Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Page 1 of 15 in the Weather category Next Page
Monday 26 January 2015

The Northeastern U.S. is bracing for what the National Weather Service calls "a storm of historic proportions:"

Snow accumulations of around 500-750 mm with locally higher amounts [are forecast]. Snowfall rates of 50-100 mm an hour at times.

A blizzard warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts over 56 km/h are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow. Visibilities will become poor with whiteout conditions at times. those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented...so persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.

All unnecessary travel is discouraged beginning Monday afternoon to allow people already on the road to safely reach their destination before the heavy snow begins and to allow snow removal equipment to begin to clear roads.

The worst snowfall on record in the Northeast dumped 683 mm of snow on Central Park over 11-12 February 2006. This one could be bigger.

Hang in there, New York and Boston. And just remember the immortal words of Michael Bilandic: "Snow melts."

Update: The governors of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have ordered precautionary measures including closing state offices and ordering all cars off the roads tonight. All flights at Boston Logan are cancelled starting 7pm EST tonight; New York airports are also shut Tuesday. The New England Patriots have skipped town early to get to the Superbowl on time. And residents of Maine are...well, they're not doing anything special, because it's just snow.

Monday 26 January 2015 11:21:24 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | US | Weather#
Tuesday 20 January 2015

Yep. Pretty dreary today:

At least it's above freezing.

Tuesday 20 January 2015 12:56:59 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Interesting things to read:

Before reading all of those I need to get a production deployment ready for this weekend. It would help if I were completely certain what's in production right now...

Tuesday 20 January 2015 12:30:14 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | US | Cool links | Weather | Windows Azure#
Saturday 10 January 2015

Sure, it's -17°C, and it's been colder than that the last six nights in a row, but let's put this in perspective: last year was way, way worse:

The new year has opened very wintry bringing the city major league doses of snow and cold. Through January 9 temperatures have averaged a frigid -10.9°C and there have been 193 mm of snow. But, it was much colder and snowier during the same period last year with temperatures averaging -13.4°C and the city buried under nearly 509 mm of snow.

With clear skies and a fresh snow cover, Saturday will dawn bitterly cold with another round of subzero [Fahrenheit] temperatures, but readings will moderate in the afternoon as highs approach the upper teens [Fahrenheit]. Slow warming will continue with the mercury flirting with the freezing mark by Thursday and closing in on 6°C by next weekend. The only significant snow threat on the horizon comes Sunday night and Monday as a weather system moves through the Midwest, but current forecast trends point to the bulk of the snow falling south of Chicago.

Yesterday, white-out conditions contributed to a 193-vehicle pile-up in central Michigan that killed one and hurt 23:

There were 26 semis and 34 cars involved on the eastbound side of the freeway, and several vehicles there were burning in the pileup west of exit 92. Among them was a truck that carried 20 tonnes of hazardous materials and another hauling fireworks. Shortly before noon, those fireworks caught fire, causing an extended display of aerial explosions. Police said crews are still fighting flareups and monitoring the air as of 8:23pm [Saturday].

The westbound side of the freeway saw 50 semis and 83 cars involved.

More than 12 hours after the pileup, wreckage was still smoldering and emergency crews were still cleaning up.

I-94 is closed in both directions from exit 88 east of Galesburg to exit 92 west of Battle Creek, the Michigan Department of Transportation said. The expressway is expected to remain shut down until at least midnight.

More personally, on Monday night my car got tapped by a taxi who locked his brakes and slid right into the corner of my bumper causing $3100 in damage to my car and, of course, none to his.

So: if you're not familiar with snow, don't drive in it; drive more slowly than you think is necessary; and know exactly how your car behaves.

Saturday 10 January 2015 09:16:11 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Thursday 8 January 2015

However, with -13°C snow blowing around at—no joke—59 km/h, it looks like this:

I still will never move south of Interstate 80. Never. This is just character-building weather, and it will pass.

See? These guys (Titus and Honey Baked Hamlet) know how to stay warm:

They trotted over to the Euchre Meet-Up last night. Parker didn't, because J's is just far enough from home that Parker would have been too cold. (He usually attends.)

Thursday 8 January 2015 15:30:02 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Wednesday 7 January 2015

Chicago is under a hazardous weather outlook this morning because it's -18°C with wind chills around -30°C.

Schools all over the area have closed, prompting our operations manager to declare a work-from-home day. I might have done anyway, because I've caught a chest cold that has gotten worse since Sunday to the point where all I want to do is nap.

All of this will improve soon. Temperatures are expected to rise to more-seasonable (-3°C) levels by Sunday, and I expect to have defeated this invasion of pathogens well before then.

And, of course, all of this builds character, because it's Chicago.

Wednesday 7 January 2015 07:48:04 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 6 January 2015

Therefore, another link round-up:

There are a couple of other articles on my Kindle too, I just haven't got time to link them.

Tuesday 6 January 2015 13:07:34 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Geography | London | US | World | Weather#
Monday 5 January 2015

Isn't this pretty?

Yes. Yes it is. But taking the picture almost caused my fingers to freeze off, because it's this bloody cold:

And it's going to be colder this week: -15°C is forecast for Wednesday—as the high.

I expect to have dismal Fitbit numbers for a few days, too. Ordinarily Mondays my schedule allows me to walk quite a distance. Today, as you can see above, I said to hell with it and drove.

Monday 5 January 2015 09:27:03 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Saturday 3 January 2015

Today's Fitbit numbers will probably not wow anyone, owing to the 2°C rain keeping our layer of slush from solidifying entirely.

Enter next week's forecast to put things into perspective:

Tuesday
A 30 percent chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near -6°C.

Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around -18°C. Blustery.

Wednesday
Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near -16°C. Blustery.

Wednesday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around -20°C.

Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near -10°C. Breezy.

Oh, joy. Break out the Aran sweater and long johns...and wait for the warm-up on Thursday.

Saturday 3 January 2015 14:49:51 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Wednesday 31 December 2014

We woke up this morning to a brisk -16°C with an even brisker wind chill around -25°C. It hasn't been this cold in Chicago since the -19°C we had on March 3rd, 303 days ago. And still, no measurable snow in December, which has happened only four times in recorded history.

Even Parker didn't want to go for much of a walk this morning. And I'm not confident about my Fitbit numbers for the day...

Also: Happy New Year to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, and in less than an hour, Singapore.

Wednesday 31 December 2014 09:18:34 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 30 December 2014

Vacation. It always makes me a little crazy. I need stuff to do. And even though the temperature has plummeted to -12°C overnight, that means going outside and not sitting at my computer.

When Parker and I get too cold, I'll start reading these articles:

And because my (irritated) Euchre coach demands it, I'll review (one more time) Harvey Lapp's Ten Commandments of Euchre.

Tuesday 30 December 2014 09:36:08 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | US | Weather#
Monday 29 December 2014

As of Saturday, Chicago set a new record in gloominess by having no sunshine at all for 17 days in December:

Low pressure passed to our north and a cold front swept through our area from the west Saturday. Winter Weather Advisories for 50 to 200 mm of snow were in place from northeast Nebraska through northern Iowa and southern Minnesota into northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, while cloudy skies and widely scattered light rain showers prevailed across the Chicago area. But those clouds cut off the sun – Frank Wachowski’s sunshine recorder measured no sunlight – making Saturday the record 17th day this December with zero percent sunshine – the old record was 16 zero percent sunshine days registered on 4 separate years – the last in 2009.

The clouds have persisted into the nighttime hours as well – trapping the nighttime heat and keeping our overnight lows so far this month 4.7°C, and boosting our overall temperature average to 3.3°C above normal. These relatively mild temperature should be reflected in lower December heating bills.

The sun is peeking out today after being out all day yesterday.

And still no snow this month, nor any in the forecast. Weird. In fact, this December's weather has been much more like a typical November in Chicago: gloomy and cold, but not that cold, and not that snowy.

We'll get snow, though. Oh yes. We will...

Monday 29 December 2014 11:14:20 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Friday 26 December 2014

...I stopped here one more time this morning:

At the moment Chicago's weather isn't too bad. At the moment. But it's still nothing like this.

By the way, I've actually reduced the saturation in this photo a bit. The sun was directly behind me and relatively low on the horizon, so the colors in this shot are very close to what I saw.

Friday 26 December 2014 11:38:26 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Chicago | San Francisco | Weather#

Chicago has had its least snowfall—specifically, just a trace with nothing measurable—in the past 102 Decembers:

Only three Decembers have recorded this little snow since records began in 1884!

1889, 1894 and 1912 hold those numbers.

No snow is forecast through the end of the year, but it will be a chilly -9°C on New Year's Eve.

And I'm pretty sure no one in Chicago wants a repeat of last year.

Friday 26 December 2014 06:55:02 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Wednesday 24 December 2014

Yesterday, the majority of weather models forecast a major winter storm over Chicago that was going to snarl traffic, ground airplanes, and make life a living hell for several friends of mine. One of the models had a slightly different prediction, however. Looks like the minority opinion was right:

The northbound storm driving Chicago’s Christmas Eve 2014 rainfall is going to have a hard time producing the kind of cooling which would support big snow accumulations. It’s been clear from the range of forecasts covering aspects of the storms development and movement that this system’s ability to generate snow may well be limited by the warm environment in which it springs to life. While bursts of wet snowflakes may well wind up in Wed afternoon and evening’s precipitation mix, it’s hard to see how snowfall of an intensity to do more than just dust the warm ground or produce minor transitory accumulations, expecting more of this storm will be a tough sell.

