The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Gloomier spring than we thought

I mentioned a couple days ago that we haven't seen the sun much this spring. Today the sun came out for only the second time in the last 43 days:

The National Weather Service categorized just one day in April as “clear and sunny,” said Kevin Donofrio, science and operations officer. NBC 5 meteorologist Paul Deanno said Tuesday just one of the past 42 days saw significant sunshine. That report was followed by another dark and soggy day.

Donofrio said this April saw 39.6 mm more rain than usual. Paul Walker, senior metrologist with AccuWeather, said there were only six days without rain last month. 

Chicago was also 1.5°C cooler than an average April, Walker said. Last year, it was 1.2°C warmer.

The gloom covered all of Illinois, in fact:

It’s not a stretch to say that most in Illinois are ready for warm weather by the time we hit mid-April. However, this year did not deliver as April temperatures were persistently well below normal. ... [M]ost days this past month were 3°C to 6°C colder than normal. Only 8 out of 30 April days in Galesburg were warmer than normal, and most by only a few degrees.

As a result of the colder weather, most of the state experienced below freezing temperatures as late as mid-April, and frost was reported as far south as the St. Louis Metro East on April 26.

Given how persistently rainy last month was, we best have a plethora of May flowers. For most places, the total amount of April precipitation was not excessive, and some areas were drier than normal. However, precipitation frequency last month was unusually high as most places recorded 12+ days with some measurable precipitation. Macomb had 22 days with measurable precipitation last month, Aurora had 20, Champaign had 19, and Cairo had 18. The 22 wet days in Macomb last month set a new record for April, which was the 2nd highest frequency of any month on record, only less than the 23 wet days in Macomb in October 2009. Frequent, small precipitation meant most places only had 2 to 2.5 days between precipitation events last month, which stymied fieldwork statewide.

Fortunately, the forecast calls for warmer and sunnier weather next week, with sun and 29°C forecast for Tuesday.

Gloomy spring in Chicago

Last month we had the second-gloomiest April on record, with only 34% of possible sunshine reaching Chicago all month. Normal is 51%.

I realize May is only 34 hours old, but we haven't gotten any sunshine this month, either, with rain forecast tonight, Tuesday night, and Thursday. Then I'm heading to San Francisco for the weekend, where they haven't had any clouds in a while. I could use the sunshine.

The end times?

Yesterday we had summer-like temperatures and autumn-like winds in Chicago, with 60 km/h wind gusts from the south. That may have had something to do with this insanity:

Yes, the Cubs won 21-0 yesterday on 23 hits, their biggest shutout in over 120 years:

Nico Hoerner was one of five Cubs to record three or more hits, finishing with three RBIs on a career-high four hits. After a three-hit performance Friday, it also marked the first back-to-back three-hit games of his career.

Rivas, Seiya Suzuki, Ian Happ and Willson Conteras all had three hits.

The margin of victory surpassed 19-0 shutout wins on June, 7 1906, against the New York Giants and on May 13, 1969, against the San Diego Padres.

The Cubs’ 21 runs were the most since they scored 26 against the Colorado Rockies on August 18, 1995. And the 21-run win margin marked the team’s largest since a 24-2 win at the Boston Braves on July 3, 1945.

The last time the Cubs did something historic, the world changed for the worse a few days later. I'm filling water jugs and taping my windows...

Whee!

It's a bit windy in Chicago: winds steady at 25 knots peaking at 47 knots at 1pm. WGN says:

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning through 7 p.m. Thursday.

Gusts are to build to greater than 60 mph at times–and there are indications a few of the strongest gusts could reach speeds of 70 to 80 mph.

Whitecaps were spotted in Lake Michigan and the gusts have the potential to send waves greater than 10 feet on the shoreline.

It’s a good idea to move objects indoors and out of the wind.

Great, thanks! That last bit helps. Even Cassie got tired of pushing against it.

Bonus graphic: can you spot when the cold front came through yesterday?

Spring, at least in some places

Canada has put the Prairie Provinces on a winter storm warning as "the worst blizzard in decades" descends upon Saskatchewan and Manitoba:

A winter storm watch is in effect for southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan, with snowfall accumulations of 30 to 50 centimetres expected mid-week, along with northerly wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour, said Environment Canada on Monday.

“Do not plan to travel — this storm has the potential to be the worst blizzard in decades,” the agency warns.

The storm is expected to start Tuesday night, as a Colorado low pressure system moving toward Minnesota will bring a “heavy swath of snow” from southeastern Saskatchewan through most of southern Manitoba.

Snow will start to fall early in the evening near the U.S. border and move north overnight. Blowing snow and high winds will cause zero visibility and whiteout conditions, making driving treacherous.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

And finally, prosecutors in Texas have declined to pursue charges against a 26-year-old woman arrested last week for infanticide after self-inducing an abortion. Welcome to the new 19th Century, at least in the religious South.

Two more from Kentucky, and one from Chicago

I took Cassie for a 40-minute walk around Lexington's historic district on the way back from Berea:

The light really wasn't great, so I didn't take a lot of photos. Plus Cassie has a way of adding motion blur to every photo I shoot.

Two weeks ago I attended a conference by the Chicago River, which had dye left over from St Patrick's Day. Add a passing fire boat and it's Christmas in March:

Updated photos

Editing photos on my phone doesn't always produce the best results. Faster, cheaper, better, pick two, right? Fortunately I have Adobe Lightroom at home, and deploying software yesterday took a long time.

Here are my re-edits. Better? Worse? At the very least, they're all correctly-proportioned (2x3) instead of whatever I guessed on my little phone screen.

Thursday's sunrise at Nicura Ranch:

Berea College:

One of the ranch's permanent residents:

Down the road from the ranch:

Cinnamon, who rather preferred that I keep Cassie outside the pasture, thank you very much:

I've got a couple more from the past two weeks I'll post after lunch.

On the road

Cassie and I are at a lovely ranch in Kentucky where tomorrow she'll meet goats and tonight I've met a 1990s-era Internet connection. Well, I didn't come here to surf the Web, so I'll just deal.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting outside listening to frogs. Lots of frogs. And a hound somewhere down the road.

Problems with air pressure

I'm about 18 hours from taking Cassie on a long road trip, and I have two problems that may cause headaches (one of them literally). First, trees and grasses all over Chicago have started having lots of sex, causing really uncomfortable stuffiness and sinus congestion for me. Second, one of the tires of my car has a slow leak.

The first one will work itself out naturally, with the help of several boxes of tissues. The second one requires a trip to the local tire center, which I'm glad to report is about 200 meters from my house.

Updates as conditions warrant.