Archive for Environment

Happy New Year!

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We had a pretty good day today. It started out with a little light snow, some of which stuck. Snow is unusual for us here and, coincidentally, it snowed here on New Year’s Eve in 2014, but today’s snowfall was nothing compared to that event. After it warmed up a bit, some gentle rainfall slushed all the snow away this afternoon.

2018 was good to us. Even though we had some surgery on the thyroid last march, there have been no health issues other than the usual arthritis and other aging things. We started a diet a couple of months ago and it has been working. I lost over 10 pounds so far and a couple of notches on the belt. Damsel is doing as well.

In the coming year, we have springtime plans to head to Colorado. This year, we had a marker placed on an ancestor’s grave in Montrose, CO and we are planning to go view the work and to place a wreath or three. We also will be visiting in Pueblo, CO to place more wreaths and perhaps meet up with some long lost cousins.

For 2019, we wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!

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First Day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere

Solstice

Damsel and I were in the office this afternoon when I remarked that I think the winter solstice is today. As I looked up the time of the solstice on the internet I could see that winter had just begun only a little over an hour ago. As of December 20, 2018, 3:23 PM Arizona time, we are officially in the winter season.

We just took the dogs out for their last walk before it gets dark here. The temperature on the patio was still up at 68° F, although it will be falling rapidly after dark. We’re expecting a low of 46° F overnight.

The Northern Hemisphere might be getting a cooler winter this year according to arch-weather guru Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics. I read a recent article with an analysis of El Niño and La Niña and some sort of Pacific Decadal Oscillation that we might be in for some really cooler weather in 2019.

So, Damsel and I will be shopping for some warmer winter clothing in the post-Christmas sales. The good news is that the forecast isn’t so severe as to warrant snow tires or parkas or arctic gear. It’s Arizona, after all. The forecast for this weekend will be highs in the 70’s and lows in the mid 40’s, so the deep freeze isn’t here yet!

Screenshot above from the Archaeoastronomy website. Click for a (slightly) larger image.

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Classic Cars, Aircraft and the Weather

Classic Cars on Display

Damsel and I attended the 24th Wickenburg Annual Classic Car Show and Fly-In today. The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Sergio, however, were to cut the festivities short after about two hours into the four hour event. We got there ahead of the rain, though, and scored a souvenir T-shirt and got some pictures. The impending rain caused many of the previous fly-ins to stay at home, so the exhibits were limited today.

Air Medical Helicopter Maule M6 STOL Airplane

The helicopter (above left) is normally parked at the Wickenburg Hospital Helipad when it isn’t airborne in an air ambulance capacity. On the right with the oversized tundra tires is a Maule M6 short takeoff and landing (STOL) airplane. With a 235 HP Lycoming engine, this plane is capable of lifting off before you pass the first set of runway lights, and will land in rather confined areas with an approach speed of 45 MPH with 50° flaps deployed.

Classic 56 Chevy Wagon Arizona Rangers Pontiac Convertible

Here we see a clean classic 1956 Chevy Station Wagon which was one of the better nostalgia inducing displays. The Arizona Rangers were on hand to provide security and traffic control. They brought this lovely Pontiac Bonneville Convertible along with them.

Flooded Roadway View from the Courtyard

We were home and parked in the garage before the heavy rainfall began. I took the photo on the left during an interlude in the rain when we were out walking the dogs and Damsel took the one on the right from the courtyard. This is our usual flash flooding we get when there is a cloudburst.

Click on any image avove to enlarge.

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Tropical Cyclone Rosa

Tropical Cyclone Rosa

It looks like we Arizonans may be in for a taste of the remnants of Hurricane Rosa, currently situated in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California Sur. The storm is expected to head northward and bring rain and flooding to northwestern Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The current forecast track of the storm will bring the center of it directly over us during the next few days.

We can already see signs of the weather that Rosa is going to bring. There are cumulus clouds beginning to form in all directions from here in Wickenburg. There is a layer of thin cirrus covering the southern sky.

The warnings include heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding, which is something we’re used to getting during monsoon season. Damsel and I did our usual thing to go around the property and secure loose objects that the expected winds might blow around. We took down the flags and stored them away until after things calm down.