Because the system part of an environment awash in mild air, Wednesday’s Christmas Eve storm is in a position in which it must generate its own cold air through storm dynamics (i.e. the ascension and resultant cooling of air brought on by the storm’s intensification). Such cooling may well happen to Chicago’s east from sections of Indiana near Valparaiso north into Michigan City, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, etc–regions likely to sit beneath the storm’s strongest dynamics and, therefore, the area most likely to experience the kind of cooling which may take rain over to snow long enough to produce more than the dusting to 2″ accumulations predicted by our team to occur in the greater Chicago area.

In other words, Chicago will be wet and cold, but not snowy. Life goes on.

Of course, none of this would affect me today, because I'm back here for the holiday:

Today it's misty and damp on the peninsula, so I might not hit my Fitbit goal today. But I'm still warmer than I'd be back home.

Wednesday 24 December 2014 10:01:23 PST (UTC-08:00)  |  | Chicago | San Francisco | Weather#
Saturday 20 December 2014

If you live in Chicago, your gloominess may have something to do with the cloudiest December in 39 years:

The full month [of December 1975] managed just 19% of its possible sun that year–the same lackluster sunshine allotment on the books in 2014 as we move the final days of December. Failure to boost that pitifully limited tally between now and the month’s close at midnight this coming Wednesday, would put the Chicago area in line for a possible new record.

There have been cloudier months. Our veteran Chicago climate guru and official National Weather Service observer Frank Wachowski at Midway Airport since the 1950s, reports Nov 1985 managed just 16% of its possible sun making it this area’s cloudiest month since sunshine records began here in 1893.

We're now in our 13th day without sun. Thirteen days, no sun. And then next week, this:

Big changes again loom. Temps appear poised to tank with arctic air’s reappearance later this coming week extending into the closing days of 2014 in the week which follows. Signaling the change is warming in the arctic. Huge pools of “warmer” than normal air are predicted to assemble through the atmosphere over Alaska and Greenland in the coming 6 to 10 days creating atmospheric “blocking” there. You can see them in the orange-hued areas on this hemispheric forecast generated by the National Weather Service’s GFS global forecast model. That the global models of other national meteorological organizations are producing strikingly similar forecasts reinforces confidence in the forecast of change.

At least, if it's that cold, it will probably be sunny.

Saturday 20 December 2014 09:04:13 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Thursday 18 December 2014

The trouble with holiday parties on Wednesday is that you have to function on Thursday. So, to spare my brain from having to do anything other than the work-related things its already got to do, here are things I will read later:

All for now.

Thursday 18 December 2014 12:36:35 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | US | World | Business | Travel | Weather#
Wednesday 3 December 2014

December 2014 opened the coldest in 118 years in Chicago, but all the forecasts point to a huge warm-up over the next two weeks:

he scope of the warming being predicted is really something. The global scope of the milder than normal temps is evident from the depiction at the top of this post. The Weather Service’s GFS model, Environment Canada’s GEM ensemble and the European Center’s deterministic and ensemble model are all on board with the onset of a significantly warmer than normal pattern. This doesn’t mean there won’t be some cool days intermingled with the “warmth”. There actually will be. But, these forecasts speak to the overall pattern. Each of these predictions suggest a major pattern about-face heading through mid-December–a radical change from the arctic chill which has dominated the past three months producing the 11th coldest meteorological autumn (i.e. Sept through Nov period) on the books and the 8th coldest November in 143 years of official observations here.

Are prospects for winter cold dead? Don’t count on it. High latitude blocking, a major factor in the cold with which the current season has begun, has been a factor in almost all of our recent winters producing the high amplified (i.e. “buckled” or “wavy”) jet stream patterns which encourage arctic air to dive into the Lower 48.

But not quite yet, it seems. The next week will be seasonable, with temperatures right around freezing. The warm-up, if it occurs, is more than a week away.

On the other hand, I'm in Louisiana tonight, where it's 12°C—too chilly for a long walk in the light sweater I've got on, but a lot warmer than back home. So I'm going to have a look at the Mississippi, then hustle back inside for a pint of something.

Tuesday 2 December 2014 21:13:01 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Travel | Weather | Work#
Sunday 30 November 2014

Their forecast was correct: a cold front has pushed into the Chicago area, dropping temperatures rapidly and turning our sunny morning into a cold and grey last day of autumn. At 11:30 it was 11°C outside my door; now, just over 2 hours later, it's 4°C, and getting cooler yet.

