mellowtigger: (twitch)
Okay, I lied. Here is one more post involving the weather.

I scheduled the whole day for vacation from work today, because I knew from 4 years ago what an electromyograph experience is like. It's basically just legalized torture where they electrocute and stab you with needles repeatedly for an hour. Once again, I walked away from the experience leaving several large spots of panic sweat behind me on the paper gown and paper exam table cover.

snow 20140417 ThursdayMy body didn't cooperate by offering any twitches during the exam, but my feet joined wholeheartedly by developing full blown muscle cramps while he was sticking me with needles. It was the same kind of cramp that I get while driving. We triggered it by having me press my foot hard against his hand, similar to stepping on the accelerator pedal. (Except that I also had a needle probe stuck in my lower leg too.) The doctor doing the exam just commented that, like 4 years ago, I was showing "abnormality" only in a single nerve. If it is multiple sclerosis, then all of my nerves should be affected nearly the same. I think they still have no clue what it might be. If it's not an incredibly slow-progressing MS, then I'm out of guesses too.

They didn't offer me any valium this time, but I prepared for the EMG yesterday by stockpiling some alcohol at home beforehand. I wanted to have booze available as soon as I got home. I was right; it has helped. I'm feeling a lot less fight-or-flight now, which is good. My muscles in many places are a lot more sore this time than they were after the first EMG test. It takes a while to calm down from such intense alarm, though. Or it does for me, at least.

I got home and started "chilling out" right away. Literally. The house conspired with the weather to turn cold. The heater went out early yesterday, and we got about 3 inches of snow last night. The temperature inside the house stabilized around 14C/57F, so after my exam I drove straight home and began drinking local Saint Paul beer "Cygnus X-1 Porter" while sitting under a blanket on the couch.

The repairman arrived about 2 hours ago and has the heater working again.  Life is nearly back to normal today. I'm still wishing for a daily job experience that didn't keep me unduly stressed. It would be good for my nerves... metaphorically and literally. For now, though, I'll settle for a day off from work and another beer to help forget the morning torture session. Cheers!
mellowtigger: (dumb)
We had above-freezing nights recently, and the snow was melting away quickly.

Thursday night, however, we had another bout of cold weather and precipitation.  I worked at home via internet on Friday so I could stay home and avoid the unplowed roads.  The street in front of the house was not plowed until about 9:30am that day.  The warm weather returned, though, and the snow is almost all melted again.   Here are images from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

snow 2014 April 04 Fridaysnow 2014 April 05 Saturdaysnow 2014 April 06 Sunday

It'll still take a few weeks for the ground to be anything other than a block of solid rock (ice), but at least the worst is behind us now.

With the weather no longer a point of discussion, I'll have to find something else to write about.  I haven't had the energy/focus to construct paragraphs of substance lately.  Even my game-playing has been very ADHD, skipping from one unsatisfying game to the next in quick series. It seems that I mostly commute-work-commute-sleep every weekday.  In "spare" time, I'm mostly not thinking about anything at all.  Then on weekends I catch up on all the tv shows that I recorded during the work week.

But... no more excuses, right?  Focus.  Focus.
mellowtigger: (snow)
deep snow March 8thIt's so disappointing to read posts from other people who are already preparing for their gardens.  Here's the view outside my bedroom window today.

The temperature is almost up to freezing today.  In Minnesota, that means it's wonderfully warm.  People are driving with their car windows cracked open.  I expect to see joggers at some point this weekend.  I went to see the movie Frozen at matinee prices earlier today, and I almost skipped bringing my light coat with me.  I think everyone else was already outside enjoying the warmth, because I was the only person in the theater for that movie.  The Twin Cities have above-freezing weather in our forecast for many days, but it will still require many weeks for all of this accumulated snow to finally melt away.

I've been ill for over a week now with a sinus/throat infection that transformed into crud in my lungs.  The fever seems to be gone finally, but I'm still coughing.  Work is still stressing me out, and I'm pursuing both a medical explanation for it and a less complicated work process.  We'll see which alternative offers a solution first.  This winter has been hard for people other than me, too.  My former database administrator is dealing this weekend with a sister who died a few hours ago.  Another renter in this household is recovering from a stroke that he experienced last weekend.  I think he finally got out of the hospital yesterday, but he's staying elsewhere at the moment.

I thought we had an arrangement, 2014.  Better days ahead, you know?  Ah, well.  At least this warmth is good.
mellowtigger: (snow)
backyard snowIt's been colder than usual in Minnesota this winter.  We've also received a respectable amount of snow.  Here's the view outside my window now.  The snow (after shoveling and snow blowing since December) is as tall as my car.

Minnesota Public Radio aired a 5-minute story saying that we haven't had a winter like this one since 1981.  We've had 5 ground blizzards this winter, ice covering 91% of Lake Superior, frost depth to 1.2 meters (4 feet), and 40 consecutive days of subzero Fahrenheit temperatures here in the Twin Cities.

I've never known Minnesota to simply "shut down" because of the cold, but it happened on January 3rd this winter because of the deadly windchill.  That Monday morning, I tried driving to work when it was -27C/-16F (-39C/-38F windchill).  My engine soon overheated, though, because the radiator was frozen. I turned around to drive back home, but I had to stop 4 times to let the engine cool down before continuing.  Unfortunately, the frozen radiator meant that I had no heat inside the car either, so my hands and feet were bitterly cold by the time I made it home again.

T'Reese licking condensationOne side effect of the cold temperature is the condensation.  All of the windows drip with air moisture that has condensed onto the cold glass.  Occasionally, I'll hear a leak that spills water out, but when I go to investigate I just find that a window sill has collected too much water and it finally leaks over the edge in a small torrent.  Both of the cats have learned to enjoy it, though.  T'Reese favors licking the water from the sill (pictured here), while Hope licks the water directly off of the window panes... both the upper and lower panes.  They keep my bedroom window from spilling any water.

Later that cold day, when I drove a short distance to the repair shop to have my radiator fluid flushed and replaced with something more cold-hardy, I heard a guy there parrot word-for-word the conservative media talking points about global warming being nonsense because, you know, it's cold now.  I see 3 problems with this opinion.

First, it's winter.  Give me a break.  Of course this time of year is when you'd expect it to be cold, and especially here in Minnesota.  Second, this kind of weather used to be typical for Minnesota, back decades ago before climate change had become so noticeable.  Now, weather that used to be common for this area has instead not been seen in an entire generation... until finally this year.  Third, while Minnesota experienced its burst of cold, Alaska was baking in a comparative heatwave.  Places there have actually lost their snow cover to the melting... in Alaska... in winter.

As I keep saying, an atmosphere with more energy will become "well mixed", with currents breaking usual patterns of air circulation to spiral off into unusual locations.  The more heat you add, the more frenetic those eddies become.  I expect it to behave much like the phenomenon you see while watching a pot of boiling water.  So, yeah, it's cold; yet climate change is real.  At least the conspiracists this time made an interesting observation.  We briefly saw the meme that fake snow was falling on Georgia because it wouldn't melt over a flame.  My first thought was to wonder if the ice somehow sublimated, but the water simply absorbs into the snowball, instead.

Me, I think this winter is really cold.  I've pondered a time or two the idea of throwing a pot of boiling water into the subzero air to watch it burst into snowflakes, but... it's cold out there!  I'll just stay inside and watch the cats lick the windows instead.
mellowtigger: (T'Reese)
If you can't tell from the trees, then the cats are a sure giveaway. Cold weather has arrived in Minnesota.

I took these photos from the living room window last month. We had a brief period of cold weather that turned all the leaves. One of these days, I really should do a time lapse series from a fixed camera.

foliage 2013-10-26 foliage 2013-11-02

Since then, I saw sleet for about 20 seconds, I saw a dusting of snow, and my car slid twice on icy unsalted bridges during cold days. For the most part, though, we've had above-freezing weather during the days.

