Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Ride on the Nighttime Arctic Air Express While Radiating Hopeful and Starry Thoughts

Stopping by -- or rather, walking through -- snow-covered Franklin Square, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM Jan. 6, 2015.

I took this picture last night as I was walking from Metro Center to Teak Wood (see below) via Thomas Circle.

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For starters, it's is a frickin' cold night ...

Temperatures at the 11PM hour already down to 10F at KIAD and 12F at KBWI and even 16F at KDCA. There is also a gusty northwesterly wind of about 15MPH / gusts to nearly 30MPH under mostly clear skies. As a result of the wind, the wind chill at KDCA is 2F and -7F at KIAD.

Given how cold it is, I think it's time to repost this very useful informational graphic on how the human body responds to extremely cold temperatures ...

I realize it is very hard to read, and clicking on it won't really enlarge it. Instead, simply download it and then open it in Paint or some such application and you should get the large file.

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There is a wind chill advisory for the entire extended Metro Washington and Metro Baltimore areas, the entire mid-Atlantic region, and for that matter, the entire eastern half of the Lower 48 United States except in South Florida as the following two images show ...

The current Sterling LWX NWS webpage advisories map as of 11:29PM EDT January 7, 2015.

Note the legend for the advisories. To be clear, there can be multiple advisories but only the most serious one shows up as the color shading for that county, county-equivalent, or (in the Western U.S.) specific weather zone. It's too bad in this case because the freezing spray advisory on the lower Chesapeake Bay doesn't show up because of the gale warning.

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The current NWS main webpage advisory map for the entire United States, valid 0519UTC (12:19AM EST) January 8, 2015.

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As the above map shows, across the Deep South, there are widespread hard freeze warnings (presumably because Obama wants to confiscate all guns at folks' nearest Super-Walmart and mega-church).

To be clear, the hard freeze warning is really an Obama / Democrat(ic) Party conspiracy to fool the GOP Elect about "global warming" and ruin their new and now-eternal Senate and House super-duper-expanded double and triple majorities. Obama, for his part, can't wait to fold and the Washington Consensus is pleased that "the grown ups" are in charge now.


Fred Hiatt and his Washington Consensus are all tingly all over. Mother Marcus is especially pleased a the prospect of a "non-crazy" Republican juggernaut and the Great and Mysterious M.J. McAteer is remembering fondly her WaHoPo "gatekeeping" days (before bloggers ruined it all).

Anyway, as noted above, there is a freezing spray advisory on the lower portions of the always and forever dirty and unhealthy Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point, Virginia southward. Again, as noted, it doesn't show up on the NWS advisory map because there is also a gale warning in effect in those areas and that takes "precedence" in the color-coded scheme.

Serious freezing spray on the old icebreaker USS Glacier in the Ross Sea off Antarctica, March 1956.

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To be clear, this kind of advisory is not the same as the heavy-duty freezing spray warnings that are regularly issued for the U.S. portions of the Bering and Chukchi Seas and Arctic Ocean.

The Fairbanks NWS (PAFG) main webpage advisories for the northern two-thirds of Alaska as of about midnight EST January 8, 2015 (there is no time-stamp on the image or page).

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Earlier today, there were scattered snow showers even right here in the District with an occasionally dramatic-looking sky of ever-so-slightly convective-looking stratocumulus clouds. The snow that fell yesterday has become quite powdery -- that is, where it hasn't solidified on the surface into solid ice -- and was blowing around wildly and off rooftops in the higher gusts.

Snowy sidewalk of the 1300 block of U Street NW Washington, D.C., 10:01AM January 6, 2015.

This pedestrian high-traffic sidewalk didn't stay snowy for long.

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There was also a reinforcing Arctic front sagged southward across Pennsylvania into New York State and New England with a nearly perfect "arc" of snow squalls moving with it. However, that front sort of washed out in the general Arctic air flow.

The northeastern quadrant of the U.S. high-resolution surface weather map valid at 18Z (1PM EST) Jan. 7, 2015.

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The northeastern U.S. (NECONUS) composite radar mosaic at 1928UTC (2:28PM EST) Jan. 7, 2015.

The thin arc of precipitation -- in the form of snow squalls -- from near Erie, Pa., to northern New Jersey and up to New Hampshire and far western Maine traces out basically perfectly the position of the front. (This is about 90 minutes later than the surface map analysis.)

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There is a 1050-mb Arctic high parked over southeastern Kansas at this time.

All the cold temperatures are causing a torrent of Republican Know Nothing tweets about "Where's your global warming now?!? Ahehehehe" or some such idiotic horseshit that we have to deal with every time there is a cold spell. The clueless is off-the-charts.

There is scant mention of the polar vortex this go around, though.

Oh, yes, I actually turned on the old radiator in my apartment for the first time this winter season, and it is hissing to heated life there in the corner of my little efficiency. More importantly and so far, it is not spewing a fine mist of scalding water from the little valve on the side like it did once. The building maintenance man -- who is excellent -- put in a new knob last year (I can't recall when) to regulate the thing better but the steam pressure to the radiator was set too high and had to be dialed back.

Another image of snow-covered Franklin Square, Washington, D.C., 5:55PM January 6, 2015.

There was about 2 to 3 inches of snow in the District proper with about 2 inches in the downtown area. However, everything that fell stuck, which is usually not the case. The three main airport climate stations had 2.4 inches (KDCA), 2.3 inches (KBWI), and 4.2 inches (KIAD).

