Wednesday, July 15, 2020

An Interesting Weather Day in Little Rhody


Like I mentioned the other day, I don't plan on continuing the WWII series on a day-by-day basis. Even in war there are days where not much happens. According to my research the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers is being held in reserve as Monty launches a new offensive, Operation Greenline which, as I understand it, is meant to draw the Germans' attention away from the pending Operation Goodwood. The latter operation is meant to capture the parts of Caen still held by the Germans.

That gives Sgt Billy Wallace time to get to know his new lads.

The Big Red One is preparing to move west, their positions in front of Caumont-l'Éventé being taken over by the newly arrived 5th Infantry Division. So it will be a few days before they got stuck in again. With a brand new platoon leader, fresh from West Point, and a new platoon sergeant who has managed to avoid front line duty so far, Sgt Brandt has his work cut out for him. At any rate it will give Cpl Wilson a few more days for that ankle to heal.

Sgt Fitzhugh and his Sherman troop are deep into the preparations for Operation Goodwood, which launches on the 18th of July, three days hence.

The Germans of sPzAbt 503 are somewhere in Normandy, being harassed by Allied air and starting to have supply difficulties. While they still have ample ammunition for their tanks, the fuel situation is starting to get critical.

The series will continue, but not every day. Being even remotely creative takes more energy than I can spare right now.


I went into work on Tuesday afternoon and was a witness to some rather sporty weather, fortunately short-lived. As I was working at my terminal in the lab, one of my co-workers came in and said, "Come outside, you've got to see this!"

By "outside" she meant outside of the lab, as the lab has no windows we can't see what is going on in the outside world. Of course, the setup is intended so that the outside world can't see what is going on in the lab either. Security dontcha know?

Anyhoo, right outside the lab is a long hallway facing south which is mostly windows. We can see towards Newport from there and can see part of Narragansett Bay as well. On Tuesday afternoon we were barely able to see the parking lot. Nearly black as night it was with low swirling black clouds not a hundred yards away. The sort of clouds which if you live in the Midwest tell you to take shelter, soon, in fact, right now.

As there were no sirens blowing (we actually have those in most towns in Little Rhody) I wasn't that worried. Though I did hustle back into the lab to check the weather radar. There were quite a few nasty cells to our west and heading easterly, i.e. towards us.

As I watched the moving radar display on the Wundermap, I saw something that caught my attention.

"Um, was that a red icon with a red swirly funnel cloud on it to our southwest?"

Why yes, yes it was. I paused the playback and moved it back to around 1455 local. Sure enough, the radar had flagged a tornado. Whether it really was a tornado or just a false indication in the software, I didn't know. Until I checked the local news, a funnel cloud had indeed been spotted in Middletown, which is just south of where I work. Other funnel clouds  and waterspouts were spotted around the area and one tornado actually touched down and caused some damage in Lincoln, RI, some ways to our north. You can read that news article here.

I've seen waterspouts off Okinawa, saw a funnel cloud well to the west-southwest of where I lived in Nebraska. I've seen a tornado forming near Denver (and yes we skedaddled when we saw that) and have had a clueless weather reader on the radio in Little Rhody telling us about a "tornado warning" in the town just north of us here in Little Rhody. Then blithely continue on with the next day's forecast. At which point the host of the program broke in to tell people in the area to immediately take cover as, he explained, a warning meant that the bloody thing was actually on the ground. Some peoples' kids...

So today's weather was a bit more exciting than I normally care for, but not enough to dampen my spirits. Besides which, there were some very lovely skies in the evening.


Be seeing you...



32 comments:

  1. We don't have tornadoes in California, either.
    Last year there were six confirmed tornadoes in the Central Valley and one was an EF-3.
    I saw a funnel cloud to the West of Corona and Norco in 2006 where enroute to Barstow from Oceanside.(Herzog Ballast Train Days)
    My sister in law called in a panic because North San Diego County was under a tornado watch. I told her to get a lot of pillows, a portable radio and get in her laundry room in the middle of the house and not to come out until the alk clear was given.

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    1. I well remember all of us huddled in an under the stairs closet next to the bathroom in the middle of the house during a tornado event in Omaha. Had the TV on in the living room to follow the storm. It got dark, it was hailing and raining, lots of lightning. A funnel cloud (I don't recall if it touched down) passed about a mile from us.

      Tornadoes can be scary!

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    2. And tornadoes can act in unusual ways.

      While downstate IL visiting cousins, a twister barreled along for nearly 7 miles, took out the ranch north of us, hopped over our house, touched down again a mile south to take out that ranch house.

