Dogwood Winter 2015

Slow down, Spring.  Please, slow down.

Your longer days bid me linger in your presence.

But, you’re passing so quickly I hardly have time to enjoy you.  I’ll blink twice and you’ll be gone.

Stay with me…settle in and pass some time with me.  Stay a while and let me soak up your sweetness and savor your beauty.

Red tulips. Yellow daffodils.  Grape hyacinths.  Flaming forsythia.  Violet violets. Pink peach blossoms. Hot pink redbuds. Green clover. New leaf green.

You’re in such a hurry – rushing toward Summer…. Slow down.

Let me touch you…smell you…feel you…inhale you…enjoy you.

Pear blooms – nearly gone.  Redbud burst blooms a week ago.  Peach blossoms…dropping.

And, now…now Dogwood spreads its bracts, wider each day, pale green, greenish white, whitish green, whitish tan, whiter…then white as the flowers within them bloom.

Today, a cold front rolled through with rain and storms and wind.  Tonight the temperature will feel more like Winter than Spring and offers a promise of frost for Easter morning.

Dogwood Winter is upon us.

That’s two down.  Three more Winters to go.

#WorldMetDay

What a wonderful way to celebrate my birthday – World Meteorological Day.

I have a definite affinity to all things weather wise.

Excuse me – the sun’s shining and the sky is clear blue.  I’m going to celebrate.  I’ll let you guess what. 🙂

Groundhog Day

Apparently February 2 is the day that animals in the Northern Hemisphere awaken from hibernation and stumble out of their dens in a sleep-like state…confused and hungry.

I never cease to be amazed by the way things in nature work together when humans stay out of the way.  Animals…weather…seasons…it all works fine.

Nature even works through problems.  Ground Hog Day is an example.

It must be awful to stagger out of your dark den and into brilliant sunlight.  Shadows can be quite scary, even if they turn out to be your own.

Nature has it all figured out.

When the sun is hidden by clouds, animals leaving their dens won’t see their shadows and won’t be frightened back inside.  And, if they aren’t frightened back into their dens to continue hibernating for 6 more weeks (until mid March), then the weather accommodates them and rolls in warm weather for the remainder of the winter season.

It’s so kind of nature to be so accommodating.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Hey…I can hope, can’t I?  I’m ready to end my hibernation!

Partly Cloudy

The forecast read “Partly Cloudy” and immediately my mood shifted to one of grrr…I wanted sunshine.

And, I planned my “partly cloudy” winter day accordingly.  Instead of working outside in the 45° weather, I would work inside. After all, every one knows 45° with clouds is far different than 45° with bright sun.

If only the sun would shine….  That was my sigh.

And, so I busied myself indoors while my heart dreamed of outdoor work and I griped about life’s lot that I’d drawn for the day.

At one point I ventured out to the garage with a load of dirty clothes.  45° felt…warm. The sun in my eyes made me squint.

I glanced at the sky and saw only thin wisps of clouds.

“I thought the forecast was for partly cloudy skies,” I muttered to myself.

PARTLY cloudy. That means to some extent, but, it doesn’t specify to what extent.

Why didn’t the forecast say “Mostly Sunny?”

If I’d received a more positive forecast, would my outlook on the day have been more positive and far different in my attitude and actions?

Why did I choose to focus on the negative and not the positive??

Hmm….

“Partly cloudy” leaves the door open to “mostly sunny.”  So, why did I slam it shut and pull the blinds against the light?

Perception is everything, from what I hear, and apparently there’s some validity to that.

From here on out, I plan to look at things in a different light.  Partly cloudy will provide opportunity for mostly sunny.

And, I’m going to live a mostly sunny lifestyle.

What about you?  Are you willing to change your perception and watch your perspective change as a result?

Wow!  Things are looking brighter for me already!

Give it a try and let me know how adopting a mostly sunny outlook changes your forecast!

Weatherman Confidence

Justin, of WKRN’s weather team, gave me a giggle when I read his online forecast for today and tomorrow.

