26 January 2015

a few minutes, and a slip

The nice weather got me outsiode long enough to move some of my weather gear.  The wind sensor was too close top the house to feel anything except east and west winds, so I drilled a tall 2x3 post into a wood retaining wall that is exposed in all directions.  It only took a few minutes.*  We shall see how much it helps, as the trees surrounding the yard also make east-west airflow moprew likely.

* While making this happen I climbed up on a slippery piece of wood to reach the anemometer's old location.  Sure enough I slipped tumbled and fell, and now await a large purple badge of incompetence which should soon appear on my right thigh.  Wow it hurts!

25 January 2015

Reports from the weather service

Another no-snow birthday.  It seems my day is forever doomed to be in the warm sector between cold fronts!  I can recall wet snow in ¿1969? and a few flurries in 2009, otherwise warm and/or wet.  If '69 is correct then both times it followed after the two snowiest Decembers in my life, spaced precisely forty years apart.  Curious!

Record high temperature set for January 24 at multiple locations ... 
Location 2015 high temp old record (year) 
Troutdale 63 degrees 61 degrees (1984) 
Salem.... 64 degrees 64 degrees (1935) tied 
Eugene... 68 degrees 65 degrees (1935)
Portland 1 degree off record at 59°

Today is nearly 60° in the valleys, closer to 70 along the coast but merely clear and 56 here on the hill-top.  It was still enough to step out and do some yard work, so I'll ache tomorrow!

Late in the day about 200 crows crossed the sky - now that's a murder!

18 January 2015

a more typical storm

Last night's storm dropped nearly two inches of rain, putting our Penultimate Homely House at 7 1/3 inches for January.  A few small slumps appeared on our commute road with the last 4-inch storm, but nothing shows any issues from this storm - though sometimes it takes a day or two to drain before hillsides finally succumb to gravity and H²O lubrication.  Portland had almost the same amount of rain as we did here, so this time the storm covered both sites!

Between the storms we were able to view comet Lovejoy C/2104 Q2 - see some amazing images at this site.  I took a few images from our deck where the comet was visible without need of optical aid, but binoculars were even better.  No sign of the tail in my quick images or through even the large binocs, but it was fine to see this visitor as it passed.  I also took in the Pleiades, M35 and Orion's great nebula before deciding I was substantially under-dressed, and L√≥rien and I went back inside.

Here's my basic image.  The fuzziness is from cirrus clouds covering the lower-left part of the image.  Taken with the nx300 and 30mm f/2.

06 January 2015

nearly famous!

As I mentioned previously, I'm now a spotter for the National Weather Service.  When exceptional weather strikes our site, I can call in and let them know; this helps to improve models & warnings so it's a good thing.  My report of 4.02" appears in one of their summary reports that went public, much to my surprise!  We had about 2.2" after noon on the 3rd then 1.8" after midnight on Sunday the 4th.

I'm pretty sure that's a personal record for rainfall upon my roof or head, as I don't believe that Portland has had 3 inches or more in 24 hours. I might be wrong though!  I did get 2½" once in Chattanooga TN in early 1996 as I recall, that was a good day to be indoors!  Oaxaca Mexico, Askeaton Ireland.. nope.  I recall one wet day in England, 9/14/01 I believe (yes the week of the 9/11 attacks), but nothing like this downpour.

The price must be paid for such moisture: floods have taken out the beach road from here, and landslides could still happen as the soil drains.  The largest demonstration is in the thick fog that now fills the lowlands; I drove out of it with only a hundred feet of uphill travel but it's impressively dense in town.

02 January 2015

the Stick

I first saw the Stick just before Christmas.  Perhaps a recent rain washed it down to the road, maybe it fell off a car roof; in any case it was lying alongside the road partway up the hill to our home.  It was quite distinctive - no bark, pale white and a bit twisted.  I decided it was there for me, so I was trying to figure on a good way to get that Stick.  The road by the Stick is equally twisty, so a hasty stop with 4way flashers was not advisable!  Fortunately a turnout was nearby so today I had enough daylight to park & safely walk back to where the Stick patiently waited.

The Stick was longer and heftier than I suspected, but I picked it up and jogged back to the car.  It did not quite fit so I had to tie down the tailgate while the Stick jutted out the back.  Once home I took its picture and leaned it against the house.  What a fine Stick I have!

What's next for the Stick?  I am not sure.  I could whittle it down to a walking-Stick or use it as part of a Significant Construction.  Or it could just prop up vegetables in this year's garden.  Something tells me that Stick is destined to be special though.  We shall see! :-)