The sky was doing some weird stuff this evening, so have some crappy “Claudia’s not a photographer” pictures of it.
It’s Storm ‘n Hail time up here in Calgary! Don’t believe me? Check out these pictures/videos taken last Tuesday when a huge storm barreled through the southern part of the city.
I love that picture of the lightning behind the Calgary Tower.
I also love that #ABstorm is a hashtag, and one that gets used quite frequently at that.
You know what’s fun? Walking in wind warning-worthy weather.
Oh wait, that actually kind of sucks.
I’m pretty sure I’m more dust than human right now.
But I got 15.87 miles in, which puts me over 550 for the year. Snazzy.
That’s all. My eyes hurt and I’m sure I’ve ingested more than my daily recommended value of dust and debris.
And then I look at the weather there and think, “HAHA NOPE!”
Things to do in Calgary:
- See the Calgary Tower
- Watch a Flames game
- Go to Cross Iron Mills Mall
- Seek shelter from tornadoes
Apparently parts of the city were under tornado warnings this afternoon. Check out some of these pictures.
Menacing, huh? Aaaaaaaaaaaand then it was gone.
(Hey look, it’s one of them TWSB posts! It’s been awhile, huh?)
So anybody who knows me knows I like clouds and cloud classifications, right? Well, so does (as expected) the World Meteorological Association (WMO). In fact, they published the first edition of the International Cloud Atlas in 1896 and have been updating it ever since.
Well, actually, the last update—meaning the last new cloud type added—was way back in 1951 (it was the cirrus intortus, meaning “an entangled lock of hair”).
However, thanks to people who really like to look up at the sky and try to classify all the clouds in it, there might be a new addition in the 2015 edition of the Atlas. The call for the possible new cloud type, the undulatus asperatus (“turbulent undulation”), arose in 2009 from Gavin Pretor-Pinney, a cloud enthusiast and founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society (I HAVE HIS CLOUD BOOK). He was editing selections of cloud photos for the Society’s gallery when he saw several of this new type of cloud which he believed did not fit into any other variety.
To gain further support for the new cloud type, Pretor-Penney worked with Graeme Anderson, a graduate student at the University of Reading, who wrote his dissertation on the undulates asperatus. In addition, many other cloud enthusiasts have continued to document cases of this type of cloud around the world with hopes that the WMO will officially add it in 2015.
Welcome to April in Alberta!
To be fair, this was just south of Calgary; the city itself was cloudy but snow-free. We were down in Crowsnest Pass for the weekend and there was quite a bit of snow going on today in that area. Still better than that September storm, though, haha.
We’re having a freaking heat wave up here, y’all. It got up to about 57 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course!) during the middle of the day.
In January. In Calgary.
We went walking around downtown in short sleeves. It was pretty freaking great!
Because it’s Foggy as hell here today.
It actually looked like smoke this morning:
I had to walk to the U of I to do stats consulting stuff and the air seemed super smoky, especially over by my mom’s house. But I guess it was just fog?
This nonsense had better go away by Saturday morning. I will walk back up to Calgary if I have to.
I know that doesn’t sound like a very long distance, but OHMYGOD.
It was really only like -8 or something (hahaha, “only” -8), but we were getting like 15 mph wind gusts—so with wind chill it was -31—and I had to walk directly into them to get home from the bus. It also didn’t help that there was snow blowing EVERYWHERE so it only took about 30 seconds for my glasses to get coated in flurry debris. Plus, it had snowed so much that it was hard to tell where the road was versus where the sidewalk was, so I was kind of stumbling around anyway, never mind that my eyelashes were freezing together and I couldn’t feel my toes after the first block.
Seriously, I have a new respect for cold now. I would not want to go back out in that.
(Except I kinda do.)
(It was exciting.)
In related news, this is going to be the first week I won’t make my mileage goal, mainly because the weather is not walker-friendly tonight and because it probably won’t be walker-friendly tomorrow. I’ll make up the lost miles after finals.
In other news: Mammatus clouds!
We be gettin’ the Chinook winds, which explains why it’s so freakishly warm today.
JUST A LITTLE BIT OF SNOW:
Holy hell, I stood out at that bus stop for an HOUR this morning. Why? Because right before my bus stop is the super busy intersection of 4th street and 16th avenue. The snow storm had knocked out the power to the lights and so it was being treated like a four-way stop.
During morning rush-hour.
It’s a damn good thing I like to get to campus early, ‘cause if I’d been waiting for the next #19 bus I wouldn’t have made it in time.
I would have just freaking walked to campus, but I don’t know how to walk there yet. It’s not a straight shot and you have to go some weird way to get there.
Holy crap, so the snow has pretty much decimated all of Calgary’s trees, or their branches at the very least. There is debris EVERYWHERE. They’re saying it’ll take at least two weeks to clean everything up.
(This is what happens when I just barely start my walk to the bus and my iPod battery bites it ‘cause I hadn’t charged it in forever.)
Yes, I took that picture on the 26th, not on the day I’m talking about it in my blog. Deal with it.
Matt, these shoes reminded me of you, so I thought I should bring them to your attention.
That’s all for today.
I missed the “early” bus this morning and was going to walk to campus, but last time I walked in this much smoke my eyes hurt for like three days straight. Since I have to proctor my students taking their exam today, I decided I would kind of prefer to have my eyesight for the morning and just waited for the “late” bus.
But tomorrow is WALKING DAY! I love Fridays for that reason alone. I should go to the fair, too. Anyone want to go to the fair with me?
I found the coolest book at Bookmans this evening. It’s called The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and it’s a half-serious, half-hilarious guide to the grey skies above us.
Using altitude as an organization factor, Mr. Pretor-Pinney discusses each cloud type, where they’re found on earth, variations of the main types, and provides awesomely-captioned photos. In what other book would you find the phrase “cloud pornography”? Or the caption, “Just as it is wrong to draw Christmas trees with the branches pointing downwards, it is also wrong to draw raindrops in the shape of tears. Children who insist on doing so should be severely punished”?
If you’re at all interested in the floating puffs of water vapor hovering above us, I’d give this book a read. It’s pretty freaking great. Totally recommend it!
I got owned by a dust devil this afternoon.
I left work around 1 PM today. Since it’s summer session at PCC and no one ever comes in on Friday anyway, I was lucky enough to park not only in the main lot but also in a nice shady spot under a tree.
So I’m walking across the parking lot and everything’s fine…it’s not windy at all (surprisingly) and even though it’s like 105 degrees, it felt good after sitting under a blasting air conditioner all morning.
I unlock the car and open up the back driver’s side door so I can throw my backpack back there. I’ve got the upper half of my body in the car (I was trying to bury my backpack under a bunch of stuff so my USBs/iPod/phone/etc. weren’t in the direct sun on the drive home) and my butt sticking out of the door.
As I’m screwing around back there I feel this fairly strong gust of wind hit my back. I didn’t want to stand up and mess up my hair in the wind (I’m vain like that), so I just kind of hung out in the back of the car for a second, bent over with my butt still sticking out.
Then this HUGE gust of wind just slams me in the back, KNOCKING ME INTO THE CAR along with a small forest’s equivalent of tree particulate, dust, and sand. The door slams behind me and I look up just in time to see the tail end of a dust devil go spinning wildly past the car. And all is calm once more.
So now the entire back seat of the car, the front passenger seat, the floor in the back, and all the stuff we had on the back seat (cloth grocery bags, my coat, miscellaneous journals and boxes and whatnot) are covered with tree debris. I got a good shot of it down the back of my shirt, too.
Haha, sorry if this blog seems obvious to you (“dust devils involve wind? DO TELL”) but that was my first up-close-and-personal experience with one. I think they look deceptively weak.
Mother nature: 1
Lewiston’s under there, somewhere.
These pictures, taken yesterday around 3 PM, show the result of an inversion, or “a deviation from the normal atmospheric property with altitude” (thanks, Wiki). In the case of Lewiston here, the inversion involved temperature: Lewiston was uncharacteristically colder than the surrounding higher elevations (it was 21 degrees in Lewiston, according to my dad’s car, whereas it was about 32/33 in Moscow).
For those readers (like none of you, but whatever) who aren’t familiar with the surrounding geography of Northern Idaho, it’s like this: Moscow and the majority of the surrounding towns sit at about 2,500 feet above sea level. Lewiston, on the other hand, is situated at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers and is thus at about 745 feet above sea level. To get to Lewiston from Moscow you have to drive down the Lewiston Grade, a 10-mile winding spiral of highway that wraps in and out of the surrounding hills and drops you a total of 2,000 vertical feet.
It sounds a lot more fun than it actually is.
Anyway, on any given day Lewiston is usually about 9,000 degrees hotter than Moscow, so to experience below freezing temperatures (and snow! Break out the panicked drivers) down there is weird.
There are several causes of inversions so I don’t know if I picked the right one to explain here, but it seems most likely given the conditions and surrounding geography. An inversion can occur when warmer, less dense air moves over a cooler and denser mass of air. This usually occurs around warm fronts (or areas of oceanic upwelling, but that’s not happening in Lewiston, haha). If the lower dense area is sufficiently humid, then a layer of thick fog can often be found at the inversion cap.
Other consequences of thermal inversions I learned about when researching this on Wiki include:
- Still, murky air
- a green flash (no, not the love child of the Green Lantern and The Flash, sorry)
- the total reflection of sound waves off the cap of the inversion, which causes major problems in the case of explosions.
But now I can’t fly out until Monday morning, at best.
Oh, also this:
Master’s degree, bitches!
I don’t know how closely any of you dudes follow the news, especially weather-related news, but as of right now the Southwest US is being battered by what are known as the Santa Ana winds.
The Santa Ana winds, which arise in Southwest California in late fall or early winter, are the strongest they’ve been in nearly a decade according to CNN. Gusting at 60 MPH in some places, they’ve already knocked out the power to a large portion of people living in Southern California.
According to the Wiki article, the Santa Ana winds arise when the surface air in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert becomes cool and begins to fall to lower elevations. Sinking into the valleys and canyons of the lower desert, the air is often pushed through the land’s channels at near hurricane forces. In addition, its sinking in elevation causes it to heats up again (a process called adiabatic heating; as the air sinks the pressure around it increases, thus causing the air to heat as it is compressed). This, when combined with the fact that the air has already been dried by orographic lift before reaching the Great Basin, makes for extremely dry winds, often with relative humidity levels below 10%, gusting at extremely high forces. These winds push across Southern California and, as evident by the recent news, cause havoc.
Woohoo, crazy weather!