Saturday/ thunder and lightning

There was a big storm with thunder and spectacular lightning, that moved over the city on Saturday night. Some flights to Seattle-Tacoma airport had to be diverted to Vancouver.

These are iPhone pictures that I took from my friends’ house, of the city skyline, looking westward to Puget Sound.

A compound lightning bolt behind the US Bank Center (pyramid top) building in the city skyline. On the far left is the Columbia Center (the city’s tallest) and to the right of the lightning bolt, the Rainier Square Tower building that is still under construction.
Here’s a longer cloud-to-cloud bolt that streaked across the skyline.
On the left, a lightning bolt in the distance. On the right is the exact same scene (some time later), lit up as bright as broad daylight, with the overhead lightning flashes.

Monday/ the end of summer

The unofficial end of summer in the United States is here: Labor Day.

Hurricane Dorian was wreaking havoc on The Bahamas on Sunday & Monday.
It really does not look as if it will make landfall on the Florida panhandle, though.

New image on Tue 9/3 show the destruction in the Abaco Islands, located in the northern Bahamas. [Source: New York Times, obtained from Terran Knowles/Our News Bahamas]

Thursday/ Dorian and its ‘cone of uncertainty’

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).

Hurricane Dorian’s projected path (from NOAA’s website). Floridians would do well to understand that the hurricane can make landfall anywhere on the east coast of the panhandle and that heavy rain, storm surges, flooding, wind and other hazards may affect areas outside of the cone (as noted in the black box at the top).

Tuesday/ the last of summer

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.

A bee making the best of what’s still out there, on a ‘black and bloom’ anise or Brazilian Sage (Salvia guaranitica) that I found in Seattle’s University District. The sage flowers nearly continuously from spring until winter.

Friday/ no heat wave here

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.

The forecast for Saturday’s heat-indexed temperatures from Accuweather. Conversion: 95°F is 35°C | 100°F is 38°C | 105°F is 41°C | 110°F is 43°C.
The scene tonight at Volunteer Park at 8 pm or so. A smattering of people are listening to a violinist from South India, performing on the stage. Classical music barbarian that I am, I could not really appreciate the music, and so I left after a while.

Sunday/ jumped on a bike

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.

I’m ready! I found this bike a few blocks away from my friends’ house, with the help of Uber’s app, scanned its QR code with my phone, unlocked it, and it was ready to go. JUMP is Uber’s bike-share service that competes with Lime, the other bike rental player in Seattle.
Here’s Lake Washington, during a quick stop in Seward Park. It was a beautiful day (75°F/ 24°C) with sun and puffy white clouds.

Friday/ showers & camellia flowers

We’re finally getting some rain again here in the city (and 58 °F/ 14 °C).
Here’s a spectacular camellia flower that I found a few blocks from my house. I have a camellia shrub in my front yard as well, but its flowers are not quite as big these!

Monday/ here’s April

Well, March is behind us. We had only 36% of the normal month of March rainfall, here in the Seattle area: 1.37 in. vs the average of 3.72 in.

Cloud cover but still no rain. Here’s a late afternoon view looking into the sunset, from where I’m standing at 14th Ave and John. Those are the Olympic Mountains, on the Olympic Peninsula, behind the Space Needle.

Wednesday/ getting warmer

We finally have some warmer weather on the way, and the weatherman says we should get to 65°F /18°C by Monday.

These little snow crocuses (Crocus chrysanthus) are seen around my neighborhood this time of year. Only 3 to 6 inches tall, they can pop up even when there is still snow on the ground, and are native to the Balkans and Turkey.

Monday/ blue skies .. and cold

We had completely blue skies here in Seattle on Sunday and Monday. A superdry air mass is just sitting over the area.
With no cloud blanket, it gets really cold at night. A record low of 16° F (−9°C) for Mar 4 was measured in Olympia this morning.

We had LOTS of snow on the ground in the city in February, but the snowpacks in the mountains are actually still lagging below their normal levels (100% would be where it usually is this time of year). [Graphic: Morgan Palmer and KIRO7 news].

Sunday/ blue skies at the Waterfront

Here is Table Mountain, basking under blue skies on a beautiful summer day, seen from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.

The submarine on display at the V&A Waterfront (as part of Armed Forces Day 2019), is the SAS Manthatisi. She was built in Kiel, Germany, commissioned in 2005, and is named after the female warrior chief of the Batlokwa tribe. Her home port is the naval base in Simon’s Town.

Lucky Friday

Cape Town highs today: 29 °C/ 84 °F and partly sunny. The days are still long: 13 h 15 mins. [Graphic from ‘Die Burger’].
A peek into my refrigerator here in my AirBnB apartment. The canned fish (Saldanha Pilchards) are from the chilly waters of South Africa’s west coast | Castle lager now has a non-alcoholic version | another favorite are the Windhoek Lights (2%), brewed in the German tradition in Namibia | the Crunchie bar has a crisp honeycomb center covered with chocolate | Ceres makes the world’s best fruit juice blends (this one very romantically named ‘Whispers of Summer’) | Woolworths (‘Woolies’) is the place to go for fine foods and yogurt | The Lindt rabbit comes from Switzerland, of course. I had to get it because the dark chocolate ones are hard to come by in the United States!

The weather was much cooler today.
There were no power outages, and tonight a lucky South African may win the largest local lottery jackpot ever: R 210 million/ US $14 m*.

I have beer in my fridge, and some of my favorite South African snackies, so life is good.

*A fraction of the obscene amounts offered in United States lotteries – but drawing 5% each year of US$ 14 m comes to $700,000. Plenty to live a lavish life, anywhere in the world.