This will not stop me from walking another few kilometers, though. It's still above freezing, after all.

Sunday 30 November 2014 13:49:03 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Knowing that winter is coming later today motivated me to take Parker on his biggest walk since we went hiking in mid-September: an hour and three quarters, 10 km, 11,000 FitBit steps (which translates to about 60,000 Parker steps).

The 11°C out my door can't last, though. Rockford is down to 1°C; Burlington, Wisc., about an hour northwest of O'Hare, is already below freezing.

With 13,000 steps already behind me today, and being only 7,000 steps away from a 1-day total over 20,000 and a 7-day total over 100,000, I see more walking before day's end...

Sunday 30 November 2014 11:36:18 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Weather#

As reported yesterday, an Arctic high pressure area is moving south into the United States, bringing freezing temperatures with it. The latest surface analysis looks like this:

It's 9°C in Chicago but 3°C in Rockford, just 145 km away.

Conclusion? It's time to take Parker on his long walk of the day. Now.

Sunday 30 November 2014 09:13:40 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Weather#
Saturday 29 November 2014

It looks like the temperature will get up to 11°C this afternoon, and the sun is still visible. Meteorological autumn ends tomorrow, and apparently so does this weather. The forecast calls for an unseasonably warm evening followed by a cold-front passage tomorrow late morning and temperatures falling to 1°C by noon and -6°C overnight.

This is a long way of saying that Parker and I need to go for another walk pretty much ASAP. We walked about 5 km so far today. Let's see if we can squeeze in another 5 before sundown.

Saturday 29 November 2014 14:57:56 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Weather#

Yesterday morning I performed with the Apollo Chorus at the Art Institute's Lion Wreathing in -8°C cold. Now, less than 30 hours later, it's 10°C and sunny. So if you'll excuse me, Parker and I are going to walk about 20,000 steps so I can blow out my FitBit stats for November.

Video of yesterday's performance:

Saturday 29 November 2014 13:08:19 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Monday 24 November 2014

This morning I commuted to work in drizzle, wind, and 9°C temperatures. In the five hours since then, the rain has turned to snow, the wind has turned to gale, and the temperature has dropped 10°C.

Welcome to Chicago in November.

The biggest casualty of this in my life may be my FitBit. I've hit my goal of 10,000 steps every day for the last nine, and gotten close (>= 9,000 steps) every day this month except one. Today, I may hit 10,000 steps, but only if I really push myself. In the cold. And snow. And win.

Could happen, though. I'm already past 5,000, and my car is parked more than 2 km from my office. So if the wind isn't blasting ice pellets into my face this evening, I'll walk to rehearsal and possibly hit 10,000 steps on the way.

Monday 24 November 2014 13:30:28 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Kitchen Sink | Weather | Work#
Friday 21 November 2014

Chicago's temperature dropped below freezing last Wednesday morning and has stayed there since. It's -13°C now, the coldest it's been during this period.

Fortunately some warmer, wetter air is pushing in from the south, and should arrive after midnight. The forecast calls for sustained 9°C temperatures (and non-stop rain) from Saturday morning through Monday afternoon, when another cool air mass will slide into the region and freeze us out again.

Welcome to winter in Chicago. Warm rain and frigid dryness, for three months.

Friday 21 November 2014 07:09:47 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Via the Illinois State Climatologist, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center has released the latest outlook for December through February:

First, there are two important notes about the winter forecast. One is that El Niño has not arrived yet, and if it does, it is expected to be mild.

The other point is that the current conditions are not always a reliable predictor of future conditions. In other words, just because we are having a cold November (9 degrees below average), that does not doom us to another cold winter. To give a recent example, November of 2012 was 1.3 degrees below average, while the following winter of 2012-13 was 3.0 degrees above average.

The first panel shows the temperature odds for December-February, our core winter months. Southern Illinois has a slightly elevated chance of colder-than-average temperatures as does most of the southern states. There is a stronger chance that temperatures will be above-average on the West Coast and Alaska.

The El Niño was earlier forecast to be slightly stronger than the current forecast has it, which is disappointing. We're still experiencing frigid temperatures here, and it's not even December yet. El Niño can mitigate the cold in Chicago if it's strong enough. Now it looks like we're going to have the usual amount of chill. Fie.

Thursday 20 November 2014 18:55:58 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 18 November 2014

We're joking in Chicago right now that we've skipped November and December and gone straight through to mid-January. Only, it's not really a joke, as temperatures early this morning got down to -12°C, almost 11°C below normal for November 18th—and, in fact, 3°C below normal for January 18th.

Moreover, the Northern Hemisphere today has greater snow cover this early than at any time since 1966. Fully 50% of the Continental U.S. is covered by snow, which is more than 3 times average.

