no one seemed to know much about it.

Also, in one of New Jersey's more unusual characteristics (along with no self-service gasoline), you have to pay to go on most beaches, even municipal ones, typically $5 a day, although you can get season passes. I think this is somehow related to the fact that in New Jersey, one can own private property on the beach, up to the mean high tide mark. At least that is how I've always understood it. While Wildwood does not have such a charge, Cape May does.

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LP taking in the summer evening beachside carnival atmosphere of the boardwalk and pier, Wildwood, N.J., 7:00PM, Aug. 17, 2009.

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Returning to my D.C. lament ... More generally, Washington, D.C. as a place that one would live and work in and "build a life" hits up hard against the reality that it is a shitty, mean, power-obsessed city. For every struggling person such as me, there is 1,000 or 5,000 others in a similar position, except many area younger and/or better connected and/or better "qualified" due to this or that experience or, in some cases, physical attribute that is nowadays desired.

One of these days, I'll relate the Dec. 2005 - Jan. 2006 catastrophe when I tried to apply for a NOAA / NCEP position and how that unintentionally cost me a friendship.

The scary mechanical Satan atop the Dante's Dungeon ride on the Wildwood (Morey's) pier, 7:03PM, Aug. 17, 2009, Wildwood, N.J.

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The famous Marquis de Lafayette hotel, 11:27AM, Aug. 18, 2009, Cape May, N.J. I think the original sprawling Victorian structure was razed and replaced with this one back in the 1950s.

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OK, I think that's about all for now. My next planned update won't be until probably Tuesday or Wednesday of next week (Aug. 25 or 26).

It's beginning to rain. Good.

The Lost in Washington, D.C., view from my apartment a short time ago, 3:06PM EDT, Aug. 22, 2009

--Regulus

P.S. I'm posting this at 4:15PM and it's deluging outside with thunder and lightning.

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