It’s Christmas Day, but firefighters in South Australia, across the Adelaide Hills, are still battling to bring raging bushfires under control there.
Record low rainfall this year has contributed to the scorching of some 5 million hectares (that’s 19,000 sq miles) in Australia so far, by far the worst year on record.
We had relatively warm weather here the last week or so. A massive warmer-than-normal blob of water in the Pacific Ocean off the Washington coast may be to blame.
We also had the driest November in 40 years (only 1.71 in. of rain at Sea-Tac Airport, 26% of the average). That also means that the snowpack levels on the mountains in Washington State are lagging far behind the normal levels for this time of the year.
November is Seattle’s rainiest month, with an average total of some 6 or 7 in. of rain.
So far this month, though, the rain gauge at Seattle-Tacoma airport had recorded only 0.86 in of rain through Sunday night.
More steady rain fell today. I see Seattle-Tacoma airport had measured 2.57 in. for the period from last Wednesday through this Sunday night.
We usually get a little less than the airport here in the city, so let’s say the city has gotten 2 inches or so. (I really should get a rain gauge!). There is sunny weather on the way, but we may have to wait until Wednesday to get a lot of it.
The gilled mushrooms (fancy name: euagarics) that usually pop out of the ground this time of year, have appeared again in my backyard.
The ones I have gotten so far, are not as red, nor as big, as years before. It could be because the soil has dried out these last two weeks. (That is about to change, though. The weatherman says we will get up to 2 inches of rain the next few days).
We are in the peak of the hurricane season here in the States (mid August through end of October), and hurricane Dorian is projected to reach Florida on Monday.
We are seeing the familiar ‘cone of uncertainty’ graphic on TV screens, but research by Hurakan, a University of Miami team, revealed that many people do not understand these maps. Some 40% of people do not feel threatened if they live just outside the cone. (Actually, the path of the hurricane is inside the cone only 60-70% of the time). Some people think the cone shows the hurricane ‘gets bigger’ over time. (No. The cone is bigger because the more days into the future, the more uncertain the projections of the path of the hurricane become). People who are inside the cone, but far from the center, tend to prepare less than those closer to the central line. (As pointed out earlier, the path of the hurricane can be anywhere inside the cone, or even outside of it).
We will get to 88°F (31°C) here in the city tomorrow, possibly the last hot weather, in what has really been a mild summer.
The days are getting shorter and our sun sits lower in the sky, every day now.
We are spared the heat wave that is gripping the Midwest and Northeast of the country.
The Seattle area may see 86°F/ 30°C by Sunday, but that is mild compared to the sizzling temperatures forecast for St. Louis, Washington DC and Boston.
I went bicycling with my friends on today, and tried out an electric-assist bicycle for the first time.
The bicycle has three gears, and performed very well. As far as I could tell, the electric assist from the battery is always-on (so no way to turn it off).
On even grades, the electric assist feels a little like cheating! – but it does come in very handy on long uphill climbs.