At the end of his brief narriative of what was expected, he added:

Areas that see snow (which won’t be everyone) may pick up a quick coating to a half-inch of snow, but our confidence in widespread accumulation isn’t very high.

I can remember when confidence in weather forecasting was anything less than something to have confidence in. In fact, if the weatherman said “no accumulation” you knew to set out the rock salt and snow boots.

Bob Lobertini, weatherman for WLAC way back when I was a sprout, got it wrong more often than he got it right.  But, he was a popular personality on air and around town and everyone loved him, or loved to hate him.

And, it was Lobertini who opened my eyes and heart to the wonders of weather.  With his limited ability to forecast – remember, this was back in the (19)50’s and 60’s when they didn’t have all this radar imagery and satellite coverage – he did what he could to alert us to changing weather, and he made it fun and interesting at the same time.

I developed a keen interest in weather and learned to watch weather patterns – a hobby that occupies me even now.

In the 70’s Lobertini left our area and moved to California.  My dad said that was a good place for him…the weather was either sunny and cool, foggy and cool, or rainy and cool…depending on the time of day it was and the season. It would be hard to get it wrong.

I hated to see him go.  It was like losing a childhood friend. His was a familiar face.   I trusted him.

In Lobertini’s absence, I ventured away from dependence upon someone else’s thoughts about what the forecast would be and learned about weather patterns. This was before the advent of internet and personal computers and required actual book work and library visits.

I thought I had died and gone to Heaven when I discovered The Weather Channel and NOAA Weather.

With the arrival of The Weather Channel (TV and online) and NOAA Weather (online and radio), forecasting days in advance and hour to hour for the next 24 hours is possible.

However, it’s still a lot of guesswork the farther you get from “let me look out and see what the weather is doing.”

And, that is reflected in Justin’s comment: “our confidence in widespread accumulation isn’t very high.”

Even with all the high tech weather doo dads, it’s still a lot of guess work, and when it all comes down to what the weather’s going to do…we all have to wait and see.

Just so you know…after reading Justin’s comment…my boots stand by the front door and my container of rock salt graces my kitchen table.

Just saying….

Secondary Severe Weather Season

The National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement for our location. Within the statement was an overview of a weather system that would move into and through our area today.

At the end of the statement, this paragraph caught my eye:

WE ARE IN THE SECONDARY SEVERE WEATHER SEASON HERE IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE.  RESIDENTS OF MIDDLE TENNESSEE SHOULD STAY ABREAST OF THE WEATHER CONDITIONS ON SUNDAY…AND LISTEN FOR WARNINGS SHOULD THEY BECOME NECESSARY.

Secondary severe weather season?  That’s a new one for me.

Spring has always been a rocky time weather wise.  I’ve hunkered down many times and waited out severe weather – here and in other places we’ve lived.

But, in Autumn?  Well, yeah…down South where Summer hangs on tight and dies a hard, slow death.  Down South tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are not uncommon, even into late December.

But…here?

I’ve never really thought about there being a “secondary severe weather season.” In Georgia and Florida, it seemed ANY time was severe weather season. 😉

But, I guess any time you have cold arctic air overriding warm moist air, you have the makings of a messy situation and the potential for a rough ride.

Now, I can see where the North’s winter snow and ice storms can precipitate the need for the declaration of a “secondary severe weather season,” but…here?

Apparently so.

All I know to do is to keep an eye to the sky…an ear on the weather forecast…an ice scraper handy, and my bug-out-bag nearby. That way I’m prepared for anything. You never know what this secondary severe weather season will serve up!

What? You don’t have a bug-out-bag?

You should. And, so should every member of your family.

(You probably already have a rudimentary B.O.B and don’t realize it.)

Emergency preparedness is not a fad or a hobby, it’s a way of life.

Be Red Cross Ready.

Be prepared.

Be secondary severe weather season smart – update your evacuation plan.

What?? You don’t have an evac plan? For the sake of those you love…take a few minutes and create one.

Fog Advisory

I awoke this morning to find the house dark – far darker than is usual for pre-6:30 a.m. time.

Rain was my thought.

Fog was the reality.

URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE 
509 AM CDT MON AUG 19 2013

...AREAS OF DENSE FOG THIS MORNING...

.HIGH HUMIDITY AND PARTIALLY CLEAR SKIES HAVE CAUSED AREAS OF FOG
TO DEVELOP THIS MORNING. SOME FOG IS DENSE...ESPECIALLY IN AREAS
NORTH AND WEST OF.... VISIBILITIES WILL VARY CONSIDERABLY
THIS MORNING...WITH GOOD VISIBILITY IN SOME LOCATIONS AND POCKETS
OF NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY IN THICK FOG. DRIVERS SHOULD BE ESPECIALLY
CAUTIOUS THIS MORNING. THE FOG IS EXPECTED TO LIFT BY 9 AM.

* VISIBILITY...CONDITIONS WILL VARY CONSIDERABLY ACROSS THE AREA.
  SOME AREAS WILL BE FINE...WHILE NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY WILL OCCUR
  IN SOME OF THE THICK PATCHES OF FOG.

* IMPACTS...HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED THIS MORNING.
  DRIVERS SHOULD BE VERY CAUTIOUS AND REMEMBER THAT SCHOOLS ARE IN
  SESSION AND CHILDREN MAY BE PRESENT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A DENSE FOG ADVISORY MEANS VISIBILITIES WILL FREQUENTLY BE
REDUCED TO LESS THAN ONE QUARTER MILE. IF DRIVING...SLOW DOWN...
USE YOUR HEADLIGHTS...AND LEAVE PLENTY OF DISTANCE AHEAD OF YOU.

What caused this fog?

According to people who should know (see above), high humidity and partially clearing skies are to blame.

I wonder what causes the fog you and I experience? You know the type I’m referring to.  It’s that fog that no one else can see, but that prevents us from seeing ahead well enough to make clear choices and sound decisions – that keeps us from plowing ahead with confidence.

Emotional instability (aka “tears”) and mental disorientation (aka “confusion”) certainly contribute to foggy realities and the inability to see clearly prohibits our confident move forward.

I’m not just talking about fog generated by depression. I’m also referring to fog that settles in because of confusing situations, lack of understanding or information, misrepresented and incomplete facts, disillusionment, ill-timed discoveries, frustration, fatigue….

Just like with weather related fog, the fog you and I experience can vary – absent one moment and so thick the next that visibility has dwindled to where we can hardly see to put one foot in front of the other.  Top the rise and all looks clear, but down the hill or around the corner you go, and everything’s thick as pea soup.

The weather folks say it like this –

VISIBILITIES WILL VARY CONSIDERABLY
THIS MORNING...WITH GOOD VISIBILITY IN SOME LOCATIONS AND POCKETS
OF NEAR ZERO VISIBILITY

I’ve been out of bed a little under an hour and I can testify that already I’ve encountered varying visibility this morning with pockets of near zero visibility – and I’ve ventured no farther than the coffee pot and my laptop.

I think the wisdom shared by weather folk who know is good advice for me this morning (and for you, too, if foggy conditions exist in some areas) – be especially cautious.

When you can’t see all that’s there, it’s not wise to rush along – snap judgments and quick decisions are best reserved for areas with clear visibility.  Dense fog usually hides something. Rushing ahead could be disastrous – for all concerned.

The advisory above suggests three things:

  1. Slow down
  2. Use your headlights
  3. Leave plenty of distance ahead of you

Good advice for navigating any foggy situations. To elaborate a bit:

  • Don’t jump to conclusions or take actions you may regret when the fog lifts.
  • Seek outside help and advice from anything/anyone with the ability to enlighten.
  • Wait until visibility clears before closing the distance – you don’t want to injure yourself or others.

The good news is – fog lifts.

Storm Approaching

(Monday morning 8:17 a.m. )  A strange, sustained, high-pitched sound has continued for the past 5 minutes.  It’s unlike anything I’ve heard in my 54 years.  It’s like when my ears ring, only much louder. And, it comes from outside.

What is it?

I stand at the back door and watch the horizon to the West grow dark. Light rain begins to fall.

