Monday, July 30, 2007

Totally Out of It

"It" being Hood River, that is. We're out of town for a week visiting friends and relatives in California. I don't have handy access to a high speed internet connection, so the web poll might not be changed until Wednesday Aug 1 or later. Thankfully, the Hood River Weather web site seems to be holding up ok on auto-pilot (so far).

And now, back to the vacation...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's Not a Dry Heat

12:45 pm, Sunday, 83 degrees and 48% humidity. Muggy. Certainly nowhere near as humid as other parts of the country, but unusual for here. A weak weather front is skimming the Coast and Willamette Valley, and clouds are visible to the west of Hood River, but no rain is expected here today or tomorrow. Calm earlier this morning but west wind is just now starting up. And next week... summer returns.

The garden corn (Bon Appettit Tablesweet variety
) is doing great this year. The silks have emerged in the past week and have these really cool burgundy and yellow colors:

In a couple of weeks, fresh corn on the cob roasted on the grill.... yum

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The slight chance of rain mentioned earlier this week has become an absolute certainty of rain today. I woke up this morning about 2 am to the gentle sound of raindrops on the plants outside the open bedroom window. Rain is very unusual here for midsummer and also very welcome, especially since there doesn't seem to be thunderstorms involved (yet). One can almost hear the garden sighing in relief as it soaks up the moisture. Not to mention the human sighs of relief from those of us who are getting really tired of watering.

0.55 inches so far today. The record for this date is 0.70 inches in 1987. There is a lot of moisture streaming our way in the satellite maps, so we shall see if the record holds.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Midsummer Musings

After last week's heat wave, the high temperatures have moderated into the 80's with a relatively steady but not overwhelming west wind; perfect for wind sports and a lot of other outdoor activities. Forecasts are calling for more of the same with a slight chance of showers midweek.

This week's web poll asks what people think is the most likely "actual" reason that the Bush administration pursued what a lot of people are now seeing as an ill-conceived invasion of Iraq. I have previously posted some of my thoughts on the issue.

The poll lists 4 choices: To dispose of Saddam Hussein and WMDs, to spread democracy, to fight terrorism, and to attempt to stabilize the Middle East politics and culture (and therefore the area's oil supply which the global economy now firmly depends on).

I assumed even before the invasion started that the last reason (global oil supply security) was the most likely, at least in the decision-maker's minds. The first 3 reasons didn't fit the known information: Saddam was the only power that held the various factions in Iraq together, and pre-war inspectors had said he had no WMD's. There was little tradition of democracy in the area, and besides, democracy is probably best when people decide they want it themselves and work from within to achieve it themselves. Last, invading Iraq wouldn't help against terrorism and would squander our resources in the process.

So, that left the fact that we have or are about to reach peak oil globally (it's mostly all downhill from here), and the neo-cons figured that we would establish a foothold in the Middle East and that would solve that. Seems like a much better approach would have been to create a far-sighted energy policy that actively encouraged alternate energy sources, conservation, and increased energy independence.

In a humorous comment to the post directly before this one,
dbradway mentions that I left out one choice in the web poll. After reading it and laughing, I had to agree, since I've also thought that no president other than G.W. Bush would have seriously entertained the notion of an Iraq invasion being an appropriate action. Not even Bush's dad...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Like a Broken Record

Yesterday's high of 105 easily exceeded the previous July 12 record of 100 degrees (2002). And, as if that wasn't enough breaking of records, the low this morning only got down to 69 degrees, surpassing the previous "hi low" of 65 in 1940.

This should be the end of the record breaking for now; the west wind returned last night.

Speaking of "sounding like a broken record", I suppose that particular phrase dates me hopelessly. Digital music doesn't skip. Only ancient vinyl records skip...records skip... records skip...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Record Shattered

Yes indeed; yesterday's high of 101 broke the previous record high for the date of 94 degrees set in 1994. Today the bar is raised considerably; 100 degrees in 2002. Forecasts are calling for 100 degrees, so it's going to be close, especially if the clouds go away. It also depends on the barometric pressure differential through the Gorge, and therefore wind direction. Right now, it's 29.88 in Portland, 29.90 in Hood River, and 29.94 in The Dalles. Since winds flow from high pressure to low pressure, we have a slight east wind currently. This will likely shift to a west wind sometime this afternoon or evening, and bring cooler temperatures with it.

Very interesting animated cloud pattern over the Western US this morning. Moisture originating from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific equatorial area is streaming north and west over Oregon and California. If this continues, we could be in for some pretty dramatic thunderstorm activity.

Monday, July 9, 2007


I just noticed that the record high for tomorrow (July 10) is 94 degrees set in 1999. With the current heat wave settling in nicely, it looks like we have an excellent shot at breaking the record with plenty of room to spare.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


And the living is easy ... especially if your definition of "easy" is: first, a lot of wind. Then, a mostly windless heat wave this week. Then, cooler temps and a lot of wind after that. Not being a windsurfer or kite boarder, I have mixed feelings about the "lot of wind" part, but I definitely enjoy the occasional heat waves here. For one thing, the wind usually dies down or becomes slightly easterly. Plus, I really like extreme and changeable weather. Plus, we have air conditioning.

Fortunately, for those who
don't have air conditioning, heat waves here don't last very long (seldom more than 3 consecutive days) before they break and the west wind comes roaring back.

This week's poll asks whether you check the online gas price websites to find the least expensive gas stations in your area. The site I've found to be the most accurate and mostly up to date is Microsoft's MSN Auto site. When prices are changing rapidly, these sites can lag several days behind, but otherwise are pretty good at showing the lower price stations. Capitalism has its drawbacks, but open information and competition are two of its stronger points. And the Internet has brought both of those aspects front and center.