Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Black Mail, Peaches in Heavy Exploding Syrup, & Possible Coastal Storm

UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: That exploding can was likely due to botulism. Also see climate information.

A lovely rainy day, which I really hope we get on Sunday to make a dent in the drought.

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OK, this is was supposed to be a very quick update but it didn't turn out that way as I want to go out this Friday night, although I am not sure what to do.

J. called me to meet him at Larry's Lounge, but I was there on Tuesday and Thursday and tonight I sort of wanted to wander around -- down to the Old Ebbitt Grill and thence to No. 9 and thence to Nellie's before stumbling home.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am meeting Quill at my place and we will go to lunch or early dinner, then later I am supposed to meet Damon and we are going to go out -- probably in Adams Morgan (Millie & Al's, at least initially).


I just finished my laundry, which I tend to do on Friday evenings since the laundry room tends to be mostly vacant at that time.

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Black-Mail-in-the-Box ...

Yes, the Black Mailbox (which apparently is no longer black) along Nevada SR 375 outside the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) and its Area 51/Groom Lake, Nellis Air Force Base, a.k.a. UFO / Alien Visitation Central.

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It was an OK work week, but upon arrival home this evening I was greeted -- as these things always happen on Friday at 5:01PM, so to speak -- with bad news that I have to resolve on Monday.

The Federal agency for which I am a contractor sent me a letter, or rather its security operation sent it, stating it could not verify my time at the Univ. of Maryland, College Park from Jan. 2005 - May 2009. This is the time when I was in the School of Public Policy and earning my Masters of Public Policy (MPP), my third Masters from UMCP (the first one in meteorology was a questionable idea and the second one in journalism was just stupid) plus an undergraduate degree. It was awarded in May 2009.

I've already sent an e-mail to the relevant parties with an unofficial transcript in PDF form with the relevant section highlighted attached.

My plan is to go to the security office in person on Monday with my actual four degrees along with a more formal looking copy of my transcripts that I have, except it only goes to Fall 2008.

Here Flippo, my plush hippo looks over my degrees, transcript, and the nasty letter I got in my dimly lit apartment, 9:12PM, April 20, 2012.

What a good little hippo ... the Plush-a-Potta-Most-Us.

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I may have to trek up to UMCP early next week (I would do it on Tuesday) for an official transcript copy, which now costs $8 per copy (after the free first one). I knew it was just a matter of time before that UMCP operation started charging for that.

UMCP Memorial Chapel and campus grounds, 1:48PM, Feb. 27, 2011. I think this may be the last picture I took of the campus.

As it is, I hate College Park / UMCP now -- the $220,000 (and rising) / 15 year detour of my life and really not one good memory.

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A Coastal Storm ...?

Turning to the weather, both the GFS and NAM show a rather intriguing and drought-ending -- or at least drought-denting coastal storm late tomorrow into Monday. In particular, a cold front stalls along the East Coast with a rapidly intensifying coastal low that goes negative tilt and stalls / retrogrades over New England.

The 18Z (UTC) 20 April 2012 GFS showing 6 hour precip., mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 850mb (Celsius) temperatures valid at hour 72 (18Z 23 April 2012) showing the U.S. East Coast.

The current forecast would give us at least 1 and hopefully 2 inches of rain.

The position of the 850mb line in the 18Z GFS suggests thicknesses cold enough for snow even here, except the boundary layer is probably much too warm.

Here is the 18Z 20 April 2012 NAM focused on the U.S. East Coast and showing the same parameters -- 6 hour precip., mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 850mb (Celsius) temperatures -- but valid at hour 60 (06Z 23 April 2012).

This model run has the storm intensifying more rapidly and slightly farther to the west. In this interval, it is about 80 miles SSW of the position of the low in the 18Z GFS -- and a full 12 hours earlier.  It is also a much warmer solution with the 0C 850mb temp well to the west.

Here is the same 18Z 20 April 2012 NAM model with the same parameters but 18 hours later at 0Z 24 April 2012 (8PM EDT April 23, 2012).  The low has gotten somewhat deeper and at this point is just about totally vertically stacked.

In this chart, the 850mb 0C isotherm has plunged hundreds of miles to the south and east. This scenario would give us a strong northwesterly wind and a cold rain -- turning to snow across Pennsylvania and the Piedmont. Western NewYork would get a howling snowstorm.

