Wednesday/ a temperature shock

Lljubeljana, Slovenia, had its hottest March day (+25.3 °C/ 77.5 °F) on record, and now its coldest April night on record (-20.6 °C/ -5 °F).

There is going to be harsh frost damage to crops. Plants and insects (also fauna that thrive on both) would be hit incredibly hard, notes Scottish meteorologist Scott Duncan on Twitter.

This flaming orange tulip is from yesterday, when it was sunny.
It was ‘cold’ again today, 46 °F (8 °C), some 10 °F (5.5 °C) under the mean temperature for this time of year.

Wednesday/ fair weather & a ferry

We got to 61 °F (16 °C) here in the city today.
Late afternoon I braved the rush-hour traffic on I-5, to get to West Seattle for a little doubles tennis.

It’s now optional to play with a mask — outside or indoors (at Amy Yee Tennis Center). I decided to keep mine on until I get vaccinated.
The governor announced today, that here in Washington State, from April 15th on, everyone 16 & older will qualify for the vaccine.

I had a little time on my hands before the tennis, and stopped at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal to check out the action there. Here is the 5.15 pm ferry (the Issaquah), just departing for Vashon Island.

Monday/ spring cleaning on SR20 to start

The spring cleaning of the snow on State Route 20 in the North Cascades will start next week. So it’s still going to be a number of weeks before SR20 can be opened to the public.

Tweet from WSDOT East: ‘The great SR 20/North Cascades spring clearing begins April 5! Our crew will clear the highway of snow, then make any necessary repairs prior to reopening, which usually takes 4 to 6 weeks’. (My note: there is some 8 feet of snow on the road surface here!). 
[Picture from WSDOT East @WSDOT_East on Twitter]
Top: I found the GPS coordinates of the snowy picture at the summit of Washington pass, elev. 5, 477 ft. Then I looked up the summer version of the scene on Google Streetview.
Bottom: The yellow pin on the Google Earth picture marks the spot. Driving north, one would have just left a hairpin bend on State Route 20. The town of Winthrop WA would be about 30 miles back on SR20, to the southeast.

Saturday/ spring blossoms

It was a lovely day (56 °F/ 13 °C), and I chased myself out of the house this afternoon, to go look at the tree blossoms & spring flowers outside.
Tomorrow will be stormy and rainy.

Top to bottom: cherry tree blossoms, wild primrose, asters, magnolia tree blossoms.  I hope I have it right! I’m not a flower expert.

Saturday/ spring is here, very early

Spring arrived this morning at 2:37 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the earliest on the calendar in 124 years. (Reason: the leap year of 2000,  and the observation of daylight saving time in the United States).

Here in the Emerald City it was cold (46 °F / 7 °C) and rainy.

Monday/ the many meanings of corona


From the Latin word corona, mid-16th century, meaning ‘wreath, crown’.
Architecture: a circular chandelier in a church, or a part of a cornice having a broad vertical face.
Astronomy: the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and other stars.
Biology: the cup-shaped or trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the center of a daffodil or narcissus flower.
Medical: coronavirus is any of a family (Coronaviridae) of large single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped spike proteins.
Physics: the glow around a conductor at high potential.
Smoking: a long, straight-sided cigar.

It was only 45 °F (7 °C) for my late-afternoon stroll around the block today, but hey, now there is an hour more of sunshine.

Daffodils (genus Narcissus) at the corner of 18th Avenue & Republican St. The cup-shaped structure at the center of the flower is called the corona. Yes, the term has come to have decidedly negative connotations, I guess. Maybe it’s best to just shrug it off. We even have apartment buildings in the city called Corona Apartments and Corona Lofts.

Saturday/ saving the daylight

We had sunny afternoons all week and the high touched 60 (15.5 °C) today.

Daylight Saving Time starts tonight in the United States. (‘Saving’ means shifting the day’s hour markers forward, so that the sun ‘rises’ an hour later, and ‘sets’ an hour later).
Pacific Daylight Time = Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) minus 7 hrs.

The bright sunlight (electromagnetic radiation visible to the human eye) propels the vanes of the radiometer on my kitchen counter top.

Wednesday/ a touch of spring

We had 58°F (14°C) at the high here in the city, and sun all day.
The little crocuses with their flowers have popped out of the ground, just a little bit later than they were last year.

And how do they know when to flower? It’s very complicated. Flowering plants have a master gene called APETALA1 (AP1). A combination of sunlight, soil temperature and water, prompts the AP1 gene to generate proteins, which in turn, switch on more than 1,000 other genes that are involved in the flowering process.

Friday/ Paradise is snowed in

There is a lot of snow on the slopes of Washington State’s mountains this year, in some places already 10% above normal.

These pictures of the Paradise visitor center at Mt Rainier were posted on the Twitter account from the National Weather Service (Seattle) @NWSSeattle.

JULY This picture is dated Jul 17, 2017. It’s high summer, but late in the day with the long shadows, which is probably why there are not many cars in the parking lot.
FEBRUARY This snapshot was recorded this morning, Feb 26, 2021. The US Dept. of Agriculture snow telemetry report says there is 16 feet (4.9 m) of snow on the ground there as of today, and that the air temp. has averaged 25°F (-4°C) the last few days.

Monday/ a bitterly cold President’s Day

It was a bone-chilling President’s Day holiday in the Midwest. Texas has ice and snow, all the way down to Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico.
Here in Seattle, the snow is melting steadily. It went up to 43 °F (6 °C) today.

Look at Dallas: 1 °F (-17 °C), a 100-year low. Texas has had widespread power outages today as well, so not a good situation to have this kind of cold, with no heating in the house. I suspect only some homes in Texas have central heating (say, a gas furnace), just as only some homes here in Seattle have central air-conditioning.

Sunday/ the snow has stopped

There was more snow this morning, and into early afternoon (maybe an inch), but that was it.
The official tally for the city, for Saturday, is 8.9 in.
Temperatures will now stay above freezing, even tonight, and slowly rise every day. The snow on the ground has already started to melt.

Sunday, 1.20 pm. Still a little snow sifting down. Look for the snowman in the picture. My neighbors across the back alley cleared the snow around, and from their little blue car. Mine is still kind of stuck in the garage, with a lot of snow outside. That’s my out-of-use phone landline to the house, across the garage. For a brief time, it touched the thick blanket of snow on the roof.
Sunday, 4.15 pm. I had just run out with my regular-issue shovel (got to get a snow shovel, those wide plastic ones), to clear the walkway to my house, and the sidewalk in front of the house (not visible in the picture), as best I could. Not that I expect any visitors! .. but now the mailman can put junk mail in my mailbox, and Amazon can drop packages on my porch.

Saturday/ it’s snowing dude, for real

Here are some snow pictures from today.

Hellooo .. snow, and lots of it, by my back door on the deck. We almost never get this much snow in the city.
Let’s see how much we have (this is Sat. 2 pm): 11 in., just about. This does include the little bit of snow from Thursday which was no more than 1 inch. So we’re well over the 4-8 inches that Seattle was projected to get, and we may very well end up with a foot of snow in the city. That would be a top three value recorded, ever. There were 10″ and 20″ events on two separate days in Jan. 1950, and 14.9″ on Jan. 27, 1969. However, these are dwarfed by the legendary Big Snow of Jan. 1880, which lasted a whole week, and had snowfall that measured several feet (there is no official record of the exact amount).
The snow is soft and powdery. The footwear I have on here, is woefully inadequate. Help! I need snow shoes, or Wellington boots!
This is 16th Avenue at 10 am this morning.
15th Avenue (at 10 am) looked a little more solid, just because a few more intrepid drivers negotiated it this morning. The city does not have many snow plows, but hopefully they will get to the arterials such as 15th Ave. at some point.

Thursday/ ‘it’s snowing dude’

A very enthusiastic player in my tennis text group inquired this morning if anyone was up for tennis, outside (for the record, it was 32 °F/ 0 °C at the time).
‘It’s snowing dude’ texted someone back, as a few snow flurries started to appear. I believe they settled for playing indoors: warmer inside, sans snow, but you have to play with a mask on.

The view of my street at about 5 pm today. Not much more came down, and none sticking to the street surface. There is a second system due in on Friday night, though, that will bring many more inches of snow with it.

Saturday/ lots of snow in the Northeast

This week, a three-day snowstorm left  17 in. of snow in New York City’s Central Park.

In northern New Jersey, a 122-year-old state record for most snow from a single storm may have been broken: the town of Mount Arlington ended up with 35.5 inches.
Three feet — that’s a lot of snow.


Cartoon from the latest New Yorker magazine. Presumably this is in the future, post-Covid and when Earth’s climate is even more out of control. (Is that ‘weather fan’ on the far right cheering the ‘touchdown’ of the tornado?). 

Sunday/ getting colder

These penguins at the South Pole are playing a version of pin the tail on the donkey. 
Cold, cold, colder, much colder, mu-uch colder!‘ say the ones observing the efforts of the blindfolded one.
[Cartoonist: Gernot Gunga from Schleswig-Holstein, Germany]
The lowlands might see a few snowflakes tomorrow, say the weather people.

We again played tennis outside yesterday (officially 43 °F/ 6 °C).  It was OK, but at times the cold numbed my fingers around the racquet handle.

Fortunately, Amy Yee Tennis Center has again opened up its indoor courts.

We have to wear masks while we play, though, so that will be interesting .. a little harder to yell out the score before you serve, for one thing.

Wednesday/ rain aplenty

Looks like we’re going to spill over into the new year with rain every day here in Seattle (with a little break on Thursday morning). The yearly precipitation total stands at 40.71″ ( yearly normal 37.49″ ).

Does the New Year’s Eve rain matter? No. The annual fireworks display at the Space Needle, and gatherings at Gas Works Park had been cancelled a long time ago.

There will be a ‘virtual’ Space Needle celebration/ ‘fireworks’ display instead, on the local TV station channel.  One could argue it’s more or less the same as watching real fireworks on TV — or is it not?

There was a break in the rain just before sunset today. Here’s Olympic Pizza & Spaghetti House III (left) on 15th Ave. A few customers can sit outside, and they have carry out, of course. Governor Jay Inslee has extended the ban on indoor dining to Jan 11. Washington State is doing OK to contain community spread of Covid-19, but I cannot see that the ban will be lifted anytime soon.

Monday night/ snow report

Here’s my ‘snow report’ from last night.
There was just an inch or so on the ground, not enough to stick to the streets and pavements for too long.

This 7.40 pm, as big, soft snowflakes were coming down, at 15th Ave East and Republican St. That’s Uncle Ike’s entrance (pot shop) with its ‘electric trees’,  and the Hopvine pub next to it.
A little while later the snow had stopped. This is looking north, standing at the corner of 16th Ave East and Roy St.

Monday/ winter is here, and a little snow

It’s winter here in the North, officially.
The city has had plenty of rainy, windy weather yesterday and today (1.58 in. measured in 48 hrs at Seatac Airport’s gauge).
.. and hey! the snowflakes coming down in the mix tonight, formed a thin layer on my back deck.

There was a break in the rain this morning, and I spotted this Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) outside, attracted by the budding yellow flowers on the mahonia behind it. The rain and wind picked up again soon, though, and the little bird was gone.

Thursday/ blue sky & dry tennis courts

Well,  the rain stopped long enough today for the sky to clear .. and for the tennis courts at Jefferson Park to dry out.
So when the text messages from my tennis group came in asking who could play, I jumped at it. We had 52 °F/ 11 °C, which is still OK to play in. Temperatures down to around 45 °F/ 7 °C are increasingly dicey, and 40 °F/ 4 °C is a hard no for me.

The tennis courts at Jefferson Park in the Beacon Hill neighborhood are in good shape, and have flood lights to boot. Look for the little piece of rainbow on the lower left of the picture.

Wednesday/ it’s December, so it rains

A major winter storm is bringing heavy snow into the Northeast of the country. Here in the Pacific Northwest we just have rain. (There is snow in the mountains, of course, but it’s not cold enough for snow on the city streets, yet.) November’s total came to 5.6 in, somewhat below the average of 6.6 in.

Here’s the soggy corner of 15th Ave & Republican at 4.15 pm. The decorated trees are at the entrance of Uncle Ike’s, purveyor of marijuana products. There’s a speck in the middle of the picture, up in the blue-gray sky: a surveillance helicopter. Seattle Parks and Recreation agents have tried for most of the day to clear the homeless campers from Cal Anderson Park, and they have only met with limited success so far.