And, then, as suddenly as it began…it stops.

I slip into my computer chair and click on weather.gov radar for my area.  A line of storms is approaching.

In the northern portion of the county in which I reside, an area of the line is outlined with red (indicating a tornado warning), a “bow echo” boldly evident within the center of that outlined area.

My area is outlined with yellow (severe thunderstorm warning).

Perhaps, what I heard were tornado sirens? If so, it’s unlike anything I’ve heard before and certainly would not call me to take shelter.  I’m accustomed to “air raid” type sirens that raise the hair on the back of my neck and prompt a surge in adrenaline. But, I’m also new to this area, so what I’m accustomed to may not be norm here.

This siren would not wake me from sleep.

And, it sounds again.  Not loud.  Certainly not loud enough for me to hear if my doors were closed and my blinds drawn.

I rise once again and walk to my back door.  The high, piercing sound is easily blown away by the gusts of wind.  Surely, this is not a tornado warning siren.

I turn again to the radar, then click over to our local news page. A tornado warning is in effect for my county.

The sound ceases again.

Surely, that was not a warning siren.  The storms have not yet entered my county.

I research tornado warning sirens for my area and find that my county has recently updated – going from a tone to the old “air raid” warning siren, that I am familiar with – both from my childhood and from living in different locations.

Then, if what I heard was not the county wide warning siren…what was it?

I research further and find that Vandy University has recently begun using a siren specific to their campus to warn their area of imminent danger.

It’s possible the Vandy siren was what I heard.

I’m signing off now.  Our little tornado warning siren is sounding.  She’s a 9 year old doxie and when severe weather is near, she begins a strange little noise that increases as her agitation grows.

Thunder rumbles. It’s time to unplug and seek shelter.

Do you know the signs and sounds that announce severe/imminent danger to your work/home/school areas?

Forecast

Snow.

Beginning tonight, snow is in the forecast until Saturday evening.

As February morphs into March, the prognosticators predict snow will fall.

Slight chance.  Chance.  Possibility.  Likely. Probable.  These are the terms the forecasters use to describe their best guess (based on information, past experience, logic, computer analysis, etc.) as to whether or not we will receive snow and when.

Along with the terms listed above, percentages are given.

Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 70%Snow Likely Chance for Measurable Precipitation 60%

  • 30% slight chance of snow, low of 33
  • 30% chance of snow, high of 40
  • 20% chance of snow, low of 33
  • 40% chance of snow, high of 39
  • 70% likelihood of snow, low of 29
  • 60% probability of snow, high of 37
  • 20% slight chance of snow, low of 25
  • 0% no chance, high of 39

I’m from the South and I’ll admit it gets my attention when snow is mentioned in the forecast Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night.  Those little pictures of clouds with snow falling out of them grab me every time and I return time and again to see what the forecasters say and if the forecast has been updated.

There’s a different way to look at things, of course, but even though it’s just as accurate,  it’s no where near as exciting.

Would you return time and again to the forecast below?

  • 70% likelihood of no measurable precipitation, low of 33
  • 70% likelihood of no measurable precipitation, high of 40
  • 80% probability of no measurable precipitation, low of 33
  • 60% likelihood of no measurable precipitation, high of 39
  • 30% chance of no measurable precipitation, low of 29
  • 40% chance of no measurable precipitation, high of 37
  • 80% probability of no measurable precipitation, low of 25
  • 100% assurance of no measurable precipitation, high of 39

I wouldn’t and doubt you would either.

Weather forecasters provide a “7 day outlook” in which they express their opinions of what the next 7 days will look like weather wise.

When you woke this morning – what was forecast for your day?

Was it 50% probability of rain? Or, was it 50% likelihood of clear sky with bright sun?

What was the outlook for your week ahead?

We often can’t do anything about the forecast.  And, we often can’t change what is or the chance of what will be. Some things are simply out of our hands and beyond our ability.

But, we can change our way of looking at things – our perspective…our outlook.  We can choose to see the 80% chance of sunshine and plan for and live in that forecast, and not plan our day around the 20% (slight) chance of rain.