Cold White

Saturday, 14 February 2015 11:40
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
Valentine's Day here in Allendale and we're not seeing red -- it's white. Visibility is quite poor outside, with snow and blowing snow and high winds. We've been waiting for the weekend temperature-falling-off-a-cliff for a week. Current forecast for Saturday night is low of -10°F and wind chills down to -23°F -- which is better than the -35°F wind chills they had listed the other day, or the -22.1°F actual temp one model had.

Monday I go out to get a repeat MRI on my foot. I suppose I should have gotten gas when I was out on Thursday, a lovely day. But I figured to go out Friday afternoon so I wouldn't have to do it Monday morning. At 2pm I checked the weather and there was a winter weather advisory starting at 3pm, so out I went. Though the temperature was 21°F there was a very icy cold steady wind. I have two winter coats, one I wear for much of the winter and also as a raincoat, though it's a bit warm. The big blue parka, though, is for serious weather.

Friday was probably only the second time I had to wear the blue parka this winter. But getting it on at the gas station, well... Given the blood thinners I'm on, I feel the cold so much more these days, especially in my hands. The blue parka is a little unwieldy anyway, and one of its Velcro straps latched onto the carpeting on the open driver's door -- which explained why I couldn't hike the coat up and find the left sleeve. (grin) When I got home there were big flakes in large numbers coming down, so I took a picture with the N2020 from the garage -- often the finer snows just don't show up well on the digital cameras.

By 4pm the snow was picking up and every time I glanced out the window, visibility was getting worse. Total snow volume was low, just a lot of air with snow blowing around. By the time I went to bed around 4pm, after a very productive ~5000 word writing day, it was still 24°F.

Snow started up around 11am. Just now Weather Channel on the web says it's 9°F with winds 24mph, gusting to 35 -- wind chill running about -12°F. And then came the ruckus outside. We were getting plowed. I grabbed the Kindle Fire HD and took a quick picture:

Not sure who has a white pickup with a blade... oh wait. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

We've been very grateful to our neighbors to the west and south, who each have John Deere lawn tractors -- one with a blade and one with a snow thrower attachment. When the one neighbor's machine was broken, we did get plowed by a pickup last January by a neighbor of a neighbor (DW). But in doing my research that was a blue pickup, not a white one. And it's not the same blade. So now I don't know who our Good Samaritan was.

You could argue that it's overkill -- we're only talking about four inches or so by now. But it's good to start with a clear base and it is going to get colder, so I can appreciate getting out now and doing some plowing.

I'm not going to argue with them. (double-trouble-grin)

It's a good weekend to stay home. And one of the recipes will be my father's sweet cabbage soup. Mrs. Dr. Phil is doing something in the kitchen involving a mixer right now. I don't know what's going on, but it's too much fun to not ask. Maybe there'll be beaters to lick. (triple-double-grin)

Realistically, it's nothing like we had in the U.P. Or the beating that Boston and Maine and New England has been getting.

Meanwhile, back to the YA trilogy. I killed someone off late last night. Good old Google -- I was able to find the exact intersection in a small town in Denmark I wanted using Google Maps satellite view. Important because it happens off-stage and I need a police detective to deliver the report. Perfect for Valentine's Day. (evil-writers-grin) Echo is playing the Saturday WGVU-FM NPR lineup -- This American Life followed by The TED Radio Hour -- and I've got my headphones on with a playlist playing.

This future in 2015? It's not so bad...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
It's been a busy week and it's only half over. It started with glasses.

For a while we alternated glasses each year. And I've had some of the same titanium safety frames which I have alternated relensing, as well. Alas, my skin acids tend to eat away plating, so the gold tone on my titanium frames deteriorates -- on the other hand, cheaper glasses leave big green marks in the summer with painful galvanic reactions -- so it's still been an improvement.

Alas², neither of my titanium frames for regular or reading glasses are still made. I probably got ten years out of the old designs and the reading/computer bifocals are okay. So I found another titanium safety frame... which is also being discontinued. Had to get the frames they had in the office.

Picked them up on Monday and since I wear glasses all the time, my look is TOTALLY different. I shot two self-portraits with the D1 -- big heavy iron pro cameras don't do no "selfies".

The old glasses... and the new. Completely different look! (Click on photos for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

By Wednesday I needed to go back and get the nose and ear pieces adjusted and took some pictures.

We thought the last plowing of our driveway was done by our dueling neighbors, but from the tracks it is clear that rabbits were responsible for clearing the snow and building these snow walls. Shot at 1/25th of a second at f22 to try to show the breeze motion. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

68th Avenue at Lake Michigan Drive, finally looking like a Michigan winter in town. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Our dentists and eye doctors officers are in the same building in the Edgewater office park. There's a nearby pond. The D1 has trouble with snow highlights, but like the old 1970s Agfrachrome CT18 slide film, it does a nice job on neutral colors. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

It was this snow layered pine I saw on Monday, still there on Wednesday, that I wanted to shoot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Am I surprised that the TruValue Hardware store has such straight sided sidewalk cuts? After a dry December and a mixed January, February started aggressively enough that West Michigan is above average for snowfall to date, though still behind last winter. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

I liked these spidery weeds in the snow out front. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Tonight we're supposed to go near- or sub-zero as we get a bit of an Arctic blast. No serious snow until maybe next week?

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
I went to bed before 4am last night -- the snow had finally started and I could see from the front porch light that surfaces like the heat pump outside had a fine coating of white.

We watched it snow all day. Very fine, almost dry. But it was coming out of the east and at steep angles to the vertical -- this is never a good sign.

Then came the incomplete reports that Detroit area schools were starting to close for Monday. And the snow over Chicago had stalled -- some areas up to two feet already -- and "Heather, it's still snowing." Chicago schools closed.

A message Mrs. Dr. Phil got on Facebook said that Western and Eastern were both closed. Sure enough, a check of Western Michigan University -- the university that never closes -- had pulled the plug first, sometime before 9:30pm Super Bowl Sunday night:

I had been betting that WMU might close before Grand Valley -- last night's forecast had Kalamazoo and areas along I-94 and south getting more snow than along I-96.

It's still snowing here, but is it a lot? Are the roads too slippery? Don't know. But GVSU did close the library at 6pm tonight. We'll see...

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
So, earlier this week, I talked about on Monday (DW) twice (DW) and Wednesday (DW) how Winter Storm Juno / Blizzard '15 actually forced an incoming storm to stall and go around West Michigan.

Pictures, or it didn't happen. This is not gloating, BTW, but merely observation.

Tuesday, as opposed to the total shutdown of air, sea, rail and highway, this was my drive down US-131 to Kalamazoo around 11:30am. There'd been clouds to the south, but they soon disappeared. BTW, this is Exit 61 coming up and the big sign on the left is to the Gun Lake Casino. The vehicle in the median isn't the state police but MDOT or Allegan County maintenance. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Pulling into my handicapped spot, I noticed that there'd be considerable melt since the previous Thursday, but they also hadn't cleared this one sidewalk connector directly in front of the Blazer, so I would have to take the sidewalk to the left and then jog to the right. This student with a dark purple jacket and blue backpack cut in front of me, so I had to wait -- sure enough she turned and provided some humanity for the shot. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Steps leading down to the front garden area. Shot through the window screen. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)
Compare to...

This was three weeks ago -- full set here.

Wider angle shot showing patches of clear in lawn and the driveway. Yup, not very threatening here. Certainly didn't stop the rabbits from scampering around. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2015 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

All current photos taken with the Nikon D1 and a 35-70mm f3.3-4.5 AF-NIKKOR. The D1 isn't ideal for snow, it's 1st gen DSLR sensor tends to blow out highlights, but it does nicely with neutral colors and I am always surprised at how well the digital war horse works.

Thursday, we had freezing rain overnight, but not much more than a tenth of an inch -- Mrs. Dr. Phil had some detail-work she could do at home. It snowed on and off, but by afternoon the open patches of ground hadn't filled in very much. Today, Friday, was mostly overcast with a little sun.

January 2015 is closing with much more snow here than December 2014, and there were snow days for schools AND universities, but still not anything like New England. February is going to start with cold and snow. How much? We shall see...

It is FAR too early to call this winter a bust in West Michigan compared to the long harsh winter last year.

Dr. Phil
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Crossposted on LiveJournal
dr_phil_physics: (snowflakes-4)
Monday night watched MSNBC all evening to watch the pre-game coverage of Blizzard '15, aka Winter Storm Juno. Buffalo was yawning at predictions of up to 26" of snow in some places east of them. Not after eight feet in a similar timeline just some weeks ago.

So let's review:
Global Warming does NOT mean no snow or cold
Weather is NOT Climate
Weather Forecasts are NOT Prophecies
Predictions are NOT Certainties
Accuracy is NOT Precision
Weather Forecasts are NOT Weather Control
But they got it wrong, some whine. New York was not buried!


The forecasts are wrong a lot!

Okay, let's think about this. One of the reasons why forecasts are off is that we have more of them. I frequently on this blog mock storm forecasts that never materialize, but that's more mocking the We Are ALL Going to DIE coverage by the media. Storm Center 8. Severe Weather Center 3. These are just two of our Grand Rapids TV stations. And it's still Severe Weather Center 3 when the forecast is for sunny and 60°F.

I put The Weather Channel app on my Kindle Fire HD. Right now, if I were to turn it on, it'd not only give me a 10-day forecast, but for the first day or two it'd give me hour-to-hour forecasts. Now with that many forecasts, isn't it reasonable that some of them are going to be off? And predicting the exact track and production of a storm from two weeks out... the science gives you some idea, but not the same as weather on the ground when it comes.

As it should be.

And let's not forget, this morning there were still reports of 78mph winds in Nantucket. And Boston did get clobbered. And New York? Although we heard apologies from the mayor and the National Weather Service, frankly, I think it's a lot of hooey. This was the forecast, they had information from several days out and decided to clear the streets and highways and skies and rails ahead of time, so that people wouldn't get stuck or wrecked and need rescuing, either in the heart of the storm or just when the crews were needed to move this shit out of the way. NPR this afternoon pointed out that with airlines canceling so many thousands of flights, it left equipment in place, rather than diverting it or out of position, so when things start up again everything will be in the right place at the right time.

For gosh sakes they showed snowplows in one coastal town plowing a little snow -- and sea water off the streets from the storm surge. This is not an everyday or trivial event.

We don't have climate control. I don't know that we want climate control, because like the Mississippi River and other giant things we try to control, Nature will try to force things back and we won't like it. Making a nice day for a picnic here, might create a hurricane over there instead. I learned that from A Wizard of Earthsea. (grin) Systems and the interactions between systems. This is big stuff.

But the Farmer's Almanac gets it right and they just use a secret formula!

The Old Farmer's Almanac tells you they get it right. And I seem to recall some studies that suggest they do okay. But see, their specialties are broad regions and broad time periods. The upper Midwest will see dry conditions early in the fall but expect big storms by November -- or something. They might very well be right or mostly right, based on their secret sauce formula that uses past performance to predict broad future behaviors. But it ain't telling you what Friday's weather in Grand Rapids MI AND Bangor ME will be, and certainly not the 11am and 2pm forecasts on those days.

The old joke about weather forecasting is that the "best" forecast is predicting the same thing for today as yesterday -- it'll be right about half the time. Since many weather patterns persist for a few days, you can see how this works. And it's self-correcting, if you update each day. But predicting the same weather every day for a week, a month, a season, a year -- why you'd end up with a forecast that says rain and 57°F every afternoon. And by gum, you'd be right sometimes. But more likely in October or May, than July or February.