My car windshield got a nick a few weeks ago from a rock. I scheduled someone to repair the windshield with their magic resin, but 24 hours before they were due to arrive, the temperature sank down to the -13C/+8F range, and that single spot of damage cracked across the whole width of the windshield. I had the entire glass replaced that day. I see frost on my car windshield this morning, but the temperature is forecast to get almost up to freezing today.

T'Reese on pcThe cats make it obvious that cold weather has arrived. Both cats enjoy sitting on top of my high-airflow computer case. The top panel is made up entirely of airholes (like the metal screen on microwave ovens), so all the heat from the electronics can flow upward and out. Here you see my old cat, T'Reese, enjoying the warmth from the silicon furnace.

A serious design flaw of this case is the top-located power button. You can't see it in this shot, because T'Reese is sitting on it. As the cats step up or down from this perch, they often hit the button and prompt immediate shutdown of my pc. Unhappy me. I've developed the habit of opening a Notepad text document with nothing in it, just so it prompts me briefly if I want to cancel the shutdown or not. It gives me the seconds that I need to halt the shutdown before I lose my pc game or browser window.

Hope under blanketsT'Reese also has the habit (only during cold weather) of laying down in bed at night at my feet. She started doing that again last week. Not to be outdone, Hope has learned to cover herself in blankets by digging and rolling.

I enjoy winters in Minnesota when the snow arrives late.  The problem with snow here is that it lingers on the ground for months.  The snow usually doesn't begin disappearing from the ground until March or April.  If snow first arrives in October, then it makes a very long and dreary winter of the bland, bright, snowy landscape.  It's almost December this year, though, and still no snow pack on the ground.

I keep saying it, but global warming will be good to Minnesota.
mellowtigger: (disconnect)
storm waterThe Twin Cities experienced a sudden, brief, and powerful storm on Friday night a few minutes before 8pm.  We lost power at the house for nearly a full day.

During the wind gusts and downpour, my landlords were driving around the city.  They took shelter in a bank parking garage and shot some video of the water rushing into the storm drains there.  I couldn't find a way to share the video, so I took this snapshot of it (pictured on the right).  You can see power flickering in the fluorescent light.

flooded roadWe still didn't have power in the morning, so I drove out to work to see if there were issues at any of our 5 sites.  I saw tree limbs everywhere, tree trunks snapped in half, and trees uprooted.  I had to stop and turn around where a stream had flooded the road (pictured on left).  I didn't want to risk messing up my "new" car.  I turned around and found another route to work.  I spent about 2 hours sorting through what issues were fixable until such time as electricity and internet were restored at all sites, then I returned home.

It's amazing how little people know about enduring time without electricity.  It seems that not many people keep candles around.  And far too many people treat "lighted" intersections without power as a free and unregulated road.  People were just speeding on through intersections as if they weren't there!  When I realized how dangerous the roads were (because of ignorant drivers), I kept my car safely in the back yard until power was restored.

Kudos to the staff of Taco Bell #2365 who manned the rare fast food restaurant on Friday night that still had electricity.  They were clearly unprepared for much of the city stopping in for food all at once.  They handled the stress like true professionals.  My one suggestion is that maybe they should have just shut down the drive-through to force everyone to stop and park.  With the drive-through operating, though, the line was long and slow, so in-house customers could not exit until the slow parade of cars made advancement.

And boo to the city of Fridley which had several "lighted" intersections without battery power, without temporary stop signs, and without any reflective material on the light posts so people could even see by their headlights that an intersection was supposed to be controlled. With so much of the metro without electricity, there just was not the usual glow of city life to illuminate anything.  Intersections were quite dark that night.

Nothing is ever so bad that it couldn't be worse, eh?  Fun times.
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow 2013.05.03It's snowing again in Minneapolis today. It won't accumulate, but it's surprising to see snowfall this late in the year.  We have our annual fundraiser tomorrow to raise money for the animal shelter where I work.  Bad weather decreases turnout and fundraising, unfortunately.  Freezing precipitation today does not bode well for tomorrow morning.

