Saturday, March 21, 2020

Saturday Evening Post for March 21st, 2020: Tidal Blossoms In a Time of Trouble Plus KNAK Joins Sterling's Daily Weather Knack (Updated)

**Updated 2:18 a.m. 3/25/2020: See below**

A particularly fluffy peak blossomy Yoshino cherry tree near the Kutz Bridge, Washington, D.C.,
5:56 p.m. March 21, 2020

The pictures in this entry are from my walk earlier today to and around the Tidal Basin to the Yoshino "Japanese" cherry trees at their blossomy peak. Alas, it was quite an overcast day, draining much of the color out of things, but there isn't anything I can do about it, so those are the pictures I posted. I'm not captioning all of them.

Two ladies by one of the Yoshino cherry trees near the Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C., 5:02 p.m. March 21, 2020


Of note, the National Park Service considered yesterday, March 20th, as the date that "peak blossoms" was reached this year. Per this CWG entry, this makes it the earliest since 2012, which also occurred on March 20th, and the third earliest on record, tied with 2012 and behind only March 17, 2000 (second earliest) and March 15, 1990 (earliest).

It was also 11 days ahead of the current 30-year average of March 31st and about two weeks ahead of the longer term (1921 - 2019) average of April 3rd. Source of info here.

I'm home -- where else would I be during this coronavirus pandemic with so many things closed? -- watching the MeTV Saturday night / wee hours Sunday lineup of sci-fi themed shows including, as I write this, the Star Trek: TOS episode "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" It's a rather curious episode in that original Star Trek way.

Earlier today, as mentioned above and suggested by all the images so far, I took a late afternoon / early evening walk down and around the Tidal Basin to see the blossom-peaking Yoshino cherry trees and then grocery shopping at the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods. There were a decent number of people down there -- both driving and walking -- and I had pleasant enough time on my solo jaunt.

This is the Japanese Pagoda, not to be confused with the Japanese Lantern.


While down there, I called Chris in Atlanta and we had a 90 minute conversation -- mostly while I was seated under some of the Yoshinos near the Jefferson Memorial, which is still under extensive renovation as part of the removal of the biofilm plaque that had grown to cover the dome. Of course, the renovation will take, like, six years. Meanwhile, in China, they build a whole damn city in just under a month.

Of note, I noticed today at the Dupont Circle CVS and the Whole Foods that toilet paper and paper towels are now available but often limited to "2 units" per trip -- and this has made me appreciative that our basic systems to include supply chains are working ... and appreciative of the people who are working in grocery stores and, well, everywhere in essential operations during this time.

I don't want to go off on a tangent on this right now, but American society is presently quickly being remade in ways that will be more profound than the 9/11 terror attacks -- and, at this point, I'm going to be hopeful that the changes are more for the better than the worse precisely given the nature of the "enemy" (a virus rather than human "tribal" differences).

Yes, I could be wrong, but let's leave it at that for now. (There is already much commentary on this in the media.)

Changing subjects ...

As the above pictures of my Tidal Basin walk show, it was an overcast gray afternoon with a high temperature of 56°F, although most of the late afternoon it was around 52°F. This followed Friday's record and near-record warmth that included the following:

83°F at KDCA, which tied the daily record set in 1945 (just a few months before National Airport became the official weather station for D.C.).

80°F at KIAD, easily surpassing the 77°F daily record set in 1976.

83°F at KBWI, which was 2°F shy of the pre-airport record of 85°F set in 1945.

Month-to-date through March 20th, all three spots are (as ever) well above normal:

KDCA +8.1°F at 53.0°F
KBWI +8.9°F at 50.7°F
KIAD +7.9°F at 50.2°F

This continues the what had been an exceptionally warm 2019 - 2020 climatological winter. About that, it was the second warmest climatological winter on record in the Northern Hemisphere.

Global surface air temperature anomaly for Dec 2019 - Feb 2020 with respect to 1981 - 2010 base period


I should note that Sterling (LWX) corrected its 2019 - 2020 climo winter data that I discussed in this entry (which I need to update). This followed an email exchange with two individuals there.

Of note, LWX is now issuing daily text products to include daily and monthly climate summaries for Annapolis, specifically, as measured on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy and abbreviated KNAK, although I can't find a definitive picture of it.

The summaries started on March 12th, although KNAK as a weather observation station has been up and running since at least 2003. The KNAK station is now the eighth in Sterling's county warning area and joins KDCA, KBWI, KIAD, as well as the Inner Harbor / Maryland Science Center (KDMH), Charlottesville (KCHO), Martinsburg (KMRB), and Hagerstown (KHGR).

Updated 2:18 a.m. 3/25/2020

So, thanks to an initially unrelated email exchange with one of the Sterling (LWX) people, I discovered that the KNAK ASOS is located at the corner of Forrest Sherman Field on the grounds of the Naval Academy -- within a few hundred feet from the Naval Academy Bridge.

Here are two Google aerial images:

Google aerial view of the U.S. Naval Academy with the location of KNAK ASOS shown in the yellow circle.

Google aerial view extreme closeup of above image showing KNAK ASOS at the corner of Forrest Meadow Field.

End of update


Only KDMH and KNAK are not located at airports. I mention this because I am also unsure if that has any meaning for whether they are, strictly, speaking, Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) spots or otherwise categorized.

Oh, yes, so far, KDMH has not gone offline as the result of a construction project. Apparently, the project was delayed. My worry is that once it goes offline, it will never go back online.

OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry. For tomorrow, my plan is to go to Fred & Doug's place for our weekly Sunday night dinner party soiree, which is taking on more importance during this period.

Jukebox Saturday Night entry to follow shortly ...


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