If you think weather forecasting is complicated and requires massive supercomputer models, just imagine what weather control would take.

You want to know what weather control looks like? It's clouds rolling in at 11:55am on Friday, light rain at 2:02pm, followed by heavy rain from 3:17pm to 4:42pm. Why? So workers won't want to cut out early on a Friday. THAT's what you'd get for paying for weather control in the real world.

I'll stick with looking at the computer models, hoping for the best -- and trying to not have to drive in impossible conditions. 4WD and modern roads are not invincible combinations.

Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal

White Out

Thursday, 31 January 2013 16:01
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
Baby, It's Warm Inside

Outside? It's been snowing horizontally all damn day. Early this morning the snow was very fine, almost dry in the cold 20s air. Flakes have been much bigger for the last couple of hours, coupled with the horizontalness of the snowing, makes for a pretty scene, one I won't even try to photograph. So we seem to be in a pretty heavy persistent lake effect snow band.

Other than trying to drive through it, I love the Great Lakes.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (wmu-logo)
A Welcome Relief

These last two weeks have been one wild adventure in commuting after another. Snow. Ice. Torrential rains. Flooding. Dense fog. Tuesday the temps approached 60°F, whereas last Wednesday started at 0°F and got all the way up to 19°F. Yesterday it was still above 50°F at midnight, in the mid-40s by morning and snowing by evening.

The big concern for today, the last day of January 2013, was the layer of ice under the sideways blowing snow. Naturally I had scheduled Friday as Exam 1 Day. The new wrinkle this year? Instructors are no longer allowed to cancel classes. That decision has to be made at higher pay grades.

But at 6:10am I turned on the TV and Channel 3 was doing the Kalamazoo County school closings. Kalamazoo Valley Community College was closed for the second time this week -- they are just outside of town in a really exposed, isolated site. But above that line was Just In: Western Michigan University CLOSED. So I booted the computer and started updating webpages.

I probably could've gotten to K-zoo okay -- MDOT seems to have done a bang up job, so to speak, in drying off the freeways by morning. But I'm assuming that the regular streets and roads down south were all bad. It's not great here, but I think it was worse last week.

Adventures in driving indeed. Snow Day. Western never closes. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
When We Lived In The U.P. We Called This Monday

As I write this at 5pm on Monday, MLK Day (Observed) and Inauguration Day (Observed), it's 9°F outside. News reports the roads as slick -- it's been snowing all night. But the lake effect here outside Allendale is nowhere close to the 6-14" predicted.

I won't mock the weather, though. Even if we had much tougher Januaries in New York, Chicago, the U.P. and here in previous years, the mild winters of late mean that the local drivers aren't used to the skating rinks. And they forget the basic Physics which suggests that road salt doesn't do much at 9°F. I'd thought of going to the P.O. Box today, but with being off at WMU for MLK Day, there was no reason to go out and test the roads in the middle of the day. So I caught up on sleep, and watched the TV coverage from D.C. And edited lots of photos from the weekend.

Backyard at 4pm. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

View out the garage -- you can still see Mrs. Dr. Phil's tire tracks from this morning, not fully filled in. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

On The Way To ConFusion

With an Alberta Clipper bearing down on the Great Lakes, I kept a "weather eye" on the weather, so to speak. But Friday dawned as a cold but partly sunny day -- actually warmed up to the upper 20s or so by the afternoon. By the time I got to ConFusion, the weather was still clear, but the wind picked up. Biting wind. While I hid in the hotel on Saturday, the winds roared through, gusting up to 60mph and Sunday morning there was a report of some 96,000 homes without power.