I keep experiencing electric jolts in my foot and leg.  They are painful reminders that I'm not ready to put weight on my left leg yet.  At least the nerves haven't suffocated and died. There's enough circulation to keep them registering pain.  That's a good sign, at least.

If the swelling and electric shocks keep getting worse over the weekend, though, I'll call Monday and schedule a doctor appointment to get checked out.  I expected the clot to have withered sufficiently to have decent blood circulation in my leg by now.

Today marks 6 weeks since my leg injury, and I'm still on crutches.  I'm starting to get pessimistic about my long-term prospects.

snow

Apr. 11th, 2013 07:00 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow 2013.04.11The winter storm has finally arrived in Minneapolis.  We're supposed to get a few inches of snow and ice as it passes through the Twin Cities.

I need to go to downtown Minneapolis for a conference today (and Friday and Saturday).  My choices are:

A) Drive in rush hour to an unfamiliar destination on new snow.
B) Commute by bus and roam outside on a cane and a bad leg.

I'm opting for the bus.  I think it might be the better choice for my safety and sanity.

It's so very tempting to just stay home today and forget it all.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
I've reached three milestones, sort of.

1) The weather here has been quite warm lately (read: mostly above freezing) only small patches of snow are still left on the landscape.  We have forecast for some snow on Thursday, but at least it will be sure to melt away quickly.

2) I had a muscle cramp last night around 10pm.  It was the first cramp in over a year of good luck. I'm somewhat bummed about it.  Luckily it was in my right foot instead of my left foot where it could have aggravated my injured leg. I got up early today so I can drive out to the Autism Society Of Minnesota and make sure I get registered for the annual autism conference in 2 weeks.  I want to visit other adults on the spectrum and ask which local neurologists they've used before.  I want to find a specialist that doesn't treat me like a hypochondriac when I report symptoms.  I mailed my Minnesota Care application yesterday.  We'll see how long the bureaucracy takes to get me into a program.

3) The local gay library, Quatrefoil, is moving to a new location.  The new development will also be providing housing for low-income, elderly GLBT folk.  I emailed my information to them (in a pdf linked to by Quatrefoil for their followers) so they should contact me about my possible eligibility when units open up.  If I qualify, it would be an awesome place to call "home" for the rest of my life.  It would mean commitment to continue working in the Twin Cities too, but I think it would be worth it to be part of that new little enclave.

The seasons are changing.  Into what, I don't yet know, but it seems worthwhile to keep looking forward.

sub-zero

Jan. 21st, 2013 08:54 am
mellowtigger: (flameproof)
It's been a few years since the day's high temperature was still sub-zero (Farenheit), but today is such a day.  It's currently -23C/-9F (windchill -32C/-26F).

We've had rain recently.  Yes, rain in January (thanks, global warming!) and the temperature has been above-freezing a few different times (thanks, again!), so there are patches of land showing through the snow cover already.  The jet stream currently has a high northern loop in it, so it's bringing arctic air to Minnesota.  Today is colder than the recent trend.  It also happens to be a holiday from work today, so I don't have to drive anywhere.

I'm curious, does the Celsius world have any equivalent to the Farenheit concept of "sub-zero" as "really, really cold"?  I don't know of one.  It strikes me as similar to southerners using the word "yankee" to describe northerners.  There isn't really a reverse equivalent, is there?
mellowtigger: (snow)
20121210.snowA snowstorm dumped a daily record (Dec 9th) of snow in Minneapolis.  Now, it's -12C/11F (windchill -19C/-2F) outside, and I still need to dig my car out of the snow again. 

Unfortunately, the worker bees (2 landlords and 1 guest) who did most of the work yesterday dumped their snow right at the edge of the walkway.  Hopefully warm weather will return and melt it all away, so I don't have to throw snow over that hump all winter long.