Thursday/ it was a scorcher

It was a scorcher here today in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.
My little rental car’s dashboard gauge hit 39.5°C/ 103°F at one point!

There is no water supply crisis in Cape Town the way there was just a year ago (dam levels at 57% vs 25% a year ago). Even so: I try to use water sparingly. As someone said: the best time to save money, electricity, water, is when you still have plenty.

P.S. Check out the cool safari animals that I found today on Eversdal Road in Durbanville. They advertise artificial turf. I think the rhinoceros will make quite a statement, if I were to install one in my front yard in Seattle!

Saturday/ snowed in

15 cm = 6 inches.
Whoah .. lots of white when I opened my front door this morning! I can still make out the walkway to my front door, though .. so I know where to shovel the snow away.
Here’s an American robin (Turdus migratorius) with its striking orange breast. I found a whole bunch of them, feasting on the red berries on a bush by the sidewalk, here on 15th Ave. These robins are often among the first songbirds singing as dawn rises (or hours before), and last as evening sets in.

Well, we are at 6 inches here in the city, says my unofficial snow meter (the railing alongside the deck at the back of the house).

It is great to be in a warm and cosy house, and to be able to just watch the local TV station’s coverage of the conditions outside, and of the streets. I did venture out on foot mid-morning, to take the obligatory few pictures of the snowy street corners in my neighborhood.

 

Friday/ here comes a lot more snow

We had another round of snow this afternoon (almost 3 inches), with more expected overnight.
Then there will be a break on Sunday, before the snowfalls resume on Sunday night. That’s good news for my travel plans, since I have a flight to South Africa* scheduled for Sunday!  I hope I will get to the airport and get out OK.
*With a stop and an overnight stay in Amsterdam.

A fresh white blanket on the ground and on the trees and rooftops: about 3 inches of snow by nightfall. I know it’s not much by East Coast & Midwest standards, but 6 inches of snow in one go is a lot for Seattle. So let’s say there is 6 inches by Sunday. Weather models show there might very well be another 6 in. coming down on Mon & Tue, for a total of 12 inches in the city. Yikes. That’s why there were reports of stampedes for foodstuffs (milk & bread) at grocery stores, and for rock salt at hardware stores, on Friday morning.

Tuesday/ sunny and chilly

The sun was out, with clear blue skies on Tuesday. We got above freezing by a few degrees: enough to start melting the snow.
There is another system on the way that will bring more snow on Friday, though!

The view out my front door this morning. Yes, the walkway does not clear itself: I had to get in there and shovel the snow out of the way. (Not that I receive a parade of visitors every day, but hey, at least now the mailman can make it to the mailbox by the front door).

Monday/ snow day .. brrr!

The snow kept sifting down through Sunday night, and by noon today, there was 4 inches of snow on the ground at my house.
North of the city, some places recorded 12 or 13 inches of snow.
It was cold today! Even the day temperatures only got to 29 °F/ -2°C.

As usual, I felt compelled to run out early in this morning to take a few pictures of the snow.  This is 6 am, looking north, while standing on the corner of Roy and 16th Avenue.
Here’s the early morning scene on 15th Avenue, with the snowflakes showing in the halo of the street light.

Friday/ a lot of fluff

It’s February of 2019, and the cold in the Midwest is easing.
We’re about to get a spell of cold weather on Sunday and into Monday here in Seattle. We might even see snow on the ground in the city. It’s a good time of year to be a creature with a floofy, fluffy coat!

I found this cute picture on Twitter but did not make a note of the original source. The pups are Samoyeds: is a breed of large herding dog, from the spitz group, with a thick, white, double-layer coat. It takes its name from the Samoyedic peoples of Siberia. [From Wikipedia]. P.S. Was the fluffy cat supposed to be in the picture, or is it photobombing the picture? 🙂 And I don’t know what breed of cat it is.

Tuesday/ the polar vortex plunge is here

The polar vortex is pushing down into the Midwest of the continental United States, and will bring the frigidest temperatures in 20 years, to many locations.

Meteorologists had to debunk Trump’s idiotic tweet from Monday, in which he ‘called’ on global warming to ‘Please come back fast, we need you’.

As NASA explains in a Climate for Kids video, weather is only temporary, while climate describes the typical weather conditions in an entire region for a very long time – 30 years or more.

Weatherman Al Roker pointing out the frigid temperatures and the wind chill values expected for Wednesday in several major cities in the Midwest. [Source: NBC’s Today Show].
CityExpected LowWith Windchill
Minneapolis, MN-30°F -34°C-54°F -48°C
Chicago, IL-23°F -30°C-51°F -46°C
St Louis, MO-4°F -20°C-22°F -30°C
Cincinnati, OH+2°F -16°C-16°F -26°C
Washington, D.C.+18°F -7°C+11°F -11°C
Seattle, WA+34°F +1°C+34°F +1°C

Monday/ Trump’s visit to California

Sigh* .. at least Trump visited California (on Saturday), and saw the devastation firsthand.  He seemed to get along swimmingly with the new Governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom. This after he had been pretty rude to him in Tweets in the past. (Gossip: Could it be because Newsom’s ex-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle now dates Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr.?).

*Trump felt the need to repeat his ‘assessment’ of California’s forest management: ‘In Finland they rake the forest floors’. (This baffles the Finns, and prompted a denial from the Finnish president that he had ever told Trump that).  Then Trump got the devastated town’s name wrong, calling Paradise ‘Pleasure’, instead. When he did it a second time, FEMA administrator Brock Long (and Governor Jerry Brown) could no longer stand it and corrected him loudly.

From left to right Gavin Newsom, new Governor-elect of California, Trump, Jerry Brown, California Governor, Paradise Mayor Jody Jones, and Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  [Picture from Sacramento Bee].