Does this mean we'll have a colder-than-average winter? No. Chicago's forecast calls for above-normal temperatures this weekend followed by seasonal (read: above-freezing) temperatures through the first week of December. That will make Apollo's next performance, the wreath-laying ceremony at the Art Institute the day after Thanksgiving, more bearable.

This week has been barely bearable, though. But we press on; we persevere; we get our FitBit numbers in, even though bits of our bodies have frozen off.

Tuesday 18 November 2014 13:55:53 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Friday 14 November 2014

While not the Polar Vortex of yore, it's definitely colder in Chicago now, even a little below normal. In any event, Wednesday and yesterday were the first two days that failed to get above freezing since March 4th and 5th, 253 days ago.

And it snowed yesterday. Again, not horribly unreasonable for mid-November, but not entirely common, either. But nothing so far suggests that our mild summer will be followed by a really cold winter; and in fact, the long-range forecasts are pretty normal.

Friday 14 November 2014 09:49:15 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 11 November 2014

The first wintry cold front of the season has pushed through the Chicago area. Yesterday around this time we had a windy 16°C afternoon. Even as late as 6am the temperature still lingered around 12°C, not warm per se but pretty mild for November.

The cold front's leading edge hit around 7am and has now moved over the lake, leaving us with a chilly and gloomy 3°C evening and a forecast overnight wind chill below -10°C. Record cold temperatures are predicted next Monday and Tuesday.

Does this mean we're going to have another super-cold winter in Chicago? Probably not. Cold snaps happen; the Polar Vortex last year, that made the eastern U.S. the coldest spot in the world (relative to normal temperatures), was an extremely rare event.

Still, it might be time to break out the wool long johns...

Tuesday 11 November 2014 15:19:18 CST (UTC-06:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Monday 13 October 2014

Via the Illinois State Climatologist, NOAA has put out a two-page brochure outlining the El Niño forecast for this coming winter, and its benefits to the Chicago area:

While no two El Niño events are alike, the typical winter weather pattern brings the polar jet stream farther north than usual, across Canada, while the Pacific jet stream remains in the southern U.S. As a result, the upper Midwest to Great Lakes area can be warmer than normal, with drier-than-normal conditions across the Great Lakes toward the Ohio River Valley, and with less snow than usual in the upper Midwest Confidence in these patterns is higher with stronger El Niño events.

Odds still favor an El Niño forming by mid to late fall, with a 60-70% chance of development. There is a 30-40% chance for neutral conditions to continue through this winter, with a near-zero chance for La Niña to develop.

After last year's brutal winter, the worst we've had in 35 years, the phrase "warmer and drier than normal" sounds great. I vote Yes.

Monday 13 October 2014 13:11:25 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Saturday 11 October 2014

It's sunny and cool, and I have no remaining responsibilities that I know of for the afternoon. So Parker and I are going for a long walk.

Oh, and: Go Giants.

Saturday 11 October 2014 13:55:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | San Francisco | Weather#
Wednesday 8 October 2014

Last night's lunar eclipse had reached totality when I dragged Parker and myself out of the house around 5:30 this morning. Eclipses are always worth seeing, especially on a perfectly clear morning like today.

Now if I could just do something about the streetlights next time...

Wednesday 8 October 2014 09:29:52 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Weather | Astronomy#
Tuesday 7 October 2014

While I'm up to my eyeballs at work, I've got a backlog of articles to catch up on:

Once I've got some free time (maybe this afternoon) I'll talk about yesterday's Supreme Court non-decision that changes civil rights in the U.S. forever.

Tuesday 7 October 2014 13:16:16 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | US | Software | Weather#
Sunday 5 October 2014

Yesterday, Chicago had its third earliest snowfall in recorded history. The previous record was 22 September 1995. Yesterday morning's low of 2°C just barely missed the record0°C in 1989—and felt pretty damn cold for October when Parker and I went out first thing in the morning.

The forecast calls for seasonal temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday, but crappy rainy cold November-like weather tomorrow and Thursday. Wonderful. Because what Chicago needs in October is November weather.

On the other hand, we had only two days where the temperature hit 32°C all summer, so as they say in the UK, mustn't grumble. We'll have all winter to moan.

Sunday 5 October 2014 09:55:46 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Friday 3 October 2014

Yesterday morning I griped about how dark October mornings seem. Today it's raining. This causes a minor additional problem as Parker has a vet appointment in a little more than an hour, and I'm pretty much committed to walking him up there. So I guess we'll both get wet. What can you do? The weather these days.

Actually, all of this is just getting into the spirit of London ahead of my visit in two weeks. The English call this "having a moan." I still need some practice, clearly; a good English moaner would have been able to extend that last paragraph out for half an hour....

