Category Archives: Weather

Springsigns

I bought a book called Springsigns when I was a teacher. I think I still have it — I don’t think it was discarded in the recent purge of books. One year I used it to make a bulletin board outside my classroom. I hated bulletin boards, but I liked that one.

Therefore I use the word Springsigns when I see signs of spring, even though I’m always chastised by my software that it is misspelled.

Here are some recent Springsigns from my yard.

Another High Wind in Bethesda

Earlier in the week we had an earthquake and last night / this morning we had a hurricane. Someone or someones on Twitter called it the week of the hurriquake.

I fell asleep last night to gentle rain and mild breezes and woke up around 1:30 AM to bursts of rain heavy rain and loud wind gusts. I think that’s what woke me up — either that or the sound of a transformer blowing somewhere nearby. I checked the clock and saw it was still glowing, so knew the transformer was the one that connected to our power lines.

Tweet from Mike Leroy
Tweet from Mike Leroy

Unable to sleep, I went upstairs and logged onto Facebook and Twitter to see how others were doing. Some had lost power, others had seen it go out while on their way home from nights out. Most were just posting from home hoping their power didn’t fail. I posted a couple of updates and then I received my favorite tweet mention of all. It was from Mike Leroy who sang the title song in one of my favorite movies when I was younger, A High Wind in Jamaica. I blogged about this song in my song a day blog and Mr. Leroy commented on that post.

Anyway, we survived and so did our power. Only minor damage to the house (a downspout came loose) and a few downed branches. Nothing much else to report.

Here’s hoping those of you to still meet Ms Irene will come out as unscathed as we did.

5 things I hate about fall and 5 things I don’t

I love the way the sky looks impossibly blue behind still green leaves.

I don't like how some leaves turn completely brown.

I love the smell of fallen leaves and the way they sound when you walk through them

I hate the way the fruit from the ginkgo tree makes your feet smell after walking through them

I love the way our sugar maple turns bright orange in the fall.

I hate knowing it will lose all the leaves very soon. (Although birds will be easier to spot when that happens)

I hate the way the black-eyed susans have lost their petals and greenery

But I like the seeds left over that attract the birds.

I dread the falling temperatures.

But I'm looking forward to sitting by a cozy fire.

When the lights went out in Bethesda

Last Sunday at 3:29 pm a violent storm passed through the DC area knocking over trees and bringing down branches. It also resulted in no power to around 300,000 homes and businesses in the DC Metro area.  We were among  that number.

The actual storm was kind of fun.  It didn’t last long, but was very strong. We saw huge branches fall from our Tulip poplar, and the torrential rain flew sideways for a while, drenching everything in our screened in porch. Stupidly we all stood at the front (cracked) picture window in the dining room while the storm raged. Had I been carrying my mobile phone with me I would have gotten the tornado “SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM!” warning text. But it was charging in my office.

Sometime before the end of the storm we heard the muffled pop of a transformer, and the lights went out. We suspected we were in for at least a day without power. During the blizzard last winter people were without power for several days (we were lucky and didn’t lose power — or at least not for long if we did). A number of years ago a hurricane took out our power for a week. That was not very much fun.

Anyway — Dean took Clare and Brandon (my nephew who was visiting from Illinois) to DC to a museum and Georgetown while I stayed home and cooked dinner — which was my plan before the storm but was going to be more of a challenge with no power. Luckily we have a gas stove and I could use the burners after lighting them with a match.

That night, after Dean, Clare and Brandon returned we ate dinner and talked about what to do that night. Brandon was the most concerned — he worried about sleeping without air conditioning. Also: no TV or Xbox. Andrew and Clare went out with friends. Dean and Brandon went to bed early but I stayed up and read by candle light.

The next morning Dean, Andrew and Brandon headed to Pennsylvania to camp for the night. Clare and I stayed home. Clare slept until noon, as usual, but I was up early. With not much else to do I tackeled the cupboards and drawers in my kitchen — something I’d  been meaning to do for months. I started on one side of the kitchen and ended up at the other side. No longer does one feel like they’re looking at a puzzle in an “Eye Spy” book when trying to find the measuring spoon in one kitchen drawer.

After Clare woke up we celebrated her 19th birthday by going to the mall and buying her a couple of items for her mobile phone. We also bought some more flashlights, since the boys took the good ones camping.

That night we lit several candles while I continued to clean the house. I remarked to Clare that this must be what I would be like had the Internet not been invented. I would clean all day. She thought that sounded sick.  After Clare left to hang out with friends, I read for a few hours by candle light, then went to sleep — exhausted after a day of hard work in nearly 90° temperatures.

On Tuesday I found more cleaning to do, and was just about to begin work on the basement when I heard a strange noise. The air conditioner fan! We had electricity again! Goodbye cleaning! Hello Internet…

Snow day

When I was a kid, and because I was a teacher for many years, all the way up until I was in my early 40’s the word snow day brought warm, fuzzy, happy feelings. It still does, but not as much as it used to — since I work from home for a consulting company anyway.

Surprise snow days were the best — and the rarest. I’d fall asleep thinking I had to get up and go to school the next day but instead I’d wake up to an entire free day. A day that I didn’t expect to have. It was like a gift of 8 hours. I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could go back to bed if I wanted to — but never did because sleep would be a waste of all that free time.

