weather-guessers and almanacs

traffic is a nightmare when it rains in San Diego

In spite of PhDs and supercomputers,  I have observed in The Old Farmer’s Almanac having as good or better record for tracking weather.   OFA18_Continuity__59367.1499713920The natural world – with and without man’s intervention –  is often unpredictable.  After the firestorms particularly in southern California last month, residents knew it would only be a matter of time before the winter rains came and turned the barren hillsides into avalanches of mud.   Today mud, rain and debris adds insult to ashen injury.   Newscasters will converge on the latest personal tragedy,  but other people will also mobilize to render aid, help clean up and show their compassion and humanity.

last week in Boston. Courtesy of Weather Channel.

Across the country, last week in New England and other parts of the Northeast,  a blizzard some were likening to an icy hurricane made life difficult;  the Southwest was balmy and dry.  Perhaps on one winter Sunday morning,  a frozen water heater supply pipe in an attic burst;   for someone else, it may have been navigating sixty miles along unplowed Virginia highway (without snow tires) when an overnight snow caught everyone by surprise.  Or equally resilient, a Pennsylvania widow in her 70s, shovels ten-foot drifts of Lake (Erie)-effect snow every winter to get to her car.    In the Southeast and Appalachia,  weather inflicts misery most years.  “If the crick don’t rise” (and flood the house) is not a quaint form of speech.  In Norfolk, Virginia,  with the threat of an approaching hurricane,  ships put to sea; residents ashore advise newcomers how to avoid the oddly deep ditches on either side of local roads.  For the unwary, hurricanes and late summer downpours may turn cars into submarines.

In California and along the West Coast,  a severe earthquake – once or twice in a person’s lifetime – randomly strikes.   Few flee the state because of activity along the San Andreas fault.  People adapt equally to the weather.   When it rains in winter, fire season the following year may be bad.  Sunshine and predictable temperatures offset even those who lose their property to wildfire.   They rebuild.   In 2017, wine country was devastated by wildfire, then southern California from Ventura northwest to Santa Barbara and to the south,  part of  Riverside county and northern San Diego county went ablaze as well.

Firefighters keep watch on the Thomas wildfire in the hills and canyons outside Montecito, California
Thomas fire, Montecito, Calfornia (Reuters)

Wildfires is the natural disaster that most Californians fear.  It affects most Californians as most of the population live in the regions that prior residents and stewards  have done their best and worst to preserve from fire.   It may take decades for the land to recover.   But Nature heals itself in time.   So I do not spend a lot of time worrying about the weather or climate science or climate change.   I take care of my property and help others where I am able.




My Ant Can Kick Your Weathercenter Uncle’s Butt any Day!

Ants are a heck of a lot more accurate than weathermen on TV.   Monitoring these ants diligently preparing their nest and moving material and food to and fro, I have received confirmation that they know environmental changes before we do.
In April 1900, an article in the New York Times appeared to confirm the practice – in the age of science / dawn of a new century – noting the behavior of insects including bees and ants, to predict weather fairly reliably.  A hundred ten years later, and we might still find our superior technology at a disadvantage.  This past week, in a particularly cloudless day, these Arizona ants were busy preparing for a downpour, (corroborated by similar observation over a number of years) which by the following day proved to be accurate.   And despite the weatherman on TV stating that there was a minimal chance of precipitation in the following 24 hours,  the ants proved to be the ones prepared.
If technology and wizardry can be outdone by an insect, it doesn’t say much about our Global Warming paranoid- environmentalism, now does it?     I may listen to the TV News, but in a cloudless sky, my money is on the ants predicting whether or not to bring my GoreTex with me tomorrow.