Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wet Like Me, Snowy Like H-3, and Hot Like Bea

Rainy "soft city" night looking south along 17th Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 3:27AM, Dec. 12, 2010.

I had gone Cobalt earlier -- where I actually had quite a nice time -- and walked home. However, I had NO food in the house and had to walk back down 17th Street to the only place open, McDonald's ...

Well, Annie's was open, but I wasn't going to go there.

Earlier in the day, I had dinner at Dupont Italian Kitchen with Quill, who came into the city.


Rainy wee hours on 16th Street NW looking toward S Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 2:37AM, Dec. 12, 2010.

This was the view about an hour earlier as I was walking home from Cobalt.


The view from my 5th floor apt. looking toward the west / northwest on a gloomy, wet day in Washington, D.C., 4:10PM, Dec. 12, 2010.


Today is a rainy, very gloomy day here in Washington, D.C., and I've done almost nothing except to sleep until 1PM -- and then go back to bed for another two hours.

The family ... some of you may recognize plush hippos Flippo, Harvey, and Aurora.


The rain is from strong frontal system sweeps through, although there was also a weak coastal low that brought initial rainfall yesterday. While the two-day rainfall amounts have not been tremendous -- in the 1/2" to 3/4" range -- it is still quite wet and very gloomy. Now it IS mid-December and we are in the shortest days of the year with the lowest Sun angle. Thus, maybe it isn't that surprising. Temps are around 43F as the cold air has yet to arrive.

The Sterling (LWX) NWS radar, enhanced base reflectivity mode, 4:03PM EST, Dec. 12, 2010.


The precip. totals through 5PM are listed below (I started this entry shortly before 430PM so they are not out just yet).

The Northeastern U.S. radar mosaic image, composite mode, 1258UTC (3:58PM EST), Dec. 12, 2010.


This is part of the same storm system that brought a blizzard to the Upper Midwest -- with 15 to 20 inches of snow falling on the Minneapolis - St. Paul area, including 17.1" recorded at the airport (MSP). The snowfall caused the approx. 10-acre roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Metrodome to collapse early Sunday morning (after the storm had ended).

The collapsed / deflated roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minn., Dec. 12, 2010.

Here is a link to a series of photos on the Minneapolis Star Tribune Website showing the collapsed / deflated roof of the Metrodome.

I've also embedded a stunning YouTube image of the actual collapse caught by cameras inside the domed arena when no one was there. It looks like a disaster movie with great special effects, -- only it's real.

Now with YouTube clips, invariably they are removed for copyright violations, so I'm sure that will happen with the above one.

Apparently, the Metrodome roof has deflated / collapsed before due to heavy snowfall on a number of occasions, though this one was unarguably rather dramatic.

Here is a map showing the storm totals.

I once read this book Uncovering the Dome by then-journalist / now U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar on the 10-year policy and political machinations that it took to build the dome.

It was for a policy class I took -- but when I was in journalism grad school, not subsequently in public policy grad school, but after I was in meteorology grad school ...

If I could only do that all over again -- I'd just get a physics undergraduate degree and then go straight away into public policy grad school.

Anyway, speaking of the Minneapolis - St. Paul area and snow:

Here is an undated picture I found showing a soft snowy view from a yard in Shorelake, Minn., in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. The Moon is peering through the low overcast that for its part has that wan lavender - orange glow from nearby street streets. This image is from the Lynn K. Hansen Website.

I have a certain affection for the MSP / Twin Cities area, even though I've only actually been there once way back in 1986, but I'll discuss that in another entry.


A portion of the U.S. surface weather map showing the mid-Atlantic, Ohio river valley, and Upper Midwest, 1800UTC (1PM EST), Dec. 12, 2010.


Updated: Area precipitation totals through 5PM EST today (Dec. 12, 2010)

Today: 0.61"
2-day storm total (so far): 0.66"
Month to date (MTD): 1.44" +0.27"
Year to date (YTD): 34.44" -3.03"
2009 YTD: 43.15"

Today: 0.65"
2-day storm total (so far): 0.74"
MTD: 1.55" +0.29"
YTD: 43.06" +3.21"
2009 YTD: 51.19"

Today: 0.45"
2-day storm total (so far): 0.52"
MTD: 1.26" +0.06"
YTD: 38.89" -1.04"
2009 YTD: 45.13"

Note the difference between BWI 2009 YTD (51.19") and DCA 2010 YTD (34.44") is 16.75" -- about an average of 4-1/2 months' worth of precip.


Continuing with the weather theme ...