      Also in IL, I spied a house which had been cleaved exactly down the middle. One half looked untouched, the other half was utterly destroyed. Very weird. Perhaps there was a steep, narrowly defined wind gradient where just ten feet over the winds were less intense.

      Rick

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    3. They can be very unpredictable, which, along with the sheer power of the storm, makes them terrifying. Well, to me at least.

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  2. Things do tend to get sporty when funnels appear, that sickly green glow in the sky and the winds start to build.......ugh! When it gets dark enough during the day that the dusk to dawn lights come on....ooohh boy!

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    1. A bit exciting, though not in a good way.

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    2. And then the tornado sirens start wailing, one after another becoming audible (different distances to sirens gives the illusion they're coming on one by one). Had an Englishman over for training on a systems years ago. He was getting more and more agitated as the winds picked up to the point that the floor-to-ceiling glass panes were visibly shaking from the wind gusts, the sheets of rain and copious lightning. He was running back and forth from north side to west side. He'd never seen such an intense thunderstorm. When the sirens went off, he asked, "What's that?" His eyes eyes got a bit bigger when we told him, and that we needed to move away from the windows. :-)

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    3. Can't say I blame him. I'd be rather agitated as well, and I know what the sirens mean!

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  3. A few years ago a very small tornado touched down a few miles from us and a local business lost its roof. Some other localized damage happened, and I don't ever want to have any up close and personal tornado experiences.


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  4. Glad you dodged hiding under your desk. Even weak tornados are dangerous.

    After we moved north out of Lubbock proper, we had a really bad storm. I hustled everyone into the basement, and was just closing the door when the phone began to ring. I belly crawled out to answer it, no one usually called after 8pm... It was dad, at work in town, telling us to go to the basement!! Sheesh...

    A small 4x6 pane of glass broke on the north side of the house, and our kitchen table was covered in shredded leaves and rain water. Like a firehouse was pushed through the hole.

    It was bone dry when I got home that afternoon... A little more than a section of land fed a small playa lake to the northwest. After the storm, it was over 3 feet deep. Probably covered a bit more than 60 acres. I may be mixing up storms but there was a tornado close by, and a swath of cotton that was beat down to dirt by the hail. That track was over half a mile long and at least 300 yards wide. Like it was plowed under.

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  5. The night the tornado bent the sky scraper in Lubbock (it was about 10 stories of so, but you could see it for miles, so...sky scraper) its sister touched down near Webb. Dad gathered the whole clan in the hallway. I knew it was bad because he looked scared. At some point during the episode, my brother broke wind. Stunk to high heavens. But pretty soon everybody was laughing like lunatics. Broke the spell it did. Not much later the all clear was sounded so we went back to bed. I think the tornado had damaged a hangar and messed up a couple of jets inside. No injuries or worse that I recall, so we got off pretty lightly.

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    1. Your brother broke wind, which broke the tension...

      Good to know. 😉

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  6. Innit mice to be talking about the weather for a change?
    ...even if it is funnel clouds?

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    1. Weather, especially really "interesting" weather or really nice weather, is always a blogging fallback! (Yes, I learned that from you.)

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  7. Surprisingly, Florida is a major location for potential tornado formation. Usually during tropical storms and hurricanes, but the grinding of two weather fronts along the spine of the state also produces the suckers. Plus lots of waterspouts due to water interactions and such. Not normally strong tornadoes and waterspouts, keeping it real around EF2/EF3 range, they are what causes a lot of the 'hurricane' damage that occurs during, well, hurricanes.

    We do get a lot of micro-bursts. A LOT of micro-bursts. Back at the old house one landed in the woods just behind the corner of my lot where it touched the hippie-racoon feeding freaks' house. You could tell because trees were down in a spiral, then you could stand at the center of the spiral and look into the neighborhood and track that sucker that went about a 1/4 mile, dropping oaks and pines on people's houses. But the weather people said it was just a microburst, no worries. Yeah, tell that to the guy who's brand new roof got cut in half and his kids' rooms smashed flat (fortunately no kids in rooms as they were off somewhere else) or the people who's boat ended up partially in their second story and the rear of the house sheared off by a pine (but no injuries.) Sucky thing is, because Florida, any wind-caused damage deductible is huge, based on a percentage of your assessed value. So those people paid out the nose for repairs. And lots of people had blue-tarp roofs for a couple months. My house, right next to ground zero? Nada a scratch.

    Weather is funny. The weather people have been promising mid-to-high 80's during the day and severe thunderstorms for 'Tomorrow and the following Week' for the last three weeks. What we get is around 1AM the weather forecast shifts one day further down the line, and we're cursed with mid-90's and dry. Which isn't sooo bad, though the solar radiation is set on 'Fry that Bald Blond Guy Right THERE!!!!' so I am not amused.

    Funny, the same weather people tell us we're experiencing global warming and are all gonna die in 10, 20, 50, 100 years, and people buy it hook line and sinker. But they can't accurately predict tomorrow's weather. Can't get the 24 hour cycle correct or even remotely correct, but can predict the end of the world 'precisely' and with a straight face, to boot. And, yes, I do point this fallacy out to the 'GloBull Warming caused by Man' Idiots who live in fear from the impending heat wave that the weather people have accurately predicted. They call me a science denier. I point out that the 'Farmer's Almanac' tends to be more reliable than the pseudo-scientific news people, because it (Farmer's Almanac) is based on observable trends from accumulated records of over 100 to 200 years. "But," they say, "observable and recordable phenomenon isn't scientific." "Oh, yes, it is, schmuck-a-ducks (or other snappy appropriate or inappropriate phrase,) it most certainly is, as it is part of the Scientific Method!" At which time they usually hiss and make the sign of the mentally illiterate or they are saying that I am #1 in Slang Sign Language. At which time I thank them for telling me that I am #1.

    All of which, unfortunately, sucks, because Mr and Mrs Professional Weather Person saying 'Tomorrow' is going to be cooler and wetter doesn't make tomorrow cooler and wetter, and I sorely miss not sweating into my unmentionables or mildewing as I shop (an unfortunate effect of 'Being Beans' is I sweat, go into semi-airconditioned building, dry off somewhat, go out and sweat, go in and dry and after about an hour or so of in and out a faint musty mildewish smell can be detected from yours truly. Joy. So when it gets 'swampy' here in Beansville, it really gets 'swampy.' Bleh. Is this TMI? Because if it isn't, I can go on and on and on...

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    1. Weather is a problem with so many variables that I am always stunned when the weather guessers are at least close.

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    2. Back in the 1970s I was swimming in Tampa Bay watching a funnel mover over the bay to become a water spout. People were running for cover but I stayed in the water to watch. Then a bolt of lightning struck the water about 3 miles away. I felt a good zap and got out.

      Rick

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    3. Weather like that is exciting to watch, until it starts trying to kill you!

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  8. On 18 March 1925 the "Tri-State" tornado traveled almost 220 miles on the ground across southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana. It killed 695 people, more than any other in US history. It lasted 3.5 hours, longer than any other in recorded history. It passed thru my hometown of Charleston, Illinois, along the way. For reasons I absolutely don't recall I was somehow selected to take part in a 1955 30th anniversary commerative ceremony held at the Coles County Fair that August in Charleston. (Even got a commerative china plate out of the deal, lol)

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    1. Powerful, destructive force of nature, fighter pilot, I dunno Virgil, I'm definitely seeing a connection...

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  9. My brother was out on Prudence Island during that, and said he was “glad his family had left the beach.” The graphic of recent local lightning strikes he sent me was insane, off the charts.

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    1. It was really insane on Tuesday. Friend of mine in Middletown, who lives on the side of a hill, had his basement flood due to the rain, there was nowhere else for it to go. First that had happened to them in 30+ years!

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  10. We have had warnings here, but no tornadoes. I have seen funnel clouds and that is enough to raise my blood pressure.

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  11. Living in Dallas in 1957 just east of Love Field, we had a front row seat for the tornado that swept along the other side of the airport. Dad and I climbed up on the garage roof to get a better view. Eerie feeling, with the warning sirens going off and the low pressure of the atmosphere and the dark almost green clouds. Relatives up in Wichita Falls had some very close calls over the years, including a very bad one in 1979 referred to as Terrible Tuesday. hey barely got into a culvert under the highway that ran behind their house, and a neighbor about 100 yds from them was killed by flying debris as she tried to shelter in a ditch. Awesome forces of nature that must be taken seriously!

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    1. Wow!

      I will watch footage taken by storm chasers out in the Midwest. The hair on the back of my neck stands up just watching video of those storms. Absolutely terrifying, yet magnificent as well.

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  12. I was slow getting into it, but I am really enjoying your fiction series. Kudos and press on, please!

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    1. I will keep going as long as I can. I'm enjoying it myself, glad you like it!

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  13. Weather can sure be spectacular. In the spring and summer direct overhead solar flux and indirect heating adds so much energy to the planetary milieu that lots of cool stuff can happen, and it often happens quickly. Since we're a mile above sea level it's very hard for tornadoes greater than F-0 to develop, so they're not much of a threat. We just don't get the massive dangerous ones. Down at sea level though, those things are potentially extremely dangerous!

    Cool weather report Sarge.

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    1. There is something about storms that fascinate me, even though I am often terrified at the same time!

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