Looking west to go south to go east... at the edge of campus, on the way to Dearborn/Detroit by 3pm. (Click on photo for larger.)
©2013 Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon (All Rights Reserved)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
Under The Heading Category Of Things I Can Do Because I Can

This morning the clouds suddenly blew away and as we were downstairs with the Sunday paper, the sky outside became blue and brilliant sunshine blazed in. Alas, before I'd finished today's Sudoku, I realized that to the north that a gray haze and cloud layer had blown in. Soon the sunlight faded and we were in gray clouds to the south as well, with only patchy sunlight.

Too bad, because I was going to shoot some pictures of the white-white snow frosting on the green pine trees with the brilliant blue sky. Not to be. But when we did get upstairs, the sun came out enough that I opened the sliding door and screen door -- SCREE-EEECH! "What is going on out there?" -- and shot some pictures of our back yard and beyond, with this dark gray cloud background.

And when I was uploading the pictures off the Compact Flash card, I realized I could play.

The Amazing Monochromatic Winter Color Scene -- Supersized For Your Enjoyment (Click on photo for larger.)

It's three pictures taken with a normal lens (Nikon D1 and 35-70mm lens at 35mm). Not even a proper panoramic shot -- I'd have done five if I'd planned it -- and not stitched together with any panoramic program, especially because there's a gap between the 2nd and 3rd shots. Told you it was unplanned. Just edited together to give you a sense.

Not nearly as dramatic as the stuff Jim Wright puts on Stonekettle Station from Alaska, but then I'm workin' with what I've got -- which in this stretch of West Michigan is what you see. (grin)

I crack myself up sometimes.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
I Know, I Know...

Overkill excessive. But hey, I'm having fun. Will explain more soon... (grin) Meanwhile, more pictures of the Friday the 13th snow in West Michigan (DW). And meanwhile, the road crews do a semi-adequate job, while the university seems not to completely understand how to keep the lots plowed so that people don't start parking stupid.

4:50pm and still snowing -- it will take me two hours to drive home. (Click on photo for larger.)

M-43 West Main and Drake Street. The rain before the snow has made an ice layer which really makes intersections much more adventurous than the average rush hour driver wants to consider. Not total chaos, but "interesting." (Click on photo for larger.)

As so often happens with storms, the hills just north of Kalamazoo on US-131? Barely moving. The near truck is merging from Business US-131 on the right -- he's not stopping, slowing or using his turn signals -- he's just gonna merge right in. The far truck has just pulled over to the shoulder for some reason. (Click on photo for larger.)

This guy is also pulled over, but I don't think he meant to -- or overshoot the left shoulder so much. Maybe he believed the sign SPEED LIMIT 70. (Click on photo for larger.)

Original forecast had the northwesterly winter storm ending by 7pm on Friday, lake effect ending by 7am on Saturday, but 2:40pm on Saturday and we're now in a westerly lake effect band until 7pm...

Because of the fluffy cake frosting nature of the snow, it's a little hard to tell how much we got, but probably 6-8". (Click on photo for larger.

Maybe I should use the phrase icing, not frosting. (grin) This is eastbound on Warner on Saturday afternoon. (Click on photo for larger.)

Of course, the weather forecast for Monday and Tuesday goes warmer plus some freezing rain.

In The Kitchen...

Mrs. Dr. Phil is playing with the magic pot -- she got a pressure cooker on her birthday and we're finally giving it a test run today. Oxtail stew. Really pretty package of oxtails, just cut yesterday at the Allendale Meat Market. Should be yum.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-nikon-f3-1983)
Pictures Or It Didn't Happen

I wrote about the first storm of the semester (DW) -- here's some pictures I shot.

Getting Out Of The Driveway

(Click on photo for larger.)

(Click on photo for larger.)

South on M-11 Wilson Avenue

(Click on photo for larger.)

(Click on photo for larger.)

(Click on photo for larger.)

