Climate Change

I’m Just a Little Black Wall Cloud, Pay No Attention to Me.

Climate change is real. Here in Saint Louis, over the last twenty years, three-quarters of our summers have been wetter than usual. This summer is no exception. We’ve had rain almost every day this week. It is all that warmer and wetter Gulf air that is being swept up north to us that is causing this climate change. We dodged Ida, but I asked the boys if they were affected at all by it. In Boston, Dave and Maren “evacuated” before the storm arrived. This holiday weekend is a double wedding weekend for them. One is in upstate New York, while the other is in Indiana. In NYC, Dan and Britt were not so lucky. At five flights up, I didn’t think that flooding was much of a concern. He said that they had a roof leak, manageable but annoying, but Britt’s folk’s place in Queens got flooded. They got like a good 8-10″ of water in their basement’s low spot. In Britt’s studio at their house, it was closer to 1-2″. A lot of her stuff was safe by virtue of being on shelves, but definitely a few things were ruined.

So, while the Eastern US is drowning, the West is bone dry and is burning up. Last year, my Dad and brother Chris in Monterey had to evacuate for real, because a fire was approaching. Fortunately, that fire was stopped and after a harrowing day, they could go back home again. This year, it is my other brother Frank and his wife Kathy who are being troubled by fire. In particular the Caldor fire that is in the news. This fire started about halfway between their house in foothills of central California and their lodge at Lake Tahoe. We drove through the area of the Caldor fire earlier this summer, when we drove up to Tahoe. It is a very rugged and mountainous land. The wind has been blowing the fire away from their house, but towards their new lodge in Tahoe, which is located about halfway up the lake on the California side. They got an evacuation order for their lodge, but they were not there. The Caldor fire is still uncontained and likely won’t be put out for months. Such is the new normal of climate change.

The Dragon

The “I’s” Have It

Ida Making Landfall

From today’s Washington Post:

Since 1953, tropical storms have been given human names to make identifying them more convenient. For 26 years they were given only female names, but in 1979 the male-female alternating alphabetical lists that we use today were introduced. Names associated with storms that cause severe loss of life or property damage are retired by the World Meteorological Organization. The idea of permanently retiring a storm name began after the 1954 hurricane season when Carol, Edna and Hazel ravaged the East Coast. Since that fateful year, a total of 94 storm names have been retired, and the count of those beginning with “I” totals more than any other letter: 11. Here they all are, listed by year: Ione (1955), Inez (1966), Iris (2001), Isadore (2002), Isabel (2003), Ivan (2004), Ike (2008), Igor (2010), Irene (2011), Ingrid (2013) and Irma (2017).

I find it interesting that all except two of these retired storm names have occurred in the last twenty years. Continuing in this vein, Hurricane Ida made landfall this morning just south of New Orleans, sixteen years to the day that Katrina struck that same city. It is too soon to know how much damage Ida will do. We probably won’t have any idea of the damage for days, but there is a distinct chance that it could become the twelfth “I” storm name to be retired. This is not entirely coincidental, because “I” placement in the alphabet generally aligns well with the peak of the hurricane season, where the most damaging storm are formed. Over the past 50 years, the average “I” or ninth named storm forms on September 23, toward the tail end of peak hurricane season. But during active seasons, which produce the most extreme hurricanes, the average date creeps up about a few weeks, coinciding with this year’s peak hurricane period.

It was a Dark and Stormy Night

TV Test Pattern

We woke to no power. We were not alone, along with our hotel and Jane’s place, 700,000+ other households in Southeast Michigan were also without electricity. We missed being able to stay at Harry’s, what with his backup generator. He still had power at his new place. I showered in the dark, while Anne bathed by the light of her iPhone. Fortunately, the hotel hadn’t lost power until after seven in the morning, so there was hot coffee. I snagged the last cup. After checkout, we had to drive into town before we found a coffee place that still had electricity. After coffee, we swung by a UPS store to turn in the router that had been at Harry’s. It was a perfectly painless process. Not having anything else to do, we returned to Jane’s and called an Uber. The first one hailed took one look at us, drove on by us and decided not to stop. Maybe it was the Missouri plates or the four Trump bumper stickers on the car next to ours, I don’t know? The second Uber called did stop to pick us up. It’s driver had worked all night, 13 hours straight, and we were his last fare. He regaled us with horror stories from through the night. We got to the airport early, found an out of the way corner to sit, wrote this post and waited for our flight.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

