Friday, March 20, 2009

Everything Old Is Vernal Again

Ahh, Spring. Probably my favorite turning of the seasons. Daylight hours are starting to win out over nightdark hours. It's getting slowly warmer, and the biosphere is beginning to rejoice in a burst of growth and activity. Rebirth and renewal are the blessed order of the day.

I've tossed the term "vernal equinox" around previously in blog posts each Spring, but the word "vernal" has always thrown me. "Autumnal" equinox, well, it's pretty obvious what that means. But "vernal"? So today I looked it up. The definition that seems to fit the best is "fresh, vigorous, new". A perfect description of Spring!

Like last Spring, this year's winter weather in the Pacific Northwest is dragging its feet, kicking and screaming into Spring, with cooler temperatures and rain. But that's ok. The mountain snowpack is in good shape, the vegetation is waking up in an orderly fashion (not too early), and the garden soil is ready and willing. It's all good. Enjoy.

Flashback: Piano lessons, age 10. This one was fun to play, if a bit over the top. I really should do a keyboard synth version, with hard driving rhythm section. Hopefully Felix Mendellson would approve.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Walking On Sunshine

I woke up this morning to a forecast of two more sunny days ahead. There was something else I woke up to also, but I'll get to that later. This will be a three day run of sunshine; which I think is the longest sunny stretch in town all winter. Temperatures aren't especially warm though; highs in the 40 to 50 range. Still, it's sunshine. Beautiful, glorious, life-giving sunshine.

With daylight savings time now in effect, there's time after work to get out and walk, bike, garden (or whatever you like to do outside) and soak up some rays.

In fact, it's after work right now, and I just got back from walking The Stairs in downtown Hood River. Good workout, those stairs... a perfect example of the principle that "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".

If I continue this exercise (and assuming it doesn't kill me) I will be the owner of legs of steel, with the rest of me made of some other, more rubber-like substance.

So what is it about sunshine that lifts people's spirits? Is it vitamin D? Fluctuations in the levels of melatonin produced by the pineal gland? Other hormones kicking in? One thing's for sure, though: Don't it feel good?  

I also woke up to a song stuck in my head, and I thought I would share.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

February Revisited

Compared to historical data, February in Hood River was colder, drier, and less windy than average. To view my weather station's monthly summary and graphs at Weather Underground, click here.

The average temperature was 1.1 degrees colder than long term averages, and 2.6 degrees colder than more recent averages (2000-2008). Wind speeds were low, due to persistent inversion conditions.

In fact, if I had to sum up February in three words, they would be: "Persistent Inversion Conditions". However, as is typical during inversions, there was an abundance of sunny weather at higher elevations and at the Mt Hood ski areas.

There was one weather record set in February. On the 27th, the official rain total of 0.98" broke the old record (for that date) of 0.95" (1976).

The data below is from my home weather station. The "historical average" numbers for temperature and rainfall are from the Hood River MCAREC data. Historical wind average is from my station's 2000 to 2008 data. Note that average wind speeds include all 24 hours of the day and night, which is why they are way lower than daytime peak winds. In addition, the wind speed at this station is considerably lower than on the Columbia River.

High Low Average Historical Average
Temperature (F) 54

Wind (mph) 34


Rainfall (in) 1.27

3.04 (total)