Sunday, December 30, 2007

In With The New

Tuesday marks the first day of the New Year in the Gregorian calendar system, established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. It defined the yearly orbit of the Earth around the Sun as 365 days (366 days every 4th year, more or less), divided between 12 months. And it keeps consistent calendar time pretty darn well, with an occasional few seconds added or subtracted here and there to keep pace with the reality of changing orbital mechanics.

But it's not the only "New Years Day"'; there are a couple of dozen other days scattered around the year on which other cultures and calendars mark the start of yet another cycle of our planet around our star.

Regardless of how we humans mark the passage of time, the Earth quietly continues its majestic elliptical orbit around the Sun's mass, following the curve of gravity's warping of the fabric of space itself.

And to top it all off, we have the incredibly awesome privilege of being conscious beings, able to gaze out into this universe, and celebrate the wonder of it all.

Have a wonder-full New Year!

P.S. The following video is a time lapse movie of Earth from NASA's Messenger spacecraft (launched Aug 2004). The stunning hi-res video was recorded in Aug 2005, a year later, as the spacecraft swung by Earth again for a gravity assist slingshot towards Venus. Its ultimate goal is to achieve orbit around Mercury (the innermost planet to the sun) in 2009 - 2011.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice! From here on, the daylight hours get longer, slowly but surely, thanks to the axial tilt of our home planet. And not a moment too soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


2 inches of snow on the deck this Saturday morning. Very nice to wake up to, and on a non-work day at that. Life doesn't get a whole lot better than this.

And now it's 4 pm, 39 degrees, and the snow is pretty much gone after warming temperatures and drizzling rain do their thing.

It's been a good weather month here in the Hood. Lots of variety, none of the flooding and hurricane force winds that devastated the Oregon Coast, and only an occasional fog inversion that doesn't last more than a day or two. The low temperatures are staying moderate: 29 degrees in November, and 27 degrees so far in December. So mild that we are still able to harvest some lettuce, green onions, cilantro, and celery from the vege garden. And the seed catalogues for next season are starting to arrive...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Autumn Stats

Here are the numbers for this past autumn's weather (September through November). The temperature averaged 51.7 degrees. This was 0.6 degrees warmer than the long term average (1926 thru 2006), but 0.7 degrees cooler than the short term average (2000 thru 2006). Pretty much a draw.

Autumn precipitation was 9.97", wetter than the long term average of 8.14". The snowfall at our house in west Hood River was 5 inches. An average autumn in Hood River receives 2.3 inches of snow. The historical record for autumn snowfall is 32 inches (1973).

Wind speed averaged 2.3 mph, pretty close to the 2000 thru 2006 average of 2.5 mph.

My previous prediction for this autumn's weather was "warmer and drier". This further establishes my uncanny ability to make inaccurate weather predictions.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

You Want Data Points? You Got Data Points.

In the past few days, the WeatherUnderground map on the Hood River Weather site has dramatically increased the number of weather stations displayed, mostly by adding Agrimet, ODOT, and other government weather sites.

This is a major improvement in local weather data. The more data points, the better. And it doesn't bother me in the least that our home weather station data circle is now pretty much totally covered up with other stations' circles. Nope, doesn't bother me a bit. The more the merrier. *sniff*

Sunday, December 2, 2007

November Revisited

This November, the average temperature was 0.6 degrees warmer than long term averages, and 0.6 degrees above 2000-2006 averages. Rainfall was slightly above average. The first snow fell on November 18, and additional snow later in the month, for an unofficial total of 5 inches in Hood River. Much higher snow amounts were recorded in the middle and upper valleys. Wind speeds were lower than average, with west and east winds pretty much equally distributed. There was one extended high fog / low clouds inversion event around Thanksgiving.

There were no local records set in November.

High Low Average Historical Average Variance
Temperature (F) 66.0
Wind (mph) 35

Rainfall (in) 1.17

Barometric (in Hg) 30.56 29.63


Much less snow overnight than expected, at least for west Hood River. 4 inches on the deck and melting, as the rain starts to pick up. Major flood watch/warnings are posted for most of western Oregon as moisture-laden subtropical fronts blast in today and Monday, with a lot of snow on the ground to melt.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Snow Again

High noon, and the aforementioned snow storm has started at our west Hood River location. Intermittant light flakes so far. 1 inch of previous snow is on our deck, and this storm could add 6 to 12 more. I've received reports of 12 inches of previous snow on the ground in upper Odell, and 17 inches in Parkdale. Add another foot or so on top of that today and tonight, and then rain tomorrow and Monday. Flooding is a distinct possibilty. Hopefully not, as we don't need a repeat of Nature's re-design of the Hood River port area last year by the movement of gazillions of tons of sand and silt from Mt Hood and the Hood River valley down to the Columbia River.

Not that we mere mortals have much of a say over such things.

Feel free to post your snow amounts here.