After yesterday's short workout, I ended up sleeping 12 hours last night in recuperation.  I've mentioned that I'm tired of being tired, right?  *laugh*

Well, I guess I better get outdoors and dig my way out so I can get to work this afternoon.  :(

20121210.snow.catp.s. 11:00am

Done shoveling.  There's a new pile of snow from this second round of shoveling. Car is ready to head to work.

I'm late for a special potluck luncheon at work today, but at least I'll still be able to serve the two pumpkin pies that I baked yesterday.

That furry lump in the foreground is my cat, Hope.  She was looking out the window too, when I came around to take my picture.

first snow

Oct. 26th, 2012 08:32 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
snow.20121025We had our first snowfall in the Twin Cities yesterday. It did not accumulate, but it lasted about 20 minutes that I saw.  You'll need to click the photo to see the larger version that makes all of the snowflakes obvious.

I keep saying that global warming will result in the atmosphere becoming "well mixed", pushing air pockets off to farther places than usual resulting in weird or off-season combinations. I can't imagine any more unusual combination than a hurricane-blizzard like Sandy that is now approaching the USA coastline.

Brad Panovich is the chief meteorologist for WCNC tv news, and he says on Facebook that "Sandy combined with the strong trough will create a unique type of storm system. ... It's very rare to see a strong tropical system merge with such a strong winter like trough of low pressure. ... This system is 1 part Hurricane, 1 part Nor'easter and 1 part Blizzard potentially. Impacts of all 3 types of storms are possible depending on location."

An Associated Press story is also reporting that "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.”"

They're estimating $1 billion in damage from Hurricane Sandy.  For comparison, that figure is nowhere near the $81 billion property damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  A blizzard hurricane, though, does add to strange weather like the winter tornadoes that we've had in recent years.  Why do Americans still doubt global warming?  Oh, yeah, Faux News uninforms its viewers, that's why.
mellowtigger: (snow)
The temp has been cold recently, but there was snowfall in northern Minnesota last night. It arrived a month earlier than usual. Here, you can see photos taken by some local people.

Remember what I said about global warming causing the atmosphere to be "well mixed", like turbulence in a pot of boiling water? I expect out-of-season weather as a result, as that increasing turbulence grows strong enough to draw air currents from different areas than seasonal patterns would normally support. Overall, the trend is still for rising temperatures.

snow

Nov. 10th, 2011 10:43 am
mellowtigger: (snow)
I saw flakes of snow falling from the sky this morning as I walked to the local convenience store.

Hennepin County has voted unanimously to prevent sleepovers at the county plaza, staring Monday.  I absolutely intend to be there Monday night with my sleeping bag, body bag, and protest poster.

I was thinking about sleeping out there tonight, but I might wait until tomorrow to do it instead.  The Veterans For Peace are holding an all-night vigil from 6pm Friday to 6am Saturday in honor of Veterans Day on Friday.


mellowtigger: (bicycle)
Dodge Stratus 1996I put on my bike clothes, did my situps, put on my helmet, and filled my water bottle.  I stepped outside the door to go to my bicycle for the commute to work, and suddenly I thought, "Whoa! It's cold!"

So I came back inside and changed to my work clothes.  I'm going to drive to work today.  :)  I hadn't posted about it yet, but I did buy a car on Saturday.  It's a Dodge Stratus 1996 with 104,000 miles on it.  I updated my car insurance at a meeting on Tuesday morning.  As sparingly as I drive it, it may take a while to use up a tank of gas to figure out it's gas mileage.  I'm expecting it to be at least 20 miles per gallon, though.

I checked weather.com just now, and we have a freeze warning.  Yes, it's actually supposed to reach freezing temperature tonight.  Brrrrrr!  I bought my car just in time.  The weather is already too cold for me to commute by bicycle every day unless I spend some money on proper clothing.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
Wow, "news" agencies sure have gotten lazy. I find many reports of the entire state of Texas as a drought disaster area (213 counties out of 254, so 84% of them actually), but nobody bothers to link to the primary source of the actual government announcement.