I love the cold gray blue steel colors.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (dr-phil-driving)
The Snow Arrived

It wasn't the largest snowfall we've ever gotten, not by a long shot. And pretty much it looked at 7am like it did at around 2:30am, so it didn't snow ALL night at our house. But it was fluffy and wet -- and a good 6-8" sitting on top of a freezing slushy/ice mix.

Backing out of the garage into the turnaround, I tried not to make too tight a turn, but then had to stop and pull forward and make the turn again. Except I wasn't really going anywhere. This was in 4WD, mind. It took a bit of maneuvering back and forth, but eventually I pulled back uphill onto what would be the concrete pad if it wasn't buried and tried again, this time without too much trouble.

The next hurdle was getting out of the driveway. It looked like the tire tracks from Mrs. Dr. Phil's Bravada stopped at the ridge of plow shit, so I guess she didn't have too much trouble. I had to back up and make a (slow) run at it in order to get out. Took 84th Avenue, rather than go on to 68th -- not quite a mistake, but very lumpy and it hadn't been plowed in a long time, so it was only 1½ lanes wide. Fortunately the big truck coming my way turned before I had to drive into the snowy shoulder and the oncoming school bus was in a section that was nearly 2 lanes wide. No problems.

M-45 into Allendale was very rough and uneven, perhaps 25mph in the country, but in town they'd used a lot more salt. The freeways were in good shape. Yeah, there was a questionable thin glaze of salted water, slush and ice, but between 4WD and a slightly more modest 60mph speed that everyone was comfortable, not too bad.

Eventually I made it to Kalamazoo, which was in fog and snow. Campus parking lot hadn't had extensive plowing, as per usual. But I got here. Yay. Running time was about 2½ hours to drive 67 miles, but that included filling the gas tank and a 20 minute bathroom break in Wayland. Still, the normal run, including such stops, is under 1½ hours.

So is this the new norm for this winter? Or the anomaly? We'll see...

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
Well-llll, We Knew This Wouldn't Last

Wednesday the high in Kalamazoo was around 50°F. Gas was $3.44.9/gal in the morning -- and $3.69.9 in the afternoon. What could cause a 25¢ jump in price? Um, maybe the storm coming Thursday night? (evil grin)

Still in the upper 30s, low 40s during much of Thursday. Foggy. Light rain. By the time I was starting to head out, before 5pm, it was snowing in K-zoo. But heading north it was more hazy and raining. Or at least too warm for the snow falling which immediately turned to wet. It wasn't until I'd left I-196 and was on Wilson and M-45, heading west to Allendale, that it began to snow for me.

Tonight the roads were reported to be icy and slippery -- lots of slide offs. There's a diagonal lake effect snow band predicted to run from Grand Haven/Holland down to Kalamazoo, with 6-12" of snow overnight. Now that's not much for some, or even here. But it's the first significant snow of the so-called Spring Semester and I don't think anyone is really ready for it.

Sigh. Should be "fun" driving in the morning.

It Has Begun

Took a picture of our driveway as I came in tonight, an experiment in a three second handheld shot, then processed the hell out of it in Ulead PhotoImpact 5, an ancient program, just to see what I got. Can't really tell that the driveway just is covered and that any tracks that Mrs. Dr. Phil made within the last hour were gone. The falling snow didn't show up at all, not with that long shutter. (grin)

3 seconds, handheld, ISO 200 (Click on photo for more detail.)

I probably should've reset the ISO higher, but on a D1 that generates a lot of noise, and I could've zoomed out to 35mm, but hey, it's interesting. Surprised that sitting in a car with the engine running that it's as "good" as it is. (big grin)

Dr. Phil


Monday, 2 January 2012 17:17
dr_phil_physics: (michigan-state-logo)
Outback Bowl Finale

In the last post (DW), I mentioned that Michigan State went for the tie 27-27 against Georgia with 19 seconds to go.

On to overtime.

OT1 -- no scores. OT2 -- trade field goals. OT3 -- MSU scores a field goal, Georgia goes wide right.

