Thursday, May 7, 2020

This Cool, Showery Spring With Impending Out-of-Season Polar Vortex Visit; Dark Thoughts From a Pretty But Lifeless City In a Troubled Time; Rooftop Imperial Capital Evening View

Constitution Gardens near east end of the Reflecting Pool, Washington, D.C., 2:01 p.m., May 4, 2020

This entry contains a series of outdoor pictures that I took on several different weekday walks from my apartment to my office at L'Enfant Plaza -- both last week and this week. The first set were taken on Monday on an exceptionally nice spring day with pleasant temperature, sunlight, clean and clear sky, and refreshing breeze.


Nice spring day, corner of 21st and N Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:26 p.m., May 4, 2020


This is another disjointed entry that started out as a weather-related one and for which I had no intention to expand it into anything political / COVID-19-related. In the end, the entry metastasized, as it usually does, into a multi-topical one with 32 images including about two dozen that I took.

Starting with the weather... The chilly, wet pattern of the past few weeks this spring -- following our functionally non-existent winter -- continues and it about to reach a sort of climatic climax with an out-of-season visit of the polar vortex as it undergoes its seasonal breakdown.

General Jose de San Martin Memorial, 20th St and Virginia Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 1:48 p.m.,
May 4, 2020


This gloomy morning featured cool, misty and/or showery weather followed by variably cloudy conditions with peeks of sunshine.Rainfall totals between 6 p.m. last night and 6 p.m. tonight were in the 1/4" to 1/2" range to include 0.25" at KDCA, 0.33" at KDMH, 0.37" at KBWI, and 0.53" at KIAD. (KNAK recorded 0.18" but it's numbers seem out-of-sync with the other spots.)

Below is one of my periodic updates on regional precipitation stats.

For the record, the current monthly (May 1st - 6th), spring seasonal (March 1st - May 6th), and year-to-date (Jan 1st - May 6th) precipitation totals along with departures from the 1981 - 2010 base period averages are given below for the usual set of regional NWS ASOS climate stations including the three main airports.

May 1-6: 1.36" or +0.65" (0.71")
Season: 9.97" or +2.72" (7.25")
Year: 15.97" or +3.29" (12.68")

May 1-6: 0.87" or +0.18" (0.69")
Season: 9.44" or +1.66" (7.78")
Year: 15.53" or +1.80" (13.73")

May 1-6: 1.41" or +0.62" (0.79")
Season: 8.96" or +1.32" (7.64")
Year: 15.53" or +2.47" (13.06")

Yes, KBWI and KIAD year-to-date totals are identical.

May 1-6: 0.71" or +0.09" (0.62")
Season: 9.74" or +2.04" (7.70")
Year: 15.67" or +2.45" (13.22")

KDMH's first first full year period begins in 1999.

May 1-6: 0.79" or +0.18" (0.61")
Season: 7.67" or N/A
Year: 11.24" or N/A

Note: The 2020 season-to-date and year-to-date averages and departures given on the LWX climate webpage are incorrect and/or incomplete.

Highs only reached 55°F to 60°F -- well below normal for this time of year -- to include 58°F at KDCA, 57°F at KIAD, 53°F at KBWI, and 52°F at both KNAK and KDMH.

Unusually cold weather -- for May -- is forecasted for Saturday (May 9th) and Sunday (May 10th) with downtown Washington, D.C., highs of 52°F and 63°F, respectively, with Saturday and Sunday morning lows of 35°F and 38°F.

Daily record lows for the two days are 34°F and 35°F, both set in 1947 (early airport period). The all-time lowest temp for May in D.C. (KDCA) is 33F set May 11, 1906 (pre-airport period).

For Baltimore (KBWI), it's 32°F set also on May 11th but in 1967 (already in the airport period). For Dulles (KIAD), it's 28°F set May 7, 1970 (obviously, it has no "pre-airport" period).

Widespread frost advisories and freeze warnings are anticipated just west of the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas into the Blue Ridge, Shenandoah, and across the Allegheny Front.

The United Church + Die Vereinigte Kirche (yes, that's its joint name), G and 20th Streets NW, Washington, D.C.,
1:43 p.m., May 4, 2020


The reason for the impending and, these days very unusual, much-colder-than-normal weather is because a lobe of the springtime-dissipating polar vortex swings across the northeastern quadrant of the United States to include the D.C. area between Friday and Monday.

Below are two relevant CWG entries on the impending coldish springtime weather -- and, yes, as is usually the case, both somewhat overstate the case (links embedded):

First entry: Record lows, frost, and even snow: D.C. area could see it all between Friday night and Mother’s Day

More to the point: Polar vortex to unleash winterlike cold across eastern half of nation, with snow in the Northeast.

As the first CWG entry notes, the record low high (min max) for May 9th is also 52°F set way back in the early climate period -- long before National Airport existed -- in 1877. It will easily be the coolest May day in 12 years.

What's more, as the entry notes, the last time D.C. had a high temp of 52°F or cooler in the month of May was 2008, and prior to that, it was was in 1963. Directly below is a relevant image.

Frequency of 52°F or lower high temperature days at KDCA for the period 1945 - 2020 (corresponds to the airport record period for Washington, D.C.)

In the current globally warmed / warming epoch with KDCA as the climate station, Washington, D.C., seldom hits record lows of any sort.


Here is one additional image from the first CWG entry:

ECMWF ("Euro") 0Z 06 May 2020 850-mb temperature anomalies for a portion of the eastern United States valid hour 90 / 18Z 09 May 2020, as prettied up by Pivotal Weather for the Washington Post


The second entry explains how a lobe of the seasonally-dissipating polar vortex is breaking off and bringing the unseasonably chilly weather that includes even the possibility of wet snow in certain New England and Appalachian locales. Below are two images from that entry.

