Sunday, December 19, 2010

Once In A Lifetime

Actually, way less often than that.

That's how often we have a full moon, total lunar eclipse, and a winter solstice, all on the same date. According to "
there is only one previous instance, since the year 1 AD, of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that was on Dec 21, 1638. Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on Dec. 21, 2094."

And two days from now, December 21st, 2010, it all comes together once again, for a celestial show that will probably be obscured by clouds here in Hood River. However, that doesn't stop this extremely rare event from happening in our lifetimes, even if the visual part is behind clouds. We'll just have to use our vivid imaginations, watch it live or recorded on the internet, or check out Shadow And Substance, which does an excellent job of animating these sorts of cool happenings in the sky.

But really, the best part of this event: It's the gift that keeps on giving. From Dec 22nd on, the daylight hours start to get longer and longer.

So, Merry Christmas to y'all, and to all, a shorter night!

(unless you live in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case, never mind about the shorter nights)

Florida?? Merry Christmas from Hawaii, courtesy of Jimmy Buffett

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November 2010 Revisited

Compared to historical averages, November in Hood River was pretty much average in temperature, less wet, and less windy.

At my weather station, the average temperature of 41.5° was exactly the same as long term averages (41.5°), but cooler than more recent (2000-2009)
averages of 42.0°. We had warmer than average temperatures from 11/1 to 11/7, then a dip below normal, then a rise above normal until the 22rd, and then... an Arctic Blast. The first "below 32°" temperature (23°) was recorded at my house on 11/22, and the peppers and tomatoes haven't been the same since. That made for a very late first freeze at Hood River city elevation, as it's usually about a month earlier.

The high heat index for the month was 65°, and the low wind chill was 12°.
Barometric pressure peaked at 30.66", with a low of 29.49".

Even though the monthly precipitation (4.77") was below average (5.31"), it was interesting precipitation. The month started out with rain on the 1st, followed by more rain on the 5th thru 11th, followed by more rain on the 15th thru 19th, and then... 2" of snow on the 23rd as the arctic air settled in. Followed by 2" of snow on the 27th, and topped off with 5 inches of snow and sleet on the 30th. This made for a 9" snow month, higher that the long term average of 2.7".

All in all, an early start to the snow season, and especially welcome up on the ski slopes.

The 24 hour avg wind speed was 1.4 mph against a historical average of 1.6 mph. The high wind gust at my station was 30 mph on Nov 16th.

There were 3 local weather records set in November. On 11/2, the high temperature of 67° broke the old record of 65 (1965). On 11/14, a new "high low" record was set; 50° (previous record 46° in 1999). And if that wasn't enough, the following day set another "high low" record of 54° (previous record 48° in 1999).

The tabular data below is from my home weather station.
To view its November 2010 monthly summary and graphs at Weather Underground, click here.

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 2009 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.

HighLowAverageHistorical Average
Temperature (F)681441.541.5
Wind (mph)30
Rainfall (in)0.98
4.77 (total)5.31

A barely related footnote: As we enter the winter months, there's a tendency (at least on my part) to sleep more. And, I'm apparently in good company. Lions, for example, are sleeping tonight. At least, I sure hope they are.

Or, if you prefer, the version by The Tokens, the best known version in the long history of this song. God bless and preserve Africa's beauty and wildlife! Or... maybe that's our job. Anyway, it's home; it's where we all started.