Here is the 500mb vorticity map at the same time as the image directly above (0Z 24 April 2012). That is quite a powerful low over the Northeast that has stalled / gone vertically stacked and will gradually start weakening.

This would mean that the mid-Atlantic would have had an October (Halloween) AND a late April nor'easter with heavy rainfall to snow.

Well, we shall see what happens. After all, what the weather models give, the weather models take away.

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UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: We had a slug of moderate to heavy rainfall move through a short while ago and tomorrow's coastal storm is still very much on. I wanted to note this element from the Sterling (LWX) NWS area forecast discussion issued at 8:48PM tonight (prior to adding tonight's rainfall).

.CLIMATE...
REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH RAIN ULTIMATELY FALLS THIS WEEKEND...IT IS BADLY NEEDED AND GREATLY WELCOMED. AT DCA...THE CURRENT Y-T-D RAIN TOTAL OF 5.75 INCHES IS ONLY 0.20 INCH HIGHER THAN THE LOWEST EVER RECORDED AT THIS POINT IN THE YEAR /5.55 IN 1977/. 6.94 INCHES AT BWI IS THE FOURTH DRIEST AT THIS POINT IN THE YEAR.

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UK Drought

Of note, parts of the British Isles have apparently been in a prolonged drought with precipitation far below normal in England but above normal in Scotland.

Here is a map showing percent normal precipitation (1961 - 1990 average) from Nov. 2010 through Feb. 2012 over the United Kingdom.

This was on the Capital Weather Gang site tonight (see here) but the direct link to the UK Met Office article is here.

The write-up likens the drought to the 1975 - 1976 drought in the British Isles, although that one was simultaneouly more extensive and more severe but shorter lived.

Here is another map showing UK percent of normal precipitation -- using the 1961 - 1990 thirty-year average -- from May 1975 - August 1976. That drought also afflicted Belgium.

My mom and Ray were already there at that time. I was there from Jan. 1976 - March 1976 but she sent me back to New Jersey to my dad and grandparents as I was not adjusting well.

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Heavy Syrup That Goes Boom in the Night

Lastly, I now know what that explosion I heard a few nights ago in my apt. that scared the hell out of me but that I couldn't figure out what it was and eventually gave up.

My discovery took place in the kitchen about two hours ago over the sink. There was a nasty brown streak coming down from the rickety kitchen cabinet. Then I saw a pool of sticky brownness on the counter top.

I opened the cabinet and instead were nasty black lumps -- it was sort of like a horror film. And the (few) other cans, box of spaghetti, and bottle of olive oil and vinegar were sort of coated on their bottoms with the same ooze. Sorta like a trail left by Oooza the Unloved Crow Creature.

And then I saw the can ... A VERY OLD can of Del Monte sliced peaches in heavy syrup had somehow exploded open and toppled over. (There was a whole All in the Family skit about this item involving Edith damaging a parked car with her shopping cart.) The can itself was badly warped.

Short of a(n evil) spirit or an alien life form in my kitchen cabinet, I can only assume that heat from the nearby oven must have accumulated up there when I cooked dinner and the can's contents -- in particular the heavy syrup -- just exploded.

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UPDATED 9:00PM 4/21/2012: Quill informed me earlier today that such an exploding can is likely due to botulism with the actual rupture due to gas from the building bacteria. Yikes. Although I touched the stuff, I wiped it all out with a bleach-coated sponge and washed my hands. I think I would know by now if I contracted it.

Rego Park: Sitcom Crescents

Totally changing topics, I wanted to write an entry about Rego Park, Queens in New York City.

Google map aerial view of Rego Park, Queens. The series of concentric semi-circular ("crescent") streets really intrigues me.

Here is a close-up of the Google aerial image of those semi-circular streets. Asquith Crescent is the innermost one.

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So why am I interested?

Because not only is that where the TV show The King of Queens -- which I watch on TV Land regularly now -- was supposed to be set, but so was a gentle sitcom from 20+ years ago with Judd Hirsch called Dear John.

AND! (Speaking of All in the Family)

The house that is featured in the opening montage of All in the Family at 89-70 Cooper Avenue -- pictured at left as it looks now (or at least a few years ago) and which I mentioned in this entry -- is actually in Rego Park, or at least near it. (It is located at the far lower left in the map above at the southeastern corner of the (St. John's) cemetery.)

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

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