Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday Evening Post for February 2nd, 2019: On the Polar Vortex; That Weather-Predicting Fat Rodent in Pennsylvania; and Some Late Night TV Viewing -OR- The Giant Flawed Claw

**This entry was posted February 2nd, 2019.**

Dupont Circle on a bright, blustery winter day, Washington, D.C., 2:35 p.m. Jan 20, 2019

This picture and three others below were taken two weeks ago (Sunday, Jan 20th).


Saturday night.

It's a still, chilly night (around freezing outside) but the big "polar vortex" outbreak (episode?) is over.

About that, the coldest temps reached in our area included the following on the morning of Jan 31st:


The -2F at KIAD was not a daily record -- that was -7F in 1965. The last time KIAD was below 0F was on Jan 7, 2018 (-1F).

As for KDCA, you go back decades for its last time at or below 0F.

There may have been a below zero reading at KDCA in Jan 1994 -- I'm unsure of that -- and prior to that, in Jan 1985 (when daily record lows were set). Those occurred right at the time of Reagan's second inaugural).

As for the Friday snow, it amounted to the following with seasonal totals in parentheses:

KDCA: 0.9" (13.8")
KBWI: 1.1" (10.6")
KIAD: 0.9" (19.4")

The fact that yesterday's snowfall was so uniform areawide is a testament to the fact that it was so uniformly cold -- air temps only around 22F.

KDCA needs to get another 1.6" to tie its annual average snowfall of 15.4" but that's only a maybe. To begin with, it gets harder to get snow here by mid February.

What's more, the KDCA average is skewed by some outlier snowy years.

While it was frigid here, it was much worse in the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. The overall death toll was at least 20, at quite likely higher than that including the sad story of a 20-year old University of Iowa student named Michael Belz.

At its coldest, Chicago (KORD) officially got down to minus 23F air temperature.

While lethally cold, this was well above the all-time coldest temp ever recorded officially in Chicago -- the minus 27F on Jan 20, 1985 (the day of Reagan's second inaugural.

However, KORD spent 54 hours at or below 0F (air temp) starting at 6 pm CST Jan 29th and ending at midnight Feb 1st. There were also wind chills to minus 40F. Again, lethally frigid.

However, a dramatic warmup has begun in those areas that experienced the coldest temps with readings near 50F in Chicago (and near 70F in St. Louis) on Monday. Even here, temps are forecasted to be about 60F on Tuesday before cooling down.

Today is Groundhog Day, and I suppose I should make a remark or two:

Yes, an overweight rodent pulled out of its hole -- or rather, a box it's put in for the occasion -- by a bunch of tuxedo-clad middle-aged men at the ass-crack of dawn in some rural Pennsylvania hamlet has TOTAL FORECASTING PREDICTIVE POWER on the hemispheric pattern for the next six weeks.


Changing subjects …

I'm home watching the MeTV Saturday Night Super Sci-Fi lineup.

The Wonder Woman episode was "Time Bomb" -- and guest starred Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford.

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie was the 1957 film The Giant Claw (more on that below).

Lost in Space featured the episode "Rocket to Earth" while Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is "Buck's Duel to the Death" (uh, oh …)

At midnight, Battlestar Galactica has been replaced by Star Trek: The Original Series (with the amped up special effects). The episode is "The Man Trap."

Thereafter, MeTV's Super Sci-Fi Saturday night segues smoothly into the Sunday Sci-Fi Red-Eye line up beginning with Kolchak: The Night Stalker ("Legacy of Terror").

This is followed by Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("The Menfish") -- again, I don't particularly like this series -- and Land of the Giants ("Manhunt").

About the Svengoolie-hosted movie The Giant Claw, it would have been passably decent for its period genre except for the generally-acknowledged preposterous-looking extraterrestrial bird monster, to wit

A preposterous-looking giant bird from outer space terrorizes the earth and lays an egg on Quebec. Flown by visible wires, the winged horror is able to avoid detection by the use of a radar-resistant shield. But the critter can't put one over on scientists Morrow, Corday, and Ankrum (an old pro after EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCER and KRONOS), who send the bird to the bottom of the sea.

One of the more comic moments is when the bird picks up a train in its beak and flies off with it -- a cute analogy to a worm.

Corday does a fine job standing around and looking sexy, especially since she was Playboy's Miss October in 1958. The "special" effects are laughable.

The Corday here refers to one-time Playboy model and actress Mara Corday (pictured left), who played Sally Caldwell. She is still alive (age 89). Morrow refers to Jeff Morrow, who plays Mitch MacAfee.

And Ankrum is Morris Ankrum, who played Lieutenant General Edward Considine. Ankrum was also in nearly two dozen Perry Mason episodes as the murder trial judge.


Winter bare tree, 1700 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:27 p.m. Jan 20, 2019


As a brief update, last night after work, I met Fred and Doug and their friend Brian, in town from Boston, at Annie's. We had a really fun time. I got home and stayed in -- mostly just spending time on a Washington Post comment board. I got to bed by 3:30 a.m., and stayed in bed for nearly 12 hours (though I got up a few times).

Dazzling mid-winter sunshine, 1600 block New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:30 p.m. Jan 20, 2019


I went to the gym around 5 p.m. and got in a good workout. (And there was an unusual number of attractive guys there.) I'm in for the night. I need to make some dinner and do my laundry. For tomorrow, I'm going to try to get up at an early hour (for me) -- maybe around 11 a.m. -- and head over to Georgetown for lunch and some drinks.

Q Street and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:33 p.m. Jan 20, 2019


My next planned entry will be late Monday or early Tuesday. However, I have to note that I have A LOT of work-related tasks to finish in the coming weeks. Additionally, I'm kinda blogged out for the time being. It just takes too long to compose and ready these entries. That being the case, my entries may be a bit less frequent in the coming weeks.

The 2000 block of N Street NW from New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 2:51 p.m. Jan 20, 2019


OK, that's all for now. Jukebox Saturday Night entry to follow momentarily …


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