Saturday, August 26, 2017

Harvey's Drift

The NVG model suggests Harvey's storm circulation should shift south. Instead, the circulation is shifting ever so slowly east. Either direction is plausible, but the fact the model diverges from reality suggests the model is off track. Either the model initialization has small errors in it, or the model has other unaddressed problems.

In any event, Harvey is going through a complicated decay process. Rains have completely collapsed on the storm's west side as dry continental air is introduced into the storm.

Nevertheless, Harvey's decay may eventually lead to a kind of rejuvenation. As the circulation slows down the circulation expands, and seaward rain bands once again have access to water-vapor-laden air from the Gulf. Indeed the rain bands forming just offshore of Matagorda Island right now look pretty potent. One rain band is feeding directly into Houston, where it's raining cats and dogs right now. Even if the storm doesn't completely revive, it might have enough strength to continue to push rains into southeast Texas.

And that's what's likely to happen, at least for the next 12 hours. The storm will continue drifting east tonight and tomorrow and heavy rains will continue falling to the east of Harvey's center, particularly in the Houston area.

My Secret Vice

I went to watch Atomic Blonde again. It's my secret vice. Like Alfred Hitchcock, I love the ice princesses.

Harvey Will Take Its Time

Now that Harvey is ashore, it's weakening, and forward movement is slowing down. The next question is when its forward movement stalls and reverses, and the storm starts heading south again.

The loop is now forecast to be bigger than was forecast before, so as it weakens it may go back towards Brownsville again, crossing the coast into the Gulf (12 noon, Monday, August 28th). Once it's over the water again, Harvey will strengthen for its second landfall, coming ashore perhaps near Galveston (6 a.m., Saturday September 2nd), with a subsequent march towards Texarkana.

Note this forecast suggests the storm's progress is slowing down. It's likely Harvey will be in and around Texas for more than a week. Harvey is just getting started....

Friday, August 25, 2017

Abert Rim Country and the Volcanic Plateaus of Northeast California

I've never been in this corner of the Great Basin before: Gray's Butte, near Alkali Lake, at the north end of Abert Rim Country in southern Oregon. Love the vistas!
Children's artwork at the highway rest stop.
Abert Lake. Water! We are back in the Pleistocene again!

Near Lakeview, Oregon, the highway makes its final ascent out of the Great Basin.

Where's Mt. Shasta? Where's Mt. Shasta? Oh! Right in front of me!

Nice drive, followed by traffic jams along I-5 near Redding and Anderson, CA, and a quick race home to musical theater rehearsal (to which I arrived five minutes late).

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters (recently renovated because of an invasion of assclowns).
The firefighter barracks were where Ammon Bundy and his conservative assclowns made themselves at home during their siege. I wanted to look at the trench the dug out using a backhoe, apparently as a tank trap, which they dug through Paiute sacred relics and used as a toilet trench, but the fellow said it had been filled in and I'd never be able to tell it had ever been there.
Delightful museum!
The biggest problem at Malheur is an infestation of carp. These fish eat everything in sight and limit the natural productivity of the refuge. They've been trying all kinds of things to fight the carp since 1955.
Land use is intricate at Malheur. The refuge has to coordinate with private landowners through the basin to fight carp, and to help try to coordinate harvesting so as not to pose a threat to bird nesting sites.

Conservative political ideology among some surrounding landowners creates friction and vastly-complicates management problems at Malheur.

Conservative political ideology is something like an infestation of carp. Ideology limits what our nation can produce. The reason we can't have nice things is because of conservative political ideology.

When they poured the concrete for this sidewalk, some large animal couldn't wait for the concrete to cure.

Off to Burns and the Malheur River Country of Oregon

I was surprised by the size of the Malheur River. A dry land, but with access to more water than in the American Southwest.
Burns is the largest town in 150 miles in any direction. And it's not that big.

I talked briefly to an owl-eyed boy, about nine years old (who reminded me of me when I was his age), in the Days Inn motel lobby. The transmission failed on their vehicle and they had limped into town. His dad was busy trying to arrange bus trips for his family to Reno, and farther on, plus arrange for car repair. Thousands of dollars. Sounded like a perfect nightmare. Something to remember in the future!

I wanted steak, so I ate here.
I was charmed by these abrupt mesas and flatlands with swales near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It reminded me very, very much of New Mexico, on the opposite side of the Great Basin, a thousand miles away. To me, it looked like Native American paradise. Desert, but with lots more water and wildlife! If the Ancestral Pueblo Indians had known of this place, they would have left New Mexico immediately and come over here. And this place wasn't empty either - the Paiute are nearby.

A Few Boise Signs

Interesting-looking building in downtown Boise.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

On The Shores of Payette Lake

The Total Eclipse of the Sun - Cascade, ID - August 21, 2017

Bedsheet to look for shadow bands. It was a brand-new set of queen-sized bed sheets. In retrospect, I wish I had ironed it in advance, since the shadow bands were subtle.

Here is a video of Shadow Bands from the Total Eclipse of the Sun in Cascade, ID, on August 21, 2017 (1:20 & 3:25).

The shadow bands appeared to be subtle - perhaps a function of elevation above sea level.

The view is looking north, at about 11:26-11:28 Mountain Daylight Time. The location is Kelly's Whitewater Park, East Mill Street, Cascade, Idaho, USA, 83611. The location in NAD 83 coordinates as obtained from Google Earth: (44.512510°, -116.033214°) at 4,754 feet above sea level.

The folks in our corner of Idaho were surprised at how small the crowds were. They were expecting something apocalyptic, but it was nice. The rafters were shocked at how small the crowds were at the Cabarton launch site into the Payette River - the smallest they had ever seen. I understand crowds were much bigger, however, near Idaho Falls - the closest place for Salt Lake City crowds to go.
The party next to us on the lawn brought a colander with which to monitor the eclipse.
There were several osprey nests nearby, with nestlings, and osprey. We vowed to try and watch them for any unusual behavior, but in the end we were too distracted by the eclipse to do so.
Camp Buzzell.
The Payette River ran past Kelly's Whitewater Park.
Volunteer models for the gear offered by Idaho Shirts (which I promptly ordered online).

My understanding was that it was better to underexpose photos of the total eclipse. I underexposed the shots so much that even with digital enhancement, you can barely see the Sun. Oh well. Maybe next time....

Interestingly, it never got completely dark. It was twilight, but a very strange twilight, where it was nearly-dark near the Sun, but light on the horizon in a 360-degree circle. It must have been an amazing jetliner flight there. Streetlights came on and Venus appeared in a completely-unexpected part of the sky. It got really chilly, and the eclipse was followed by the most rapid "sunrise" ever!

Photo by Janice Mathews.

What impressed me most about the eclipse was its brilliant, luminous silver color. Pictures of the solar corona are often portrayed as golden. I expected gold. Instead, I got this beautiful silver!

Most beautiful spectacle ever!