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated 213 counties in Texas as primary natural disaster areas after one of the worst droughts in more than a century. The state sustained excessive heat, high winds and wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres. ... The drought, wildfires and other natural disasters - which began Jan. 1, 2011, and continues - caused 30 percent or more loss of forage crops, pasture, corn, oats and wheat in the following counties...
- http://www.apfo.usda.gov/FSA/newsReleases?area=newsroom&subject=landing&topic=edn&newstype=ednewsrel&type=detail&item=ed_20110628_rel_0061.html

The obvious point to liberal treehuggers like me is that global warming deniers are finally getting to roast in their own juices as U.S. weather goes haywire this year. There's even a good-but-scary video making the rounds that makes it seem ludicrous for deniers to continue denying.


Objective scientists are more hesitant to make such declarations, but they're obviously leaning to the same conclusion.

Epic floods, massive wildfires, drought and the deadliest tornado season in 60 years are ravaging the United States, with scientists warning that climate change will bring even more extreme weather. ...

"This spring was one of the most extreme springs that we've seen in the last century since we've had good records," said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While it's not possible to tie a specific weather event or pattern to climate change, Arndt said this spring's extreme weather is in line with what is forecast for the future. "In general, but not everywhere, it is expected that the wetter places will get wetter and the drier places will tend to see more prolonged dry periods," he told AFP.
- http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-experts-epic-weather-ravaging-worsen.html

The connection is so obvious that even people who would normally know better than to associate a single instance (the year 2011) with a long-term trend (global climate change) find themselves unable to outright evade the possibility.

And of course there's this million dollar question: "Does any research point to climate change as a cause of this wild weather?"

"Global warming is certainly happening," asserts Patzert, "but we can't discount global warming or blame it for the 2011 tornado season. We just don't know ... Yet."
- http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-blame-wild-weather-la-nada.html

And this is just short-term speculation.  The long-term forecasting is much worse, even if you take into account solar decline.

It's hard to deny the link when you try to imagine a potential "teachable moment" about global warming, and you end up with scenarios exactly like what we're really experiencing already.  I'm glad I've managed to commute by bicycle this month.  I regret that I plan to go back to gasoline-guzzling transportation before the summer ends.  I offer my lame apologies to future generations of humans (and plants and other animals) who will have to suffer for my convenience.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
updated tornado pathThe tornado got very close to work and home. One of the guys at work told me about a pontoon that was lifted from one lake and deposited in another lake just 2 blocks from our work site. Much of north Minneapolis is blocked off by police cars and barricades to prevent traffic into the area. After work, I went riding my bicycle, but the police prevented even that traffic. I had to detour twice from my usual bike paths.

I have updated my map from Sunday's blog post to show spots where I saw line-paths or groups of trees that were damaged. The bear icon shows where I usually attend Bear coffee each Wednesday evening, but we cancelled this week because of tornado cleanup in the area. My black line of the estimated path is obviously incorrect. It was a "small" tornado, as such things go, that directly killed only 1 person by sending a tree through a vehicle's windshield. Much less damaging than that Missouri tornado that's made international news.

Harold Camping has adjusted his Rapture prediction. May 21st wasn't the literal judgement day, it was just the figurative judgement day. Actual doom and destruction comes in October, just a few months away. Sweet. It's the comedic gift that keeps on giving. I still get frustrated, though, that 20% of Americans believe that the Second Coming will happen in their lifetime. Such belief means that people have an actual disincentive to spend any significant effort on solving real world problems. They actually hinder sociopolitical advancement because "God will destroy it all soon" anyway. *sigh*

For actual apocalyptic doom predictions, there's only one source that you need: http://www.spaceweather.com/. Just scroll down to the section on "Near Earth Asteroids". You get a nice table of asteroids on approach paths. It measures the approach using a "lunar distance (LD)" multiplier, which is the length between earth and moon. Any multiplier higher than 1 means it travels farther from us than the moon, while any value lower than 1 means it travels closer to us than the moon. You'll notice that there are currently no planet-busting scenarios in our near future.