Friday 3 October 2014 07:31:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | London | Weather#
Monday 15 September 2014

We had spectacular weather across the region Saturday and yesterday. For our hike Saturday we had partly-cloudy skies, low humidity, and 14°C—nearly perfect. Here's Parker at the top of the trail, refusing to look at the camera:

Then, yesterday, I had my final Apollo audition up at Millar Chapel in Evanston. Again, perfect weather:

It's a little cloudy today, but otherwise cool and October-like. As far as I'm concerned, it can stay October-like for the next six months. Walking is good for you.

Also, can I just point out that the 16-megapixel camera that's just an add-on to my phone takes better photos than any even serious Pro-Am cameras from five years ago? Yikes.

Monday 15 September 2014 12:09:16 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Parker | Travel | Weather#
Friday 12 September 2014

Chicago—a lot of the country, in fact—is experiencing the coldest early-fall weather in a century:

Never before over the 143-year term of official Chicago records dating back to 1871 had a September 11th failed to produce a high temp which reached 14°C. Never, that is, until Thursday! The day’s 13°C midnight high set a record for the coolest Sept 11 on the books, effortlessly eclipsing the previous record of 15°C. Yesterday’s 13°C was 12°C below normal and 13°C cooler than the day before and, perhaps most significantly, the chilliest early season daytime high temperature which has occurred in the city over the past 97-years!

Oh, and it snowed in South Dakota yesterday. In September.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Coast continues their worst drought in forever...

Friday 12 September 2014 11:18:19 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Monday 8 September 2014

Meteorological autumn began last Monday, but as usual in early September we slouched through some sticky heat most of the week. Then Friday the weather broke, and this past weekend's weather was spectacular.

Partially because the lake was so cool from last winter, this summer we had only three 32°C days—fewer than in any year in history except 1979.

It gets better (i.e., cooler). The forecast calls for slightly-above-normal but comfortable days today and tomorrow, followed by a cooling trend taking temperatures down nearly 9°C by Friday. Because this is Chicago, where we go from shorts to jackets in less than a week.

Unfortunately, I'm going to spend tomorrow in Phoenix and Wednesday in Louisville, where it will be ghastly warm. Oh well.

Monday 8 September 2014 08:37:30 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Sunday 7 September 2014

I haven't posted a lot this weekend because the weather has been too nice. Yesterday and today Chicago has had temperatures around 23°C, sunny skies, and gentle breezes. It's hard to stay inside, even with the windows open.

And in the evening, our annual cicadas are finally out. Talk about getting a nice buzz on a late-summer evening...

Yesterday Parker got more than two hours of walks; today he'll get at least an hour, though I'm likely to get a lot more as well. (My phone's pedometer says I got 13.3 km yesterday and only 3.9 km so far today.)

Posting might be slow this week because of an odd travel schedule, too. More on that later.

Sunday 7 September 2014 13:04:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather | Work#
Monday 1 September 2014

Good morning. It's the 1st day of September, 2014, and meteorological summer is over. School is back, Labor Day is upon us (but only in the U.S., where it doesn't remind anyone of actual labor struggles), and I've had Parker for 8 full years. (The annual Parker Day photo will have to wait until he and I are both back home. I know, this is the second year running that I've missed the day itself. I hope he forgives me.)

On the whole, summer wasn't bad. Autumn should be fine as well: I'm attending a dear friend's wedding this month, going to London next month, and in between, aiming to walk Parker as much as our legs can carry us. Cleveland will be involved as well, though to what extent, I don't yet know.

Still, I'm not sure where summer actually went. May doesn't seem that long ago.

Monday 1 September 2014 07:20:28 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Parker | Travel | Weather | Astronomy#
Friday 29 August 2014

Jim Angel, the Illinois State Climatologist, wrote yesterday that Chicago-area precipitation seems to have shifted around 1965:

First of all, northeast Illinois (Cook and several surrounding counties – see map below) has experienced a shift in precipitation over the last 120 years. This plot shows the amounts for each year as green dots, and an 11-year running average showing longer periods of dry conditions (brown) and wet conditions (green). There is a pretty remarkable shift from a drier climate between 1895 and 1965 with lots of brown, towards a wetter climate from 1966 to present where green dominates.

If you compare the average annual precipitation between the two periods, you get 836 mm for the earlier period and 935 mm for the later period. That is a 99 mm increase, or about 12 percent.

Of course, we have still experienced drought conditions in this later wet period, as noted in 2005 and 2012. However, the wetter years far outnumber the dry years since 1965. BTW, this pattern is not unique. I have seen this across the state.

