Archive for the 'environment' Category

Animated Color Satellite Images from GOES East

goes-s-rockies.gif

When monsoon season is upon us here in the desert, it’s a good idea (and is our practice) to keep an eye on the weather. From the internet, we use both radar and satellite imagery to assess the probability and intensity of thunderstorms in our area.

We recently made the discovery that the GOES East weather satellite imagery is available in animated sequences of several regions at the GOES East Imagery website. We downloaded the image above from the Southern Rockies region in color.The GIF animation above was captured early this afternoon and shows two hours of imagery taken at five minute intervals.

As you can see, at the time, Arizona is mostly under cloud cover. You can watch as cumulus clouds form over the Rockies and other mountains. You can also see the general circulation of air masses during the sampling period.

All the information we glean from the several weather sites on-line help us to adjust the timing of our routine activities (shopping, dog-walking, etc.).

First 2018 Monsoons

Thunderhead Remnant

With the resumption of Eastern Pacific tropical cyclone activity, bands of moisture are now crossing into the north such as to combine with the Sonoran heated desert to produce thunderstorms. We weren’t directly under any of today’s activity, but it’s just a matter of time until we are.

The dissipating thunderhead in the (clickable) image above was east of us over the mountains. Looking at NWS Doppler radar earlier, we could see some heavy echoes but no warnings or advisories. I had a dental appointment today and was worried that the storm might catch me out and about, but that didn’t happen.

The second tropical storm in the Pacific (TS Bud) is due to send more moisture our way by the weekend. We’re ready for it and could use the rain.

Uprighting a Drooped Ocotillo

Before and After

About two years ago, we acquired a couple of new ocotillos for the rock and cactus garden. One of them, sadly, did not completely assimilate itself on the rocky slope where we planted it. The shrub eventually sagged, leaning downhill until finally last week we noticed it was completely drooped on its side and in contact with the ground.

This morning, I decided to move the drooping shrub to a nearby, flatter location and to set it more upright. I dug out the base of the ocotillo from the sloped location, dug a hole in which to insert the big guy and plopped it down into its new location. I used a rope and some of my old Navy knots to hold it upright while I shoveled the dirt back down on its roots.

Now, hopefully, the ocotillo will recover, spread out its canes and become an attractive xeriscape asset to The Better Half’s rock and cactus garden. By the way, the other transplant is doing just fine.

Clickable image: Before and After.

AZCDL: No Blood in the Streets

acdllogo.jpgDave Kopp, President of the Arizona Citizens Defense League issued an email to AZCDL members today regarding the recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida. He correctly points out that both states affected by these natural tragedies are generally well-heeled with regard to citizen firearm ownership. In spite of that, the post-ravaged areas have few violent incidents reported.

No Blood in the Streets

I’d like to take a moment to thank you for your kind donations to the relief efforts for hurricanes Irma and Harvey. There is still much to be done to help our fellow Americans rebuild their lives, but it serves as a vivid reminder of what can be done if we group together for a common cause.

Historically, Florida and Texas are some of the most-heavily armed states in the country—and yet, there were relatively few cases of firearms related violence during these tragedies. As you and I would expect, responsible firearms owners did not use the chaos of these storms to perpetuate violence. Instead, they—and many others—joined together to help their neighbors in a time of need.

AZCDL works to promote safe gun ownership, and to create laws that enable us to protect our rights. Please, click here to help us continue that mission, and help us to dispel the notion that firearms owners are irresponsible and dangerous.

Thank you,
Dave Kopp
President, Arizona Citizens Defense League

We continue to support AZCDL and are a regular reader of their literature on their site and on social media.

Hurricane Preparedness

TofuThere are currently three hurricanes active in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. All are posing risks to Caribbean islands and to Mainland US destinations. The most significant storm is Irma, currently wreaking havoc on Puerto Rico and likely to devastate its way through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and thence up the east coast of Florida. At 941 millibars central pressure and winds of 160 mph, it is possibly the strongest storm ever seen in the Atlantic. We will be praying for those in the path of the storm to be well and safe.

All seriousness aside, I have included a (clickable) whimsical photo (I forget where I stole it) of the vegan section in the deli department of some store in Houston where folks there stocked up on everything but the tofu crap. Who could blame them?

Oh, and stand by for the calls by “climateers” to blame this on man made greenhouse gasses instead of the natural forces on the planet as intended by its creator.

Moon Shadow

Moon Shadow

I found this image on Spaceweather.com of the moon’s shadow falling on where the Better Half and I watched the total solar eclipse. The text indicated that this was taken from a balloon at 130,000 feet above the Earth.

We still can’t get over how spectacular the eclipse was to see it at near the centerline. Totality lasted almost two and a half minutes and the eerie darkness falling on Casper, WY where we watched was equally astonishing.

The next total eclipse seen in the US won’t be until 2024 and, if we’re in good health, we may try to find totality again. If the Good Lord keeps us feeling this good into our octogenarian years, then it just might happen.

Monsoon Season is Upon Us

Monsoon Radar

Last night, tonight and for the next few afternoons and evenings, the radar image above is typical of the precipitation activity over our state. We experienced our first downpour late yesterday, with the results being a lot of flooding and debris in the usual places. There were reports of downed trees in town and emergency crews restoring electric power and other interrupted services.

We were fine here, albeit a bit shaken when lightning struck just up the hill behind our house. It seemed to rattle the dogs a bit too, but no harm to anything we could detect. None of our utilities were interrupted (other than satellite TV due to the precipitation) and we stayed cool (104° and 77% humid outside).

Our retention walls behind the RV drive did the trick yesterday, with the heavy runoff diverted to the west side of the property and down the creek that The Better Half and I devised in early 2016. We should continue to be OK in the weeks to come.

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