33-30 MSU.

Snow Update

M-40 in Allegan County is getting hammered -- Hamilton MI is up to 15" right now. There's a reason I don't drive M-40 to get to WMU in the wintertime.

Dr. Phil


Sunday, 6 March 2011 15:28
dr_phil_physics: (chicago-cubs-logo)
We Made It

First spring training game from Hohokam Park in Mesa AZ for the Cubbies on WGN. (Cubs ahead 1-0 over Dodgers after 1st inning.)

It's a lovely sunny day here in West Michigan today, too. So glad I arrived home on Friday night, because Saturday evening deteriorated into a sloppy snow/rain/freezing sliding mess. Left us with a nice clean white coating on the older snow, so it is very pretty now.

Next signs of spring? Daylight Savings Time (Revised) next weekend. And then March Madness and the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball marathons.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
Unlike Groundhog's Day...

... I canceled classes and WMU didn't follow suit. Can't say that I am too bothered with this. North of Grand Rapids there was a 50-car pileup on US-131. They say that K-zoo got hit with some of the most ice and had widespread power outages. Channel 3 and 7, both run out of Kalamazoo were off of our cable since around 1am, but that may be the antenna at our cable company. The Channel 3 website at 12:59pm listed "The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids maintains WINTER STORM WARNINGS in Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, and Calhoun counties until 4 PM", so my guess that come back north this afternoon had I gone south in the morning wouldn't necessarily be all that great either.

As I reported yesterday, the snow globe effect started after noon on Sunday:

At 7:45 this morning, I was looking out the window and some movement caught my eye. I saw one, then two big dogs -- looked like white and reddish St. Bernard's or similar large, fluffy, happy dogs making their way across our property and checking out the 1994 red Blazer. Okay, when they send out the St. Bernard's to check on people, I'm thinking that staying home is a good idea. (grin)

No, those are human footprints in the snow...

Attempts to adjust the brightness and contrast failed to show any features way down our driveway, so we'll have to see how deep and/or icy and/or crusty/crunchy this all is when I attempt to go to a 4:30 PT appointment:

Meanwhile, after today, the weather will be nicer for a few days, before some rain or snow and maybe another storm next weekend.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
7am Sunday to 7am Monday... Or Not

Big winter storm warning. North of us will likely get a foot or so. But West Michigan is looking at temps hovering right around freezing, so we're expecting snow, freezing rain, ice and sleet. By morning, we could have ¾" of ice.

We had no snow or precip at 7am, 8am, 10am or 11am. Sometime after noon heavy snow globe type snow began. And within ten minutes the ground was covered in white after being brown yesterday.

The worst part of this is not knowing what the commute will be like. Not that This Is Teh Worst Storm Evah.

The Warm And The Cold Of It

Our warm-up peaked last week at around 56°F. Yesterday was upper 30s but sunshine all day. Pretty much got rid of most of the snow. Interesting last weekend to look at the reports of the record lows from 1899. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, the lows that year were -33°F, -29°F and -22°F. What makes this somewhat remarkable is that the Weather Channel is currently giving us the stats from Grand Haven MI, which is on Lake Michigan. The lake usually moderates the temps, so I would imagine that this must've been an arctic blast coming down out of the north or northeast, instead of across the lake.

Of course, don't imagine that record -33°F lows in 1899 and +56°F highs in 2011 on the same few days are indicative of anything in particular about global warming. One set of cherry picked data points is about weather, not climate.

One does have remind people about this from time to time, in either direction. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (undercon)
Not A Record

Though the media made a big deal of the huge/awesome/horrible blizzard on Groundhog's Day, the 16.0" in 24 hours recorded officially in Grand Rapids is just less than the 16.1" for the 1978 blizzard. So... it's not a record. Cue the disappointment musics.

Frankly it all makes us seem like wimps. Many of the other areas of the country which got clobbered either got a LOT more snow and ice than we did OR were getting snow and ice which they don't normally get. Hell, Dallas is dealing with unexpected winter on the eve of the Super Bowl -- guess that blows the theory that northern wintry cities can't host the Super Bowl because the elite spending thousands of dollars can't be allowed to walk on snow and ice.

On A Smaller Note

Of course, when Mrs. Dr. Phil went out to the road on Wednesday, there was neither mail or newspaper -- we didn't think anything of it. But when I got home Thursday, I noted that (a) the newspaper was in a red plastic bag lying on the snowbank next to the newspaper box and (b) there was no mail. What we hadn't considered on Wednesday, in our joy on getting dug out was that the plows had plowed the road, but not the shoulders. There was about a foot-and-a-half of snow between the end of the plowing and the boxes on the side of the road. As I drove up the driveway, I realized that though the driveway was cleared, it wasn't as if the mail could've been put on our porch -- a drift ridge had ended up blocking the sidewalk and the front porch wasn't cleared.

Friday and Saturday's papers were also dumped on the snow bank -- along with x-roxed fliers saying that snow was bad. Amazingly, the mail got in the box on Friday. I wasn't going out to the road in the dark to dig it out, so it didn't get done until Saturday morning. The cold dry snow by then had been through a couple of days of sun and warm, so our Yooper Scooper managed to lever up enormous slabs of snow. Most of the snow over the range I had to clear was taken up in four large slabs and a couple of smaller ones. Then I drove back and forth over the snow in 4WD to make sure the remaining snow was good and flat and drivable. Job done.

Storm of the century? Not really. Not when everything's pretty back to normal in a day or two.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
As We Waited...

It occurred to me that John might not have the house phone number, that I'd pulled his cell number on my cellphone, and that I normally turn my cellphone off when I am not using it -- I'm sure that's a horror story right there for most people younger than us. (grin) So I turned my phone back on and an hour later, John called. He wasn't going to be able to come and do my driveway, after all, but he'd called Sikkema & Sons and they'd do the job with a backhoe for the same price. Understandable that he had to cancel, he'd been working at plowing out at the airport. But nice of him to arrange for a replacement!

Called Terry Sikkema and he said sure, but he was going to eat dinner first. Fine, no problem -- no one had to drive out until around 7:50am anyway. Gave him our landline number. A few minutes later, phone rang. Apparently Mrs. Sikkema figured he should do the job while the waning light was still there and said she'd slow down dinner. (double-grin)

And A Short Time Later...

Here comes the backhoe!

Don't worry about the snapping of those dry branches -- they're scrub trees anyway and we have to keep hacking the branches back from the driveway anyway. Used to having branches break from trucks and gear heavier than a Blazer or a Bravada. (triple-snap-grin)

There is nothing like having the right tool for the job, and an artist who can wield said tool with precision.

And as the sun sets...

... we are freed from our icy prison. If we so wish. Fifty dollars well spent.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (kate-winter-coat)
Back From Past The Howling Steppes Of Siberia...

When Mrs. Dr. Phil came in after scooping, she reported that she'd managed to make it out to the road. But there was no mail or newspaper at 3:45pm-ish. Not too surprising, actually. But the daily e-mail digest from the Grand Rapids Press said that though the papers were printed, they couldn't be sure of delivery today, so they were making the e-print version of today's paper available for free.

Now that's rather resourceful and clever of them. Good call. As a result, I've already printed today's Sudoku. (grin)

Shot from the steps inside the garage, so I wouldn't track in stuff on my shoes. (grin)

The snow is 8-12" deep down the driveway, and being quite dry because of the cold is actually pretty light stuff. In theory if John doesn't get here with his blade, I think I could make it out of here in 4WD and carve a 2nd tire track in the snow. But hopefully we won't have to test that theory. (double-grin)

Dr. Phil


dr_phil_physics: (Default)

April 2016

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