Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Southerly winds ahead of a developing low pressure area in the lower Ohio Valley are bringing mild conditions to most of the East Coast this afternoon. Temperatures are above freezing everywhere except northernmost New England, and the 60s are being observed as far north as northern and western West Virginia. Aided by strong upper level support (For the geeks, that means "positive vorticity advection" and a "negative tilt" to the trough axis), squall lines broke out in early afternoon from southern Ohio through Kentucky and in the western Carolinas.

By 3pm, temperatures at all reporting locations in the Washington DC metro area were in the 50s, except for the river-contaminated readings at National and Quantico. At 4pm, however, the official temperature did make it to 51. Radar is showing some showers scattered from north of Pittsburgh through West Virginia into southwest Virginia.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Latest indications are that any serious showers won't arrive in our area until around midnight tonight, ending by mid afternoon. The heaviest rain should be well to the south, through the eastern Carolinas and far southeast Virginia. There is a 70% chance of rain by morning with low temperatures from 41 to 45. Rain probabilities will decrease to 40% by early afternoon tomorrow with highs around 50.


I've been a scifi fan ever since I discovered the Tom Swift, Jr. series not long after they were originally published. One current author who's been below my radar screen, however, is Kim Stanley Robinson, since I'm still working through the backlog of books acquired in a decade of the annual New Year's sales at the Golden Notebook. Robinson has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, which scifi fans will recognize as two of the most prestigious awards in the field. His book, Forty Signs of Rain, published last year, was recommended by Books from the Crypt of North Potomac in the book issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in May. It was the first in a trilogy about the effects of climate change right here in River City.

The second book, Fifty Degrees Below, was recently published, and it was reviewed in the WaPo Style section last week. The author was interviewed by the UK Guardian back in September in connection with the publication of the latest book:
"In the wake of a tropical storm, a low-lying American city is drowning. Buildings are demolished and bridges knocked out; tens of thousands of people are without electricity or fresh water; hospitals are bursting at the seams with the sick and the dead."
The city, in this case, is not New Orleans, but Washington DC, which has been flooded at the end of the first book. The premise of the second book is a severe cooling triggered by the shutdown of the Gulf Stream. This is similar to that of "The Day After Tomorrow", but apparently much more scientifically plausible.

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