So, with slightly warmer weather, milder winters, and more precipitation, it looks like Illinois might suffer less from climate change than other parts of the country. However, those conditions have led to increasing insect populations and more-frequent large precipitation events, with non-trivial costs.

At least we're not in South Florida, which not only faces complete inundation from rising sea levels, but also a climate-denying Congressional delegation.

Friday 29 August 2014 07:22:20 PDT (UTC-07:00)  |  | Chicago | Geography | US | Weather#
Sunday 17 August 2014

The Chicago Air and Water Show may not happen today because of rare weather conditions:

[T]he Chicago National Weather Service said "rare low clouds" are impacting the Air and Water show. Low clouds have a ceiling height of 1,000 feet, the weather service said. Only 2 to 3 percent of August days have had low clouds since 1973, the weather service said.

Now, skipping the foggy understanding of weather terms and government agencies the ABC reporter showed in that paragraph, it doesn't look good for the show. Right now conditions the lakefront has low instrument meteorological conditions due to a 125 m ceiling (somewhere around the 60th floor of most downtown buildings) and 6 km visibility. The latest forecast calls for more clouds.

We've had a cool, wet summer, following a record-cold winter, so Lake Michigan is just a huge fog maker lately. Yesterday was warm and sunny, but in the past 12 hours a low pressure system has passed directly overhead bringing northeast winds and draping a cold front across the region. It's 6°C warmer in Aurora and Kankakee than it is in Waukegan or Racine, for example.

So, thousands of people are disappointed today. Still, it's quiet and cool in Lincoln Park right now. That's not a horrible outcome.

Sunday 17 August 2014 13:38:45 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Chicago | Weather#
Thursday 14 August 2014

I mentioned over a month ago that, given some free time, I would fix the search feature on Weather Now. Well, I just deployed the fix, and it's kind of cool.

I used Lucene.NET as the search engine, incorporating it into the Inner Drive Gazetteer that underlies the geographic information for Weather Now. I won't go into too many details about it right now, except that I was surprised at how much the index writer was able to crunch and store (in Azure blobs). The entire index takes up 815 MB of blob space. That's so small a fraction of a cent per month I can't even calculate it right now.

The indexing process took about 6 minutes per 500,000 rows. (The entire database has 7.25 million rows.) It helped that I ran the indexing process on an Azure virtual machine, because at one point during index optimization I clocked the data throughput at 200 Mbps. Yes, two hundred megabits per second. The entire index ran in a little less than two hours on a VM while I was doing other things. And once the index initializes in the Weather Now app, searches only take a second or so.

Go ahead. Try a search. Put in your ZIP code or the name of a prominent building near you.

I still have a lot I want to do with the application, including updating it to a responsive theme and MVC, but this is a pretty big leap.

Thursday 14 August 2014 16:23:11 EDT (UTC-04:00)  |  | Cloud | Cool links | Weather | Windows Azure#
Wednesday 13 August 2014

Yep. As I feared, the Indians game last night got postponed, but not before the Tribe got ahead by one. And then:

In the moments shortly before the Tribe's game against the D-backs was postponed, [Cleveland players] Aviles, Kipnis and Chisenhall sprinted from the dugout, ran across the tarp and slid headfirst through the puddles and raindrops to the delight of the fans who remained. It was an entertaining ending to a game that was wiped out following a delay that lasted three hours and 40 minutes.

Cleveland's lone run came courtesy of an RBI double in the third inning by Kipnis, who no longer has that hit on his statistical record.

That may or may not have made him easily swayed by Aviles.

"I lost my double, so I was emotional. And an RBI," Kipnis said with a smirk. "I didn't know which way was up. I was easily influenced."

So, everything that we saw there yesterday...didn't count. Because in baseball, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes...it rains.

Regardless, thanks to the Cleveland Client for taking us to Progressive Field. And in no small irony, the tickets we used were from a previous rain-out, so if they want, the people who took us can go to the game today at 4:05 pm. Which—wait for it—might be rained out.

Wednesday 13 August 2014 08:51:56 EDT (UTC-04:00)  |  | Baseball | Travel | Weather | Work#
Friday 1 August 2014

Last month tied the record for the coolest July in state history:

The statewide average temperature for July was 21.3°C in Illinois, which ties the record cool July of 21.3°C set back in 2009.

As this plot indicates, the observed range in July monthly temperatures in Illinois is 7°C. On another note, the July 2014 average temperature is based on preliminary data so it is very likely that we will break the tie with 2009 as more data arrives.

The state climatologist has a map:

So Illinois was the country's cool spot back in January and again in July. I have to say, it's a lot better to do that in July.

