Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Mid-day update

Today's menu
Momma Nature lost all track of the calendar down at the Weather Grill, so they've had to clean out the freezer by putting lots of winter leftovers on the menu. They were in such a rush that they didn't take the time to thaw all the ingredients; many meals were sent back to the kitchen yesterday. Today's lunch specials include more below-January-normal temperatures, and the breeze gusting over 20 mph makes it feel even colder. Around the area, temperatures were barely reaching the freezing mark at noon, heading for a high no more than the upper 30's. It's also very dry, with dewpoints in the single digits; without the wind, it would have been even colder last night than the official low of 20.

A bit of history
In the classic words of SCTV, our low pressure area from yesterday "blowed up real good" in the Gulf of Maine. The isobars are crowded so close together on this morning's weather map that it's a bit hard to read, but I think I see the digits "962" as the minimum pressure in mb. This is stronger than all except one of the 20 classic snowstorms from 1955-85 analyzed by Kocin and Uccellini in their book "Snowstorms Along the Northeastern Coast of the United States". (I notice from the news at the link above that TVLand will be airing SCTV beginning March 18. If you're too young to have seen this before, stay up late, clear the space on your TiVo, do whatever it takes, you must watch. This just in from the Irony Dept: The blogger spell-check suggests "castoff" as an alternative to "SCTV".)

Contest faux pas
Our FROPA contest seems to have been a faux pas, since we don't have any entries. If we get some T-shirts printed up, will that help next time? It seemed like a good idea, but it didn't get reviewed by the quality control folks at the Weather Grill. Because of the dynamic nature of weather data and the Web, it's not that easy to find a verifiable record of 24-hour temperature changes. When I tried to check the recent history at the local high school, I got the message "Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC Drivers error '80040e07' " Thank you, Mr. Bill! The nearby middle school came through, however. The biggest 24-hour temperature drop I found was at 1pm, just after the snow ended yesterday, when the temperature of 27.5 was a whopping 41.9 degrees below Monday's at the same time. There were 5 hours which had day-to-day temperature drops over 40 degrees. These temperature changes are much more characteristic of the Midwest than the East Coast.

Still hope for spring
Despite the latest antics of the Weather Grill kitchen crew, spring is still on the way. The first estimate of the peak for the cherry blossoms in Washington is April 4-9.

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