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Derecho! 05/07/2012

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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It seemed to come quite suddenly, this great wall of high wind and rain, at least to those on the ground. It roared halfway across the North American continent, from where it was first noted in the vicinity of Davenport, Iowa, to the Atlantic coast. The largest metropolitan area affected was Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD/Richmond/VA. At least 22 people died as a direct result of the storm, and several million people lost electric power.

Here’s the big meteorological picture:

“In Mexico, there’s a very tight circulating high that has been sitting there for about a week and will be sitting there another week easily. To the north of that there’s another high circulating in the opposite direction feeding the hot dry air of Mexico into a loop centered over Colorado, which at this point is an open, fiery oven. Above this is the jet stream, which is pushing this oven in the other direction like a circular gear on alternatively moving gear trains. The Jet Stream picks up that heat and lets it build up just west of Chicago, with the cold wet atmosphere of Lake Michigan acting like a giant wall.

“Last Friday [June 29, 2012], the dome of hot dry air eventually breached this wall, and came rushing down a pressurized trough towards Washington DC at more than 80 miles an hour. The resulting Derecho, or Land Hurricane, created a swath of devastation across much of Maryland and DC, felling trees, dropping power lines, and frying transformers already straining against the 100F+ degree heat.” – Kurt Cagle, commenting on John Michael Greer’s Archdruid Report blog

What is a derecho? The word is Spanish for “straight” (direct). The definition on Wikipedia is: “A widespread and long-lived straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms.”

And what are the astrological indications of such a rare, massive and intense phenomenon?

The chart for when the storm was “born” at 9:03 a.m. CDT shows, as such charts often do, the Moon exactly at the lower heaven, in this case in the intense and destructive sign of Scorpio, the Moon’s sign of fall. This alone signifies that Earth at that place and time was in the process of discharging built-up energy. (The storm arrived at Washington at 9:48 p.m. EDT—just as Moon was passing the upper meridian.)

Chart for “birth” of derecho storm in vicinity of Davenport, Iowa

The night before, Moon had made astrological connections to Neptune, then Mercury, the latter of which had risen over the Iowa horizon an hour and a quarter before the storm began erupting. Neptune is concerned meteorologically with great waves (such as the pressurized trough), Mercury with wind pressure and direction. These connections merely time the start of a shift in the prevailing conditions.

But other factors show what a supercharged context was present. The first of seven Uranus-Pluto squares had occurred five days earlier, and that configuration merely awaited other bodies to line up as triggers for the promised disruptive acts. On the day in question, June 29, the Sun—the body that provides the atmospheric heat to drive the process—arrived at the ninth degree of Cancer, thus lining up exactly with Uranus and Pluto. In addition, the Sun was now at the midpoint of the Sun and Moon in one of the key background charts: the summer solstice, six days before. Plus, both Venus and Saturn were stationary turning direct in the week between the solstice and the derecho, adding general potency factors of heat and sultriness (Venus) and overcast conditions (Saturn)

At the time of the solstice at Davenport, the Ascendant was in the last degree of Scorpio—a critical degree portending likely destruction being unleashed during the summer season. Scorpio’s ruler, Mars, was high in the sky, close to the upper meridian: an indication of a hot season and “breakage.” (In fact, the solstice moment had Mars elevated throughout the eastern half of North America.) Not much, however, appears to have been broken around Davenport lately: perhaps that will come later.

So why DC? Well, obviously, it has been the locus of great political dysfunction for some years, so it is fitting if one subscribes to the notion that physical events are apt to take place in areas where there is much unresolved social tension. That a storm was about to break was also indicated the very day before by the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the profoundly controversial “Obamacare” health care reform law.

But why astrologically? The solstice chart offers some clues. For one, the degree of the lunar eclipse two weeks previous fell right on the Ascendant, and that Ascendant, Sagittarius, is ruled by Jupiter, recently arrived in its exile in Gemini. Not an easy time for that region, especially with Jupiter in a tight square with Neptune, associated with “sea change” developments.

Biwheel chart for summer solstice 2012 at Washington, DC, / arrival of derecho storm at Washington

For another, the meridian is late in the last degree of Virgo (upper) / Pisces (lower)—this is the lightning rod axis of the chart, through which energies are grounded. Last degree, critical degree—critical events. Mars as the most elevated planet, only six degrees from the meridian at Washington at the solstice , denotes a severing effect at work: a before-and-after divide. (When the derecho arrived at Washington, Mars was “a degree and change” from the solstice meridian: time for breakage.)

The chart for the first quarter moon on June 26 at Washington is also rather dramatic: the critical last degree of Aquarius rises, with wave-change Neptune only three degrees away. The lunar eclipse degree, on the Ascendant for the solstice, has moved to the upper meridian, signaling that the time is close at hand for whatever major event is brewing. And the Sun and Pluto, and Moon and Uranus, form two axes at right angles: X marks the spot.

That the storm reveals the unfolding of a new era is evident in some of the reported economic effects: “Most of the supermarkets in the area were throwing out all of their perishables – likely several billion dollars in food that depend upon the miracle of freezers. Gas stations started running out of gasoline as everyone stocked up for generators or to insure that they had gas to get away if necessary, and batteries and water became scarce.” (Cagle) And numerous reports mentioned that electrical and cell phone disruptions were related to permanent failure of much sophisticated and expensive equipment that would need to be replaced (if possible).

Thus this storm is another wakeup—as was the rare earthquake, not quite a year ago, that shook the same area, causing a major crack in the iconic Washington Monument. The long descent from peak oil, peak technology, peak everything is underway. Many depended-upon luxuries and privileges are in the process of disappearing from daily life.

Best be ready to make big changes in living arrangements, whether (or weather) proactively or reactively.

George J. McCormack’s A Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting is a fascinating and deeply researched work, self-published (100 copies) in 1947 and nearly lost to the astrological community in the years since.
It has been re-published in 2012 in a handsome new edition, with a thought-provoking foreword by David R. Roell.
Order it through Mr. Roell’s Astrology Center of America.



1. Dave of Maryland - 05/07/2012

Hello Pete,
Congrats to your new blog. I wish it well. My thanks also for the invitation, as well as the plug. McCormack is a fabulous book, I am encouraged to see good work made of it. I was at ground zero for last week’s land hurricane. Here at the house we experienced no wind at all, nor any loss of power, and I have been slow to realize the extent of the destruction. Many in this county (Harford) were not so lucky. – David R. Roell

astroplethorama - 05/07/2012

Thanks, Dave, and I’m glad you came through okay. How curious that you had no wind. I’d wondered how you’d fared, especially after talking, and not talking, with family in the DC area. In one situation, I only was able to get through (on Sunday) because there was still a hard-wired landline. This puts newfangled cell phones into a different perspective.

Dave of Maryland - 05/07/2012

Hi Pete, I’ve got a bunch of trees right outside my bedroom window. The largest and tallest of them badly rotted but on a neighbor’s property. I brought it to his attention about five years ago, but he’s left it alone. It’s half dead and will eventually fall. I think on his property. If it falls on mine it will destroy the rear of my house. It gives a huge amount of afternoon shade. I will miss it.

So you better believe that every time the wind comes up, I’m awake at night waiting for the sky to fall. And there was no wind. The most bizarre thing.

I’m a Kansas boy. Grew up with massive thunderstorms, dust storms, wind storms, tornadoes, lightning, etc. Weather here in Maryland is quite tame. I’m a weather wuss now.

2. Pete - 06/07/2012

Dave, that doesn’t sound at all restful. Maybe your neighbor could be nudged after this close call?
“Weather wuss”–that’s good. We had relatives from VA visiting a number of summers ago, and they were agog at the towering thunderheads–they just don’t get ’em out there, I guess. But they wouldn’t consider visiting in winter.

Dave of Maryland - 06/07/2012

I’ve learned better. Whenever I fuss with people, I get their backs up. Besides, it’s lots closer to his house and his garage and a lot more likely to fall on him than on me. It will crush whatever it hits.

From what I see on the radar, storms here in Harford County are rarely more than 1-2 miles in diameter and are nearly always sharply defined. There was a thunderstorm yesterday that passed about half a mile to the west. I could hear the thunder, but we had a sprinkle. I see massive storms going through southern Pennsylvania, big storms going straight through Baltimore County, but by the time they get here, they’re usually fragmented. Which was the case a week ago.

Pete - 06/07/2012

Yeah, I suppose that’s typically the case between neighbors—unless one has a golden third house, eh? When my neighbor asked me for garden advice (what?!), I asked him if he was bothered by my woodpile. He said no. I gave him the chance . . .

Dave of Maryland - 06/07/2012

Third house, that’s a good point. I have Moon-Pluto there. What do you think the chances of survival would be?

astroplethorama - 07/07/2012

Not good–unless with most excellent profections, declinations, progressions, transits, etc. etc. featuring Mercury and Venus.

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