The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

You wanted rain, California?

A collection of weather phenomena off the west coast of North America, including a bomb cyclone, will give northern California record rainfall over the next day and a half:

Amid an exceptional drought that has wrought havoc on California for years, a Level 5 out of 5 atmospheric river is soaking the region, dumping double-digit rainfall totals and up to six feet of mountain snow. This heavy precipitation will help ease the drought but produce dangerous mudslides and debris flows in areas recently devastated by fires.

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow swaths of exceptionally moist air, sometimes sourced from the tropics, that can produce excessive amounts of precipitation.

“It will be a wild 24 to 36 hours across northern California as we will see an extreme and possible historic atmospheric river push through the region,” wrote the National Weather Service in Sacramento, calling it a “dangerous, high-impact weather system.”

Flash flood watches are up for most of Central and Northern California, blanketing some of the same areas that went upward of six months without a stitch of measurable rain. Sacramento recorded its first 0.01 inches of rain last week since March 19, capping off a record-setting 222 days without precipitation. Now it is bracing for more than half a foot of rain and flooding.

The storm offshore of the Pacific Northwest driving this atmospheric river into the coastline rapidly intensified at a staggering rate. Meteorologists refer to a storm as a “bomb” if its minimum central air pressure drops by 24 millibars or more in 24 hours, signifying intense and speedy “deepening.” That sucks in more air and allows the storm to intensify.

This particular storm strengthened at twice that rate as a “double bomb” with its pressure tanking to 943 millibars, which, according to the Weather Service, would make it “the strongest known system for the area.”

Over the mainland United States, such low atmospheric pressure is practically unheard of. Even on the East Coast, where cyclones regularly strengthen into massive nor’easters, pressures seldom fall this low. The powerful March 1993 “superstorm,” among the most intense and damaging storms ever to strike the United States, bottomed out at “only” 960 millibars.

Welcome to climate change: seven months without rain, then nothing but rain for two days. Fun.

Here in Chicago we just have a normal gray rainy October afternoon. I'm glad we don't have to worry about 150 mm of rain in the next four hours.

Crisp fall morning

Cassie and I both love these crystal-clear autumn days in Chicago, though as far as I know she spent her first two autumns in Tennessee. Does Nashville have crisp fall mornings? I don't know for sure, and Cassie won't say.

I meant to highlight these stories yesterday but got into the deep flow of refactoring:

I will now make Cassie drool buckets by using salmon skin as a training tool.

Happy Mason-Dixon Day

On this day in 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey of the disputed Maryland-Pennsylvania border, which became even more contentious in 1780 when Pennsylvania aboolished slavery. A group of surveyors started re-surveying the border in 2019; I can't find out whether they finished.

Meanwhile, 255 years later, politics is still mostly local:

Finally, Chicago has perfectly clear skies for only the third time this month after yesterday and the 4th, getting only 39% of possible sunshine for almost the past three weeks.

Busy day, time to read the news

Oh boy:

Cassie has bugged me for the last hour, even though we went out two hours ago. I assume she wants dinner. I will take care of that presently.

Blazing 5G

About that new phone, I have to say, I am very impressed with T-Mobile's new 5G network:

Also note that temperature bug in the upper-left corner. Yes, it was 26°C yesterday afternoon in Chicago. For comparison, October 10th has a normal high temperature of 18.2°C. June 7th has a normal high of 26°C. I hope autumn actually starts sometime this month.

Busy day in the news

So many things this morning, including a report not yet up on WBEZ's website about the last Sears store in Chicago. (I'll find it tomorrow.)

  • Jennifer Rubin advises XPOTUS "critics and democracy lovers" to leave the Republican Party.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) completely caved against a unified Democratic Party and will vote to extend the (probably-unconstitutional) debt limit another three months.
  • An abolitionist's house from 1869 may get landmark approval today from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. (It's already in the National Register of Historic Places).
  • Could interurban trains come back?
  • Arts critic Jo Livingstone has a mixed review of No Time to Die, but I still plan to see it this weekend.
  • 18 retired NBA players face wire-fraud and insurance-fraud charges for allegedly scamming the NBA's Health and Welfare Benefit Plan out of $4 million.
  • Even though we've had early-September temperatures the past week, we've also had only 19% of possible sunlight, and only 8% in the past six days. We have not seen the sun since Monday, in fact, making the steady 19°C temperature feel really depressing.
  • Two new Black-owned breweries will go on the Brews and Choos list soon.
  • Condé Nast has named Chicago the best big city in the US for the fifth year running.

Finally, President Biden is in Chicago today, promoting vaccine mandates. But because of the aforementioned clouds, I have no practical way of watching Air Force One flying around the city.

Update, 12:38 CDT: The sun is out!

Update, 12:39 CDT: Well, we had a minute of it, anyway.

First Monday of October

The United States Supreme Court began their term earlier today, in person for the first time since March 2020. Justice Brett Kavanagh (R) did not attend owing to his positive Covid-19 test last week.

In other news:

So how did facebook.com disappear from root DNS, the day after 60 Minutes aired a segment on Haugen?

Warmest September in 50 years

Chicago finished September with an average temperature of 21.27°C, making it the 5th-warmest on record, and almost tying September 1971's 21.33°C. Meanwhile, the NCDC predicts warmer-than-normal temperatures through the end of next week.

This shows one of the ways global warming will actually make Chicago a better place to live. If trends continue, we'll continue to have warmer and wetter winters than the historical norms, at the cost of warmer and drier summers. The downside, of course, is drought, and most of Northern Illinois desperately needs rain—especially this close to the harvest. (Just not too much rain, because, you know, harvest.)

For now, though, I love the sunny and comfortable (mid-20s during the day, high-10s overnight) weather this time of year.

Sure Happy It's Tuesday

Actually, I'm ecstatic that a cold front blew in off the lake yesterday afternoon, dropping the temperature from 30°C to 20°C in about two hours. We went from teh warmest September 27th in 34 years to...autumn. Finally, some decent sleepin' weather!

Meanwhile:

And though the article could use an editor, Whisky Advocate has a short bit on Aaron Sorkin's love of whisky in his movies.

Not a dilemma my ancestors faced

My apartment has 30 windows, and at the moment all 28 of the ones I can reach are open. But the temperature keeps ticking up. Right now my office is a comfortable 25°C with a gentle breeze passing through. The Nest sensor in my bedroom reads 23°C, also a lovely temperature for the end of September.

Tonight, however, I would like to sleep, and at 23°C I feel too warm to sleep well. I prefer it around, oh, 17-18°C. I can do all right at 21°C.

So: do I wait for the temperature to fall naturally after the sun goes down in a bit less than three hours? Or do I hit the A/C? The NWS says it'll be 21°C by 11pm and 17°C right before sunrise.

See? My ancestors didn't have to think about this when they wandered the savannahs of Africa 100,000 years ago. They just had to worry about lions.