Joe S. sent me a link to Hydro-Logic, specifically, the Dec. 10, 2010 entry Why It Never Seems to Rain on Weather Forecasters.

This was the lead image for that entry.

This entry links to a fascinating 2005 study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) seemingly whimsically entitled:

Do Meteorologists Suppress Thunderstorms?

Long story short, meteorologists and hard-core fans of the weather -- especially exciting weather, including Yours Truly, as some my regular readers / friends know -- often complain that they live in a "weather hole" whereby storms seem to miss them.

The authors used 6 years of the NOWrad radar* images of the WSR-88D radars used by the National Weather Service for 1996 - 2000 and 2002, to explore statistically the question of whether convective systems (thunderstorms) miss certain areas disproportionately, in particular, 28 "targets" in the Lower 48 U.S. where there is a high concentration of meteorologists and weather enthusiasts.

The authors compared their storm frequency to 50 randomly chosen spots in the Lower 48 U.S.

Map of the 28 targets and 50 randomly selected spots.

As you can see, the D.C. area (DCA) was among the 28 spots. What with both NWS and NOAA headquarters here -- not to mention a Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Md./Northern Virginia CSA population of 8.2 million -- there are lots of meteorologists and weather enthusiasts here.

Here is a map of t-storm frequency of the U.S. for the period covered. Interestingly, this map CONFIRMS a suspicion I have long had that New Jersey and New York get more t-storms that the D.C./Baltimore area. Older atlases of t-storm frequency do not show this.


Long story short, there was only one weather "hole" (Grand Forks, N.D.) and one weather "hot spot" (Tallahassee) -- this is the opposite of a hole. Therefore, statistically, they concluded that over the long term there really are no weather holes or hot spots.

Except DCA and snow. But that's because the snowboard they use also doubles as a hot plate. Just sayin' ...

*The NWS radar program is called NEXRAD and the resulting composite / mosaic images are called NOWrad, as explained in this discussion.


New topic ...

Bea Arthur was Truck-Driving Marine During World War II!

Source / full story here.

Though she always curiously denied it, the late Bea Arthur was in the Marines Women's Reserve for a 30-month stint between 1943 and 1945.

Records show that then - Bernice Frankel wanted to be in aviation but instead she drove a truck among other duties.

Bea Arthur, of course, is best known for her roles on Maude as Maude Findlay and The Golden Girls as Dorothy Zbornak.

Here is her Marines picture.

I saw her in person once at the Warner Theatre in 2002 here in D.C. -- along with about 100 other gay men in the larger audience -- and she said she was 5'9" "in stocking feet", but here you can see that to the top of her hair she was more like 6'0".

She would have been 20 years old in these photos assuming it is early 1943 before May 22nd (her birthday).

As for her military career, her subsequent surname Arthur is a slightly altered spelling of her earlier name Aurthur, which came from her first husband, Marine Private Robert Alan Aurthur, whom she married in 1944 while in the service. Aurthur later became a screenwriter, director and producer.

On her personality appraisal sheet, the recruiter wrote down of her she was "argumentative" and "over aggressive" but also "fluent" with "excellent vocabulary."

The recruiter concluded: "Officious -- but probably a good worker -- if she has her own way!"

Finally, on her
handwritten application letter, she said she had "dabbled in musics and dramatics."

Here is a JPEG image of that letter.


She had one misconduct report in Aug. 1944 as a result of a venereal disease that left her "incapacitated for duty" for five weeks while she was stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina. Perhaps this is why she did not want to talk about her time in the Marines -- who knows what actually happened and it so doesn't matter.

Find out all of this, I just have to post this image, which I would LOVE to get as a t-shirt.

Thank you, Kevin, for drawing my attention to this story!


OK, I think that's all for now. I'm not sure how this week will proceed. I need to make big progress on a detailed list of U.S. solar PV cell manufacturers.

I also have jury duty on Wednesday here in D.C. -- I have to be there at frickin' 8AM. I'm sure it'll be the usual bullshit and hopefully I'll be back in my office by 1030AM. Finally, our office holiday party is on Friday.

My next planned update will be mid-to-late week.



DJG said...

The Metrodome collapse is crazy. They moved the Vikings-Giants football game to tomorrow night in Detroit because of that.

Regulus said...

Jesus, DJC, that was fast. I wasn't even done formatting this entry -- and I got all screwed up with the JPEGs showing Bea Arthur's military records. It should also be formatted properly now.

Yes, it was stunning the collapse. Watch the YouTube video if you haven't already.