ECMWF ("Euro") 0Z 06 May 2020 500-mb height anomalies (in dekameters) for North America valid hour 72 / 00Z 09 May 2020, as prettied up by Pivotal Weather for the Washington Post


Euro 6Z 06 May 2020 2-meter temperature anomalies [in °F] for North America valid hour 78 / 12Z 09 May 2020, as prettied up by


Now in case you aren't aware, in the present era in the United States, the term "polar vortex" is a trigger word for the climate science, indeed, all-science-denying Trumpanzee crowd -- i.e., the Talk Radio / Fox News / Breitbart set -- and these Rethugs go bat-shit crazy, or maybe I should say, the ape-shit-flinging crazy. (Oh, just fyi, "Trumpanzee" and "Rethug" are both banned terms in the Washington Post's commment section.)

OK, for this rest of this entry, I just want to post a few thoughts about the current situation.

The city remains in its grotesque shutdown -- and there is certainly a growing attitude among the WOKE class to include pretty much anyone working in a CVS that things should remain this way until the End of Time.

For her part, the Mayor is beside herself that the Governors of Maryland and Virginia are considering easing certain things as part of an initial phase of reopening without her concurrence. That's because Madam Mayor Muriel in her ULTRA COVID-19 WOKENESS to include controlling everything, and she can't get enough of the current situation.

The bottom line is that there's a certain segment of the population -- and, yes, it's tied up in our intractable cultural wars shit, and I say that as someone who loathes Trump and the GOP -- is only too happy to remain in this situation basically forever.

SARS-CoV-2 and its "COVID-19" is not fucking Bubonic plague or Ebola, and allowing it to upend and breakdown society -- rather than having the slightest bit of a strategic approach about, well, anything -- is grotesque.

Listen, I get the fact that the American Government is led by a madman right now, and the whole fucking system has failed over and over and over, but all of that is a deeper of symptom of a failing country. And as for being here in its Imperial Capital -- Rome of the 5th Century AD Roman Empire, so to speak, it's awful.

Personally, it's extremely difficult to live in a dead city -- and by that, I mean one that is spiritually dead with no fight, no energy, no joy, no delight, no culture, no nothing, just different levels of vacuous power-centeric nastiness, Millennial self-righteousness, American urban ghetto garbage, and, well, nothing.

Note: The next set of pics below were taken on April 29th on another afternoon walk into the office.

Given the total and complete collapse of the American spirit in recent decades, COVID-19 may very well be the death of the American Empire.

Thanks to that collapse, the Empire was already in its late stage death throes with a fucking freak fest of a leader in the form of a deranged, solipsistic sociopath named Donald Trump and a nihilistic cult of a political party in the form of Mitch McConnell's GOP, who for his part is just excreting out more ass-wipe Federalist Society frat boy judges by the shitload.

About that, I'm of the view that Senate Dems could stop this garbage if they really wanted to -- simply don't up and deny the Senate a fucking quorum. But 900-year old Dianne Feinstein is so fucking enamored of "the process" that she's wholly content with any shit outcome. (She couldn't wait to kiss Neil Gorsuch's vile ass.)

But in true Yin-and-Yang style, today's diseased GOP is just the inverted image of the culturally Marxist identity-fixated Democrats. And it's all driven by a razzle-dazzle but thoroughly malevolent and nihilistic media / entertainment complex of zero value. Everything has failed and nothing is here to replace it.

Of course, it doesn't help that I have no life of my own in this time and place.

Note: OK, the next pair trio of pictures are those I took near my apartment on Newport Place NW on Tuesday, May 5th and Wednesday, May 6th.

This is why I hate D.C. and look forward to the day -- if it comes -- that I retire to a seaside place. However, in the meantime, this is where I live and work ... And as you can see by the outdoor pics that I have been posting, it is a pretty city, at least at times.

OK, I guess that's all I have to say.

Except I feel as though I have created a hideously negative entry. For that reason, let me post a link to this Science piece from April 2018: What if a nuke goes off in Washington, D.C.? Simulations of artificial societies help planners cope with the unthinkable.

My point in doing so: I guess things aren't that bad compared to that.

Secondly, below are a series views from the 9th-floor equivalent rooftop of my building earlier this evening taken between 8:06 p.m. and 8:11 p.m. looking counterclockwise from the north to the southwest. It was a mostly cloudy, gusty, rather chilly (for May) evening (temp about 52°F).

North to north-northwest view

This is the intersection of Florida Ave, Massachusetts Ave, and 22nd Street -- the latter running up to the Spanish Steps.

North northwest view

Not visible in this relatively low-res image are the sundry transmitter towers located in Upper Northwest including for all the main over-the-air TV stations. I could also see the tip top of the tower on River Road in Bethesda. That tower, unlike the others, remains permanently in daytime strobe mode.

Northwest view

Massachusetts Ave running to the west-northwest (around Sheridan Circle) and the Washington National Cathedral visible in the distance (about 2 miles away).

The other transmitter towers were going into nighttime red navigation light mode (although those are now LEDs instead of incandescent lights). Of note, the tip of the Hughes Memorial Tower was visible to the north-northeast (not in the directions shown here). More of it would typically be seen except the city has some minor elevation that rises up in that direction -- and there are a lot of buildings on that rise.

West to west-southwest view

View to the west into and across Georgetown.

West-southwest to southwest view

The Rosslyn (Arlington) skyline visible to the southwest. I can see this skyline from my fifth floor apartment, although the steeple of that church just visible in the image blocks it.


OK, and with that, I'll end this entry. My next planned entry will be in a couple of days, either Friday or Saturday night.


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