West Kansas Rain Storm

Yesterday, it rained practically all day. It started in the middle of the night and continued on into the late afternoon. We had errands to run, so I had to get out and drive in it. We recycled some of our old electronics at an Earth Day Drive out in Frontenac. As bad as it was having to drive in that weather, at least I didn’t have to stand out in it all day like the worker there did. The driving wouldn’t have been so bad if it weren’t for the maniacs that that weather brings out. I guess with most people slowing down a bit it must drive those people crazy. Our other errand was out in Fenton. Anne had broken her sewing machine. She speared the plastic foot that guides the cloth with the needle and needed a new foot. She had called around the day before and in the end this place, the place where she originally bought the machine was the only one that had the part that she needed. She took her machine with her, just to be sure that she got the right part and left it there for a cleaning. She has been going hot and heavy, trying to finish the quilt that she is making for our new bed. She had hoped to finish it this week, but now that is going to have to wait. Once she finishes this quilt, she will start sewing the MaD quilt or is it the DaM quilt. Not yet, but wait until she is up to her eye balls in it. Afterwards, we finished cleaning the house. Anne has been doing most of the cleaning, but I cleaned the kitchen. The house looks nice now. Nicer than it has since the start of the pandemic. Now if we could just keep it that way until June, when CRaB are supposed to arrive. The yard looks nice too. I was finally able to successfully engage a lawn service. The guy did a really great job.


Winter Storm Xylia Sunset

While much of the Midwest is getting pummeled by winter storm Xylia, here in Saint Louis it is only a rain event. There is some flooding in the area, but thankfully none of it is occurring in our basement, at least so far. Last night, I used the drone to capture this storm generated sunset. At a hundred feet up, looking west is a nice view of the Clayton skyline, silhouetted by the angry sky.

Today, while everyone else is celebrating Pi day, here in the 314-area code, we have Saint Louis day to celebrate too. Here in the Lou, we’re not cool enough to have someone like Eminem singing the praise of our area code, but local stores are offering special deals in honor of this numerical holiday. Mainly all sorts of good things to eat, but unfortunately for me, tomorrow is weigh-in day.

We haven’t received our stimulus checks yet, but I’m already spending mine. I’m out there already, stimulating the economy. Our venerable desktop PC’s long running case of dementia had reached the tipping point. As I write Anne is rebooting it, because the Photo app stopped working. Its flaws are too numerous to count, but lately, like after this last week’s Windows update they seem to have multiplied. So, I ordered a new machine, which is due for delivery later this week. After ordering the new machine, I backed up the old one in preparation for the switch over. The price point for PCs has really dropped.

So, we have enough stimulus funds leftover to upgrade our iPhones too. Our phones are both so old that some apps have stopped working on them and new apps won’t even load. When we were at Laumeier sculpture park this last week, there was a new exhibit called Time Fork. As near as I can tell it is an augmented reality app that interfaces with the more bricks and mortar parts of the park. I’m only guessing though, because my phone is too old to support the app, but that will change soon and then we’ll be all up to date. Yeah…

Every dog has his day and mine was yesterday. The below pictured score is typical of one of our games, except for this one the names have been switched. I finally won a game. Overall exceptional letter draws and a seven-letter tray emptying play made the difference. I can see why Anne likes this game so much.


Macaw Thaw

Blue and Yellow Macaw

Yesterday, we were walking in Tower Grove Park. It was a beautiful day, the best so far this year. Warm and sunny at 65 ºF. Anne was doing her usual bird count, but was not having much luck with it, when we met this macaw. A guy was walking his bird. What’s more he was walking it barefoot. It was warm, but not that warm. He said that he has had the bird for twelve years, but they can live to eighty. The guy looked older than us. He said that the bird was in his will. Later, we walked by the park’s fountain that was still covered in ice. We may be enjoying a February thaw, but we still have some winter yet to go.

Frozen Fountain