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Indian Summer 24/09/2012

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Twin Cities weather report: Seldom, if ever, does the air warm as rapidly as on these days of Indian summer. The latter expression is defined as a period of warm, dry weather following a first frost of the season.

That’s what we had, Sunday morning the 23rd, in scattered spots in the slightly higher elevations of Northeast Minneapolis. It was a light frost, but enough to kill uncovered tomato, eggplant, basil and squash plants. (It was also, as last year, two weeks earlier than the average first frost.) The dark and wilted leaves of the pumpkin plants I’d watered last week, but which in the gloaming I neglected, looked quite forlorn in the midday sun. And today is warmer: I’ve thrown the windows open again.

About a quarter inch of rain fell a week ago, near the start of the week’s big cool-down. But it didn’t begin to make up the season’s overall rainfall deficit—rivers in some parts of the state are at near-record low levels.

The Libra ingress chart, cast for Minneapolis, shows Venus nine degrees east of the upper meridian—exactly on the meridian at 85 degrees West longitude (Cincinnati). That indicates a generally pleasant fall season, especially along and near that longitude.

(The Venus line is the pale blue line running vertically
through the center of the map.)

Venus prominent correlates with gentle, southerly winds, bringing warmth and humidity; however, Venus in hot, dry Leo tempers that, promising minimal moisture. With Venus in a close sextile (60 degrees) with Jupiter, a particularly pleasant autumn is indicated. Fortunately, most of the eastern third of the U.S. (with the exception of much of northern Georgia) has escaped the severe drought that has afflicted the central third, so a dry season may be a welcome respite from summer’s heat. As George J. McCormack puts it: this combination is “conducive to fresh, serene and temperate atmosphere that favors out-of-doors activities.  . . . If Mars combines with these configurations, excessive temperatures, especially in warm seasons, may induce atmospheric disturbances.”

Mars does disturb the serenity of the fall weather picture to some degree—indeed, this factor shows a continuance of above-average temperatures east of the Rockies. Incidents of turbulence will be most prevalent within the band of 85-degree longitudinal territory. Neither Venus nor Mars, however, is at an emphasized degree of declination—lessening the extremes to which Mars tends to drive conditions.

In the near term, the Harvest Full Moon on 29 September has the potential for triggering a major disruptive event—atmospheric and oceanic tides will be accentuated: New and Full Moons close to the equinoxes (Aries and Libra solar ingresses) exert extra gravitational pull on airy and watery tides. What adds to the potential for violent turmoil now is the coincidence of the Uranus-Pluto square: this Full Moon presents a tight configuration with those two slow-moving planets. Aside from political and social shocks and surprises, another infrastructure disruption as dramatic and widespread as the June 29 derecho storm is likely; that major take-down of a swath of the national electrical grid coincided with the Sun’s arrival at the opposition to Pluto and square (90 degrees) to Uranus.

What else does this Ingress map tell us? In general terms, we can expect a marked contrast in temperature—more than usual for this season of change—between north and south, for most of the eastern two-thirds of the country. Why is that? Leo, the hottest sign (that of the Sun), is on the south meridian, and Aquarius, the coldest sign (that of Saturn), on the north meridian for all the country east of longitude 101 degrees (Lubbock, Texas) as far as 73 degrees (Hartford, Connecticut).

What about the frost? Those chilly fingers reached into this region in the hours following the First Quarter Moon, which itself was only five hours after the Libra Ingress. At this longitude, Saturn (cold) was close to the upper meridian; if Saturn had been at the lower meridian, a more prolonged cold pattern—more nights of frost—would have been the indication. Instead, with Mars-ruled Aries on the lower meridian, we’ve seen a rapid warm-up.

But drought persists.


Rudely Chilly–and Stormy 15/09/2012

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Not exactly the Twin Cities weather report: There’s this, from SF Gate via Paul Douglas’ weather blog, about winter indications on the West Coast:

“There’s a saying, ‘Birds never lie.’ If so, the best weather forecaster in the West, the migratory sandhill crane, is predicting an early winter with plenty of rain and snow. Over the years, the timing of the migration of sandhill cranes south to the San Joaquin Valley has predicted winter weather, both wet and dry. Early migrations have meant big winters. Late migrations, the opposite. ‘I think 2012 sets a record for earliest arrival,’ said Gary Ivey, the International Crane Foundation’s Western Conversation Manager. This fall’s verified migration started August 25 when 10 sandhill cranes were sighted in northern San Joaquin County by a birdwatching group guided by Esther Milnes-Schmierer, a docent for the Department of Fish and Game. In past years, the giant sandhill cranes have first arrived in mid-September.”

Douglas agrees with computer models indicating that temperatures here will plummet after a high in the low to mid 80s on Sunday, with the possibility of frost or flurries by Tuesday morning. Yikes! That’s how crazy weather shifts tend to be, near the center of the continent.

In our community garden plot across the alley from our house, the tomatoes are still coming—I decided to take advantage of the run of clear weather to put out some thinly sliced tomatoes to dry in the sun; I may have to finish the process indoors. I’m watching the various squashes, too—I haven’t grown them before, and from what I’ve read, it’s important to avoid picking them too early. The word is to leave them on the vine as the plants wither, but to pick them during dry weather before an expected frost. It looks like dry won’t be a problem . . .


This prospect of an early frost again—similar to last year: two to three weeks before the median first frost date—comes soon after the New Moon in the harvest sign of Virgo, which occurs this evening locally at 9:10 p.m. The most prominently placed planet is Mars, setting, less than two degrees above the horizon. As the timer of atmospheric shifts, the Moon first crosses the longitude of Mercury on Sunday morning, twelve hours before Mercