Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Waters of March, Washington, D.C., Weekend Style (Part 2) -OR- "You Only Live Twice"

UPDATED 4:00PM 3/25/2012: See weather related story link (below).

A cluster of Yoshino Japanese cherry blossom trees at floral peak at sunset, 6:57PM, March 22, 2012. This cluster grows between the Washington Monument and the Ellipse.

Here is another view of the same cluster of Yoshino cherry blossoms near the Ellipse, Washington, D.C., 6:57PM, March 22, 2012. The old Asian lady seated at the bench had a young baby with her.

As it is, I simply never made it over to the Tidal Basin this year to see the famed ones that ring it. It's too much of a pain in the ass to go there -- and as it is, I prefer going there late at night, as it is a far more sublime experience.

I walked home from work on Thursday and took some of the pictures posted in this entry. Here are some other pictures I took on that walk ...

The Washington Monument as seen from behind a cluster of small cherry blossom trees on the National Mall on an unseasonably warm early spring day, 6:54PM, March 22, 2012. I walked home from work, transiting the National Mall.


The Washington Monument soaring into the early evening blue sky on an unseasonably warm early spring day, 6:47PM, March 22, 2012. Yes, the Monument is still closed / under repairs from the August 23, 2012 earthquake.


This is a picture of one of the "Marine One" helicopters that ferry the President of the United States -- usually to or from Camp David or Andrews Air Force Base (the latter to / from Air Force One).

Two helicopters had already landed about 10 minutes earlier and just one took off, so I am assuming that President Obama was not on this one. The way it typically works when he is ferried back to the White House on Marine One is that are at least a pair and sometimes a trio of helicopters that fly up / down the Potomac, and the one carrying the President tears off at the last second, veering over to the White House South Lawn. It always attracts much tourist attention. 

As I've written before, when you live in the Capital of the Roman American Empire, as do I, you sometimes see the Emperor being whisked by in his Bubble.

The Presidential Motorcade rushing along Connecticut Avenue past California Street NW last year, March 16, 2011. I think Pres. Obama was actually in there. 


Under a cherry tree in floral bloom right at Logan Circle and P Street NW, Washington, D.C., 7:29PM, March 22, 2012.

I walked over to the bar No. 9, where I had a few drinks.


Today is a (relatively) cool, overcast, drizzly and misty day with intermittent showers. I have an extensive weather discussion below.

To readers of my blog, the now-familiar view from 5th floor my apartment (kitchen window, screen removed) looking at the intersection of 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., 6:34PM, March 24, 2012.


However, I first just want to relate a few items ...

I'm home this late afternoon / early evening writing this blog entry and listening to the RCN Channel 891 "easy listening" music channel -- right now Mantovani's Orchestra playing his signature cascading strings version of "You Only Live Twice."

I was once shocked to discover a couple of years ago that my close friend Quill's brother plays on rare occasions in The Mantovani Orchestra as it exists today (decades after Mantovani himself died --32 years as of this coming Thursday). Apparently, this music is now popular in China.


First, I was not as productive at work as I need to be. The two tasks I do pull me in very different directions and I cannot easily segue from one to the other. As it is, my likely ADHD doesn't help matters.

In this case, a school district in Oregon is waiting on me to finish a report so that its grant money isn't bollixed up by a two-year old compliance issue.


Yours truly and Flippo, my plush hippo, in my apt, 10:29PM, March 23, 2012.


Secondly, I really need to post a full entry at some point to relate the sheer number of friends and acquaintances that I have lost in the past 2 years. In many of these cases, it was I who more or less initiated it, possibly by virtue of my personality. To quote my late paternal Italian American New Jersey grandfather:


A scanned picture I've posted before showing my grandparents and (wild) looking dad and myself, then 2 years old, in Long Branch, N.J., on July 2, 1972 (at least that's the date written on the back of the actual photo) at some long-forgotten event (probably at the VFW). 

You got that right, grandpa. Of course, as grandma used to say, you were a "bitch animal" to your family while putting on silly airs around everyone else ("a show off," she said). 

Last known picture of my grandparents together, Long Branch, N.J. On the back of the picture is written 1985, but it may have been late 1986 or even 1987. 


Suffice it to say, about half a dozen people are on that list ...

... perhaps most notably, dreadful little know-it-all Wall-P (plus his June bride-to-be) with his corporate sycophancy masquerading as Profound Success, facilitated by money-obsessed, crudely deterministic, atheistic, and libertarian values.

Then there's "H.G." with the shrieking and extreme passive aggressiveness and accompanying bizarre behaviors (this could be a topic for its own entry).

Others include E., J., and Little Miss Globe-Trotting Five Star Hotels and Self-Absorption. Oh, and I told Roger enough with his non-responsiveness -- I don't appreciate that and he can contact me if he wants to but I'm not going to contact him. I've had enough of that from others.

More recently and annoyingly is another one for whom I'm very glad his suburban Maryland life has turned out so American Dream wonderful, even while maintaining all those Old World connections in a particularly tight-knit subculture community of religious / ethnic association.

But please don't call me once every 6 to 9 months -- when you have a spare 5 minutes and the thought of me happens to pop into your head -- with some cloying and annoying attitude and expect me to leap for joy or do a show monkey routine for your humor.

I'm frickin' alone and almost certainly always will be. 

My life is profoundly different from yours and our paths don't cross any longer. So do me a favor and remember me as I was back in the mid-1990s in graduate school and just forget about me now.

Another image of yours truly and Flippo the plush hippo, 10:40PM, March 23, 2012. Yes, it is very dark in my dusty cubbyhole of an apartment, lost somewhere in Washington, D.C., early 21st Century. 


Then there is another friend who is soon to be a father. I think I can pretty much forget him being around for the next 18 years, end of story.

I never did get along with any members of the D.C. 17th Street Gay Mafia, including Mr. Sirius, but that situation was always in a separate category. As for Oooza the Unloved Crow Creature, this isn't the kind of human you should want to get along with anyway. Indeed, if you got along with him, that says something rather bad about you. As for C/H, I have nothing left to say on this topic. 

The part I don't like is the extent to which my general reputation is that of an outright crazy person and the slanderous things that have been said about me -- esp. by Mr. Sirius. The issue here is the extent to which the Cobalt staff socialize with the staff of the places I go.

Yours truly with Flippo and Harvey -- another plush hippo, 10:49PM, March 23, 2012.


Having said all that, let me just add that I get it: I'm the one with the problem, not the rest of the world. And it's up to me to figure out how to deal with it. I just hate being trapped in D.C. as I am due to life circumstances.

I don't want to grow old alone in Washington, D.C., which is very much what will happen because eventually I will lose all my current friends including Gary and Kristof. It's bound to happen.

Elephant & Castle, 12th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C., 5:01PM, March 23, 2012.

D. and I left work early -- as did pretty much everyone else in Washington yesterday -- and stopped for a beer at the Elephant & Castle on Pennsylvania Avenue. D. stopped for one before heading back up to Rockville and his family life there, and I walked home (second day in a row).


Now having said all that, I will add that I've made at least three friends in my current work situation and I actually find that this job unexpectedly has opened up a whole new social vista (plus the professional one).

Oh, and I should mention that I have actually reconnected with two very different friends from my New Jersey childhood and/or teenage summer years -- Chris and Jon.

OK, that's enough of that.


McPherson Square (crawling with homeless people and bums screaming profanity and peeing) in downtown Washington, D.C., on an exceptionally warm spring day in an exceptionally warm month -- the trees blooming 2 to 4 weeks ahead of schedule -- at 5:42PM, March 23, 2012. 

This brings me to my weather discussion below.


Weather Update

The initialized 18UTC (2PM EDT) NAM 24 March 2012 model showing 1000mb - 500mb thicknesses and surface pressure. I cannot find an actual weather map on the NWS site showing this plot, so I have to use the initialized NAM or GFS model runs -- which effectively shows the current parameters in question.


The initialized 18UTC (2PM EDT) NAM 24 March 2012 model showing 500mb vorticity. It is the same idea as above in terms of using the initialized plot as a current map. 


That sprawling, massive upper level low I've been talking about over the past week finally lolled across the United States and reached the Eastern Seaboard, but the actual trajectory of it has been deflected to the east southeast so that the center -- presently over middle Tennessee -- is actually going to drift toward the South Carolina coast. The reason for this, I suspect, is that the massive ridge in the western Atlantic that brought the record warm weather over so much of the eastern half of the Lower 48, simply hasn't broken down / given away enough (see 1000mb - 500mb thicknesses image above).

At present, there is an extension / lobe of this western Atlantic summer-like Bermuda high feature located off the New England coast, which in turn connects to yet another high over Hudson Bay.

Here is a portion of the HPC/NWS high-resolution surface plot valid 21UTC (5PM EDT) 24 March 2012 issued at 2248 UTC (648PM EDT) 24 March 2012 centered on the mid-Atlantic region.


A boundary has set up across the mid-Atlantic between the New England high and Tennessee River valley upper level low. North and east of this boundary, there is an onshore flow that is creating the drizzly, cool conditions over the region today including here in the immediate D.C. Metro area.