Meanwhile, in other practical news, my organization participates in the Minnesota Animal Disaster Coalition. We remain prepared to provide emergency assistance for any housepets displaced by catastrophes, whether the tornado in Minneapolis two days ago or the river flooding in Saint Paul a few weeks earlier. I recommend that people check our website if you know of anyone who has been separated from their housepet during the recent emergency: http://www.animalhumanesociety.org/lostandfound.

tornado

May. 22nd, 2011 04:46 pm
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
We had a tornado in Minneapolis this afternoon. It came very near to my house. I never did see it, but I heard it and ran indoors to start preparing.

The weather had been semi-stormy for a while today, and the tornado alarms had already gone off once. I was in my bed napping with the kitten, when I finally decided to get up and look outdoors. The continuous thunder is what got my attention and woke me up.  I could hear a continuous thunder roll, but I neither saw nor heard lightning bolts to cause the perpetual thunder. As I was searching around for shoes to put on so I could go outside, the city sirens went off again.

I wandered outside and couldn't tell much of what was happening. It had stopped raining, and the wind wasn't bad. Sirens were still blaring, and gentle thunder was still rolling with no obvious source. Clouds were moving mostly northward, which was unusual. Clouds were obviously thicker to the west, so I climbed up on top of my truck to see if I could spot anything.

tornado in Minneapolistornado in Minneapolis

tornado in MinneapolisNot much to see, really.  As I stood there on the roof of my truck, though, I noticed something "wrong".  When you're looking up into the sky at clouds, it's easy to get confused about which direction they're traveling because different layers move at different speeds, causing an illusion of relative motion.  So I looked down between two fixed objects, the houses right across the alley from me.  It was very obvious what was wrong.  The clouds on the other side of the Mississippi River were moving southward, but the clouds right above me were moving northward.

Oops.

That's when "the sound" started.  There's no need to know the specifics of what the sound is.  Instinct takes over.  It's the same instinct that drives housepets into hiding during thunderstorms.  I knew what it was, and that's when I got down from the truck and went indoors.  I went back to my bedroom, got the pet carrier ready to stuff the two cats inside.  I turned on the television to hear the local news.

storm finally hitsThe rain and wind hit then, and "the sound" disappeared.  I went to the bedroom window to see if I could spot a funnel.  I didn't find one, but I did see the rest of the household (2 landlords and 1 renter) driving into the garage.

tornado path in Minneapolis 2011Heavy rain and wind continued for only 15 minutes or so.  The power went out.  When the rain stopped and the sunshine appeared briefly, I walked around the street for a bit.  I saw a few small tree limbs in different roads, but nothing major.  I could hear lots of sirens, mostly in the area that I had been watching earlier.

Electricity came back on quickly, after only 60-90 minutes.  I turned on the tv again.  The news station was showing from helicopter the obvious tornado trail of destruction through north Minneapolis.  I mapped out its path from the image that they showed on local news station KSTP.  They said the path was about 3.5 miles long, and it crossed the river before disappearing.

I live at point A on this map, and I work at point B.  I usually drive to work along the blue path.  I usually drive home along paths that cross the black arrow.  I guess I'll see tomorrow if the ride home is open or if I need to take detours.
mellowtigger: (snow)
Yesterday, as I walked from my truck to the office building at work, sleet bounced off of my hat and skittered across the road in front of me.

Winter can be over finally.  Please?
mellowtigger: (Default)
snow yesterdayThis view outside my window yesterday morning was discouraging.

It had a beautiful "first snow" look to it while driving to work, but honestly we've had enough of winter already.

The calendar says that spring season started a month ago. You wouldn't know it here in Minnesota.  I think we got an inch or less total of snowfall yesterday.  I'm not sure quite where we place yet, but I'm sure we're in the "top 10" years in Minnesota history for winter snowfall this season.

I want to get outside and work on the garden, but the weather still isn't cooperating. If my meals depended on it, this spring would be a yucky way to start the growing year.

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