Friday 1 August 2014 15:11:23 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Tuesday 29 July 2014

Climate outlooks for the U.S. are coalescing around a pleasantly cool summer in Chicago:

Illinois climatologist Jim Angel explains:

As we approach the end of July the statewide average temperature in Illinois is 21.4°C degrees, which currently puts it in second place for the coldest July on record.

Here is how the previous top 10 coldest July temperatures for Illinois looked and what happened in the following August.... In 8 out of the 10 cases, the following August was colder than average. However, two of those “colder” August’s were marginally so (1924 and 1996). The one spectacular reversal was in 1947, where August was 4.0°C degrees above average after the 3rd coldest July. Therefore there is a historical tendency for cooler weather to prevail into August.

After the brutal winter we had six months ago (three months ago?), most people in Chicago welcome July and August afternoons like this. I'm even wearing a jacket to the game tonight, while I'm saving a bundle on air conditioning.

Tuesday 29 July 2014 12:22:26 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#

Client deliverables and tonight's Cubs game have compressed my day a little. Here's what I haven't had time to read:

Now back to the deliverable...

Tuesday 29 July 2014 12:00:52 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | Kitchen Sink | US | Weather#
Monday 28 July 2014

Keep your pants on. I'm referring to the London Underground, which last week got "journalists" to copy and paste a story they ran five years ago. It turns out, the Tube is too hot:

It’s not fair to compare London’s cramped commuters to cattle; right now, livestock actually get the better deal. As temperatures in the U.K.’s capital push towards 32°C for the second week running, heat levels in London’s Tube and bus system have now risen above the EU limit at which it is legal to transport cows, sheep, and pigs. The highest recorded temperature on the network so far this year is 35°C, 5°C above the permissible 30°C for livestock.

I thought that sounded familiar. For comparison, here's the story from August 2009:

A map which reveals the hottest spots on London's underground system has been revealed to commuters.

The map of zones 1 and 2 shows temperatures over above 35°C have been recorded in some areas - making the trains officially unfit for transporting cattle.

The Central line had some of the worst spots, while the Bakerloo line also felt the heat when the map was compiled.

It turns out, I was in London in August 2009, and I remember really hating the temperature as the Circle Line got round to Tower Hill. Glad to see the city have kept some traditions going.

Monday 28 July 2014 17:48:35 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | London | Travel | Weather#
Search
On this page....
Worst blizzard ever?
This morning, Lincoln Park
Noted for later
Ah, memories
Still the greatest city in North America
Right. January.
Too busy to write something interesting
Welcome to the real winter
Not the forecast I was hoping for
Winter is here
Things to review in the next 38 hours
OK, we got the record, now stop
Before returning to Chicago
Heading home to a snow-free December
Chicago dodged a weather bullet today
Feeling gloomy?
Post-holiday-party link roundup
Cold open, then warm-up
Thank you, National Weather Service
Last big walk of the year, probably
Cold returning later this morning
Fall ends in reverse
Nice turnaround
Cold front
Early cold snap on its way out
Latest climate outlook: normal temperatures, but dryer
Cold, snowy November
Autumn chill is upon us
Eight months since it was this cold
El Niño expected this fall
Quick and meaningless
Got up early, took a look, went back to bed
Link round-up
Cold open
It's worse
Photos from this weekend
I'm all for autumn weather, but...
First hints of autumn
Not crickets; cicadas
September already?
Not my grandfather's climate
Fog and water show
Weather Now gazetteer now really, really fast
Indians take the lead, and the skies open up
Cool Illinois
Much better in August than January
Tuesday afternoon link round-up
Steaming hot Tube of love
Countdowns
The Daily Parker +3364d 00h 35m
Berlin 12d 05h 13m
Parker's 9th birthday 137d 12h 38m
My next birthday 218d 16h 43m
Categories
Aviation (351) Baseball (110) Best Bars (8) Biking (44) Chicago (937) Cubs (197) Duke (133) Geography (341) Higher Ground (5) Jokes (284) Kitchen Sink (671) London (59) Parker (195) Daily (204) Photography (145) Politics (303) US (1109) World (260) Raleigh (21) Readings (8) Religion (66) San Francisco (93) Software (209) Blogs (78) Business (235) Cloud (90) Cool links (138) Security (101) Travel (243) Weather (717) Astronomy (91) Windows Azure (61) Work (92) Writing (10)
Links
Archive
<January 2015>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
28293031123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
1234567
Full archive
Blogroll
About
David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
Legal
All content Copyright ©2015 David Braverman.
Creative Commons License
The Daily Parker by David Braverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License, excluding photographs, which may not be republished unless otherwise noted.
Admin Login
Sign In
Blog Stats
Total Posts: 4653
This Year: 39
This Month: 39
This Week: 7
Comments: 0