Weather advisories in the NWS Eastern Region, value 5:42PM EDT, March 24, 2012.

Meanwhile, in the humid, unstable air mass over southern Virginia and the North Carolina Piedmont region, severe t-storm and tornado watches are in effect.

Overall rainfall amounts in the D.C. area have been unimpressive -- under 0.1" today -- although BWI had a thunderstorm this morning that dropped 0.52".

The Lower 48 U.S. radar mosaic (composite mode), valid 2048UTC (4:48PM EDT) 24 March 2012.


March Summer Madness: Abnormal Warmth -- Summary

For the first 23 days of the month, the following temperature departures / incredible anomalies have been observed at the three regional civilian airport climate stations:

Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA): +12.1F at 57.5F

Baltimore / Washington Int'l Airport (BWI): +12.2F at 54.5F

Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD): +12.0F at 54.8F

The DCA and IAD figures -- if the month ended now -- would be record warm Marches. In the case of DCA, the warmest March was in 1945 at 56.2F or +9.4F above the full monthly average of 46.8F. (Source data here.)

In the case of IAD, where records only go back to Jan. 1963, this March is far and away the warmest on record. The nearest I could find was 49.5F set just two years ago in 2010. (Source data here.)

In the case of BWI, the 54.5F is third -- behind the 55.7F in 1945 and 54.6F in 1921.

HOWEVER, both of these other records are pre-BWI Baltimore records when the weather recording station was in much warmer downtown Baltimore (at the U.S. Custom House, I believe, which is pictured above).

In the approx. 55 years since the weather station was moved to the much cooler, then-rural, now-suburban then Friendship / now BWI Airport (circa 1955) -- see image above of the actual ASOS spot -- only ONE year ever had a March average that reached the 50F mark (50.0F in 1977). (Source data here.)

As it is, we still have another seven days to go and it is going to be somewhat cooler (but still mostly above normal) next week and these anomalies will shrink, but I think IAD has a good shot of having its warmest March on record.

Screenshot of NWS forecast panel and text forecast for NW Washington, D.C., valid 24 - 31 March 2012.


Astonishing Marquette, Michigan Temperature Record

There is one other record I have to point out ... It occurred this past Wednesday, March 21, 2012, in Marquette, Michigan where there is an official NWS weather / climate recording station.

The high that day was 81F, which beat the previous record high of 49F set in 1990 by 32F and was 45F above the daily normal of 36F. In addition, the low temperature for the day of 52F surpassed the PREVIOUS DAILY RECORD HIGH by 3F.

That's outright freakish.

I've never observed an anomaly of that magnitude. Records are typically broken by 1 to 2F, maybe 4F to 6F in an extreme case, not by 32F -- and by a margin large enough that the daily minimum breaks the previous record high.

Hmmm ... She's a healthy girl skiing in her halter top at Sugarbush Resort in Vermont this past week.

Oh, and for any fundamentalists -- of the Flat Earth Know Nothing uniquely stupidly American-style -- who might come across this entry in the years to come ...

Yes, let's say it: global warming is likely involved, or rather, altered atmospheric patterns with more extremes as a result of anthropogenic forcing of the climate system due to all the greenhouse gases being emitted.

Anyway, that aside, for the month so far, Marquette is averaging +17.9F above normal at 40.6F, which I would guess is the warmest March on record, although the NWS office there does not have monthly temp. records on its website the way Sterling LWX NWS does.

UPDATED 4:00PM 3/25/2012

I wanted to note two things ... First, regarding Marquette, it is true that it's climate record only goes back to 1961, so it is akin to Dulles / IAD in having a much shorter historical record than, say, Baltimore or Boston. Still, the records I noted are astonishing. And they were joined by similar extremes in Chicago, which has a record back to 1871.

March 1 - 23, 2012 temperature anomalies across the Lower 48 United States. The legend / scale used resulted in a rapid loss of color to just brown.

Secondly, and directly related to the above point, here is an online news article that notes there were over 6,000 weather records set in the United States between March 1 and 23, 2012 -- nearly all of them high temperature records. Indeed, the high to low record ratio was 24 to 1. The low-resolution map above showing temp. anomalies across the Lower 48 is taken from that article.


That's (finally) about all for now. It is almost Saturday night. I plan to go out tonight -- walk about by myself, stopping in different places on a broad circuit including Dupont Circle and/or Adams Morgan (weekend nighttime urban bacchanalian shit show that it is), maybe down to Penn Quarter, possibly ending up at Nellie's.

Just wanted to end with a peaceful image ...

... the lightly roiled surf (probably the Atlantic Ocean).


My next planned update will be between Monday and Wednesday night.


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