Rain and embedded thunderstorms are forecast starting tonight and lasting through Thursday. The image above is from the National Weather Service. Click to enlarge.

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Palo Verde Tree Rescue

Small Palo Verde Startup In its new spot

During an afternoon walk, I noticed a small palo verde tree growing on the shoulder of the road out front. I made a mental note to remove the tree from that location due to proximity to road traffic. In a couple of years it would likely have grown out into the roadway.

In discussions with Damsel, we decided to relocate the tiny tree to our rock and cactus garden on the west side away from the RV drive. If the little tree survives the transplant, we will be able to prune it into a nice addition to the garden. It can be made to look like an attractive tree, like so many in Arizona xeriscapes managed by homeowners and landscapers.

I took my spade and carefully loosened the dirt around the little tree, trying to preserve most of the roots. I dug a hole in the west garden and lowered the tree into it. I brushed the soil from the hole over the roots and the lower part of the trunk. We doused it with a gallon of water, hoping that would ease the shock to the transplanted tree.

The two images above are the before and after. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Hurricane Florence Coming - Lies to Follow

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Hurricane Florence (upper left of center in the GOES EAST animation above) is headed directly for the East Coast of the United States, probably making landfall in the Carolinas. The other two cyclones southeast of Florence are Hurricane Isaac, likely to be a problem when it strikes the Lesser Antilles, and Helene, which is forecast to drift northward over the open Atlantic and dissipate.

Florence will likely be the worst disaster to hit the Carolinas and Virginia in decades. It is forecast to make landfall as a category 5 hurricane and will be moving slow, thus prolonging the wind, rainfall and flooding. Recovery is going to be the most expensive in history for that area of the country.

Before, during and after, the alarmist Greenbats will begin their litany of misguided blame of man-made climate change. This is always predictable because of them never letting a crisis go to waste.

Pioneer meteorologist and extraordinary weather forecaster Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell Analytics penned an article Hurricane Florence: How We Got Here. These are some of the remarks he made in the article:

If I am right, this will be the most costly disaster for the Carolinas and Virginias on record. In addition, given our winter forecast, we expect the core of the cold and snow, relative to average, to be near these same areas, which for them means this could very well be the most extreme six-month period on record. A hurricane as strong as Hugo or Hazel, flooding rains due to Florence’s slow movement, the possibility of an exceptional winter — you can’t get much more extreme than that.

. . .

The 2018 Climate Ambulance Chaser Hurricane Blamefest is underway. Hopefully, if you have been following along with, you can see that this threat was a long time coming and has perfectly natural explanations. The setup for this started quite a while ago, and so I will keep clients updated and respond when called upon — and also sit back as the noise and fury hit a deafening pitch this week.

But remember the bottom line: Florence was predicted in advance, and the misery this is going to cause should be front and center. Hopefully, the response is ready to meet the challenge, which for the Carolinas and Virginias is liable to be the costliest on record when the flooding is factored in.

Joe has an excellent book he has written called The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore–And Others. Although I haven’t read the book yet (I plan to soon), I am sure it calls out the Greenbats for what they are - LIARS!

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Hardy Queen of the Night Cactus

Queen of the Night CactusThe Queen of the Night (Peniocereus greggii) cactus that grows on the slope of the hill on the west boundary of our property has had some predatory setbacks, namely something eating the green part of the stems. Regardless, it has rebounded quite nicely by growing three new stems, two longer and one shorter, over the course of the summer months.

It’s probably too late in the season to expect any flowers from this cactus, but the stems appear to be healthy. Hopefully, the predator wont be back again and maybe this cactus will flower next summer.

I found some interesting things about this cactus and it’s use for medicinal purposes in the University of Arizona arboretum pages:

Ethnobotany: Peniocereus greggii has some medicinal value and has also been used in religious ceremonies and ornamentals. Some of its medicinal benefits come from its tuberous roots which have been used to help treat diabetes and other maladies. The roots have also been used by the Tohono O’ Odham, when they boiled and drank the roots to help with respiratory problems, headaches, and digestion. The flowers have also been used in aromatherapy and ornamentally, due to it strong fragrance that some say smells like vanilla.

In the image above, the longest of the three new stems is about eight inches long. Click on the image to enlarge.

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