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This should be the coldest night of the current Arctic outbreak. The next chance of any precipitation isn't until next week and the long-range forecast simply has as chance of rain and snow.

Observed snowfall for the January 6, 2015 event across the region. Click on / download the map for a larger version.

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Changing topics, I went to the gym tonight and got in a mostly good workout including the almost 6-1/2 mile treadmill jog and swimming. My weightlifting part was a bit lacking. I only did about 30 minutes rather than the ideal 60 minutes of light-to-moderate mostly (but not entirely) machine-based weightlifting.

I also feel much better than I did this morning. Last night's three-part (Teak Wood, Number 9, and Larry's Lounge) outing really left me torn up this morning, not to mention having resulted in my burning through a significant amount of money (far above my planned daily expenditures). I suffered with a bad headache until just after lunchtime, helped in part by the lunch I had.

However, I'm just getting too old to do stuff like that.

Speaking of old ...

This is a group photo taken at ChurchKey last Friday night (Jan. 2, 2015) here in Washington, D.C. It includes a number of my now-former co-workers plus two of us still at the company. (Yours truly is in the back.) The group photo also includes a boyfriend (who quite seemed to enjoy talking to me) of one of my former female co-workers and his hockey teammate and friend.

I had a nice time there -- even if ChurchKey is way overpriced -- but I am the oldest person in that picture by anywhere from as little as 8 to as much as 20+ years.

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Oh, yes, when we were there yesterday, Chris H. explained that Teak Wood is located in what used to be the "gym" of the Crew Club. While the "club" itself still exists, the "gym" part was sold off or rented out to make the lovely Thai / sushi restaurant that it is now.

Work has been actually good so far this week -- even if I am behind on an assignment for Andrea -- as I've been brought onboard on two internal company activities including press release writing (which required me to sign a no-insider-trading agreement).

True, this is non-billable work but it's still work. As for work from the Federal client, I'm not sure if / when / how that is coming given some internal issues (although, honestly, my main stream of work from that office that I had been doing for nearly 4 years had pretty much ended anyway).

Oh, yes, I'm actually being given a company smartphone if only to facilitate press release writing work. It is being sent in from Colorado even as we speak. This will be my second smartphone after the disaster I had with the one I purchased last January (and that I quickly returned and instead ordered yet another flip-open cellphone -- you can find that story in my January 2014 entries).

This one is free for me and it isn't Verizon with its sky-high prices. I also won't have the data-downloading issue (although I have since been "schooled" (I hate that term) on how to avoid that issue by using Wi-Fi rather than having it in a particular data downloading mode).

I'll keep my flip-open phone and Verizon carrier, however, and simply have two phones.

A picture of the Grand Canyon after an accumulating snowfall as seen from the South Rim on January 1, 2015. This picture was taken by a National Park Service employee (Michael Quinn) and (re)posted on a recent CWG entry (but I'm too tired to look it up now).

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As I mentioned in the update to my previous entry, I had an hour-long very good conversation with my dad a short while ago, and based on what he said, I am now much more optimistic that he and Shannon will not be living together again.

He spoke to the prosecutor in Bunnell, Florida right after I did this morning -- something he did not know -- and he said that she was surprisingly sympathetic toward Shannon (who is now out of jail and staying with an acquaintance) in terms of getting her some mental health services. That plus probation is a far better outcome than having her languish in jail. (The only issue is that the judge has to rule on this matter and she does have quite the previous record).

Perhaps in some small way what I said also helped. That's because I was clear that I didn't think having her serve some lengthy jail term -- for this particular episode of "battery on an elderly person" -- would be of any use given what is the real issue.

Also, contrary to what I thought, the prosecutor stated that it didn't make any difference whether she pursued it in that manner or as a domestic violence case in terms of obligations on my dad not to contact her. "We don't punish the victim," she said.

Again, though, based on what my dad said about not having her live with him again -- and not just because she is presently banned from the Flagler by the Sea trailer park -- I am much more optimistic on all of this working out than I was the other day. By working out, I mean first and foremost that Shannon no longer lives with my father. Secondly, I mean that she gets the mental help she needs.

Oh, and I also was able to look up for him MSRPs (from last January) for various Taylor guitars and made him feel better that he got a good deal on the series 114e that he recently purchased.

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OK, that's all for now. I'm still backed up on at least three topical entries that I want to post, one of which I will briefly mention in this entry. That one involves the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) ...

A fascinating image made showing a comparison of the relative sky sizes of Earth's Moon and the Andromeda (M31) Galaxy if the latter were far, far brighter (instead of the barely visible smudge that it is even in the darkest of skies).

Image source / explanation here.

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The entries include the second batch of (snowless Christmas time) Buffalo trip pictures; the 2014 precipitation and temperature stats for the main regional climate stations (KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD, as well as KDMH); and a new one involving a stunning and incredibly high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image of the Andromeda Galaxy that allows -- contrary to what I thought possible -- astronomers to see individual ordinary stars in that particular "island universe."

A portion of an incredibly high-resolution series of HST images of the Andromeda Galaxy that shows what are actually INDIVIDUAL STARS in that 2 million light year distant galaxy.

This was pointed out courtesy Phil Plait in the above-linked article. He explains the oddly granular appearance of them.

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OK, that really is all for now. I think at this point, my next update won't be until Friday night or Saturday.

--Regulus

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