Snow days that were not a surprise were wonderful too because of the anticipation. Would school be called off? Should I do my homework/grading? Of course when school was not canceled it was a real disappointment; but if it was canceled the day belonged to me.

Once my kids were in school I’d vicariously feel their delight when they heard that school was called off. I even sometimes wore my own pajamas inside out and backwards to help with the cancellations. There’s not much more pleasant than bedhead, giggly, happy children with visions of a long lazy day ahead of them, while fat flakes of snow fall from the sky.

It’s snowing today and is supposed to continue snowing through tonight and well into tomorrow afternoon. The National Weather Service is calling for 20 – 28 inches around the DC Metro area. The local citizens are calling this a snowpocalypse on social media sites. Local schools are closed or closing early. The federal government will close 4 hours early. Neighbors tell me that the milk is sold out at the local grocery stores. We’ve got enough food to last the few days it will take to shovel us out. I sincerely hope we don’t lose our power though — we don’t have enough wood to keep us warm.

I’ve not been watching the local news recently — I spent a lot of time preparing for my book group — but I know they’ve probably been talking this snow up. And I bet that if I turned the television on right now I’d see a chilly TV news personality standing on some street corner talking about the snow. In a few hours they will have rulers to measure the snow. As corny and predicable as they are — I find them endearing.

So even though I still have to work and even though my day is not any more free than it would have been had it not been snowing, I’m getting that warm, fuzzy, happy feeling I remember from my younger days.

More Weather in Illinois

FogAs I type this, I can only see the house next door to the one in which I grew up — anything beyond that is lost in a milk-mixed-with-water looking  fog. Dense fog advisories as well as flash flood warnings are in effect. And it is 51 degrees out there. Yesterday the problem was icy conditions.

What’s going on? Mother Nature must be in a foul mood. Or a playful one.

Either way — travel is tricky. Let’s hope she’s back to normal on Monday when 2 or 3 of us fly back to Bethesda.

White Christmas? You Betcha!

Depending on your definition of a white Christmas* — it looks like we’ll have one this year.  If we get to Elgin at all, that is. We’re flying to O’Hare and then taking a taxi to Elgin. Wish us luck.

Issued by The National Weather Service
Chicago, IL
5:52 am CST, Tue., Dec. 23, 2008

… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 PM CST WEDNESDAY…

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT.

SNOWFALL OF 2 TO 4 INCHES WILL FALL TODAY WITH AND ADDITIONAL 1 TO 2 INCHES TONIGHT. PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO MIX WITH SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN OVER ALL BUT FAR NORTHERN ILLINOIS TONIGHT. AN ADDITIONAL 1 TO 3 INCHES IS FORECAST FOR WEDNESDAY AS THE MIXED PRECIPITATION TURNS BACK TO ALL SNOW.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT ACCUMULATING SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES… AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

More Information

.ANOTHER WINTER STORM WILL BE AFFECTING THE REGION TODAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. THE FIRST PHASE OF THIS STORM SYSTEM IS THE SNOW FALLING ACROSS THE AREA EARLY THIS MORNING. THIS WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A LULL WITH ONLY ON AND OFF LIGHT SNOW OR FLURRIES BEFORE A STEADY ACCUMULATING SNOW BEGINS AGAIN LATER THIS MORNING. SLEET MAY MIX WITH THE SNOW ALONG ANS SOUTH OF U.S. 24 THIS AFTERNOON. MIXED SNOW… SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN WILL GRADUALLY SPREAD NORTH TONIGHT AND MAY REACH AS FAR NORTH AS THE NORTH CHICAGO SUBURBS AND DEKALB BY WEDNESDAY MORNING. AS THE STORM SYSTEM PASSES THE AREA PRECIPITATION WILL RETURN TO ALL SNOW DURING THE DAY.

*I say a white Christmas is when there is fresh snow on the ground — although when it actually snows on Christmas Day —  that is cool. Then it can all melt away on Boxing Day.

What I did during the hurricane

So while Tina was blogging drunkly from a pig roast, I was bored out of my head. Hanna the hurricane caused our electricity fail in the morning (right in the middle of my shower — I had to finish showering in complete darkness since we have no windows in our downstairs bathroom). Reports from PEPCO were that we may get power by 10 am on Sunday, but because the lights only affected 6 houses on our block, I didn’t have high hopes that we’d actually get electricity that soon.

Dean and the kids played Sorry. I don’t like Sorry. I wanted to play Catch Phrase, so I sulked in the living room and read the Washington Post.

Then I took a nap.

After the nap Clare and I went to Borders so she could pick out a book to read for a research project for her English literature class. We systematically removed 40 books from the shelves and Clare read the book descriptions and first few paragraphs to get an idea of what the book was about. She narrowed down her choice to 7 books which we bought (along with 5 that I decided I couldn’t live without having on my shelves but probably never read).

By then it was 5:30. We went home and Dean cooked dinner (our stove top works without electricity and he’s the one who makes the fried fish).

After dinner, terrified with the prospect of more board games, I suggested we go see a movie. Dean Clare and I ended up seeing Vicky Cristina Barcelona (which I’d heard was great, but I don’t really like Woody Allen movies so was not really all that impressed except with Penélope Cruz) while Andrew stayed home and played with fire went to bed early, leaving the candles burning in the window.

At midnight PEPCO came by and very loudly restored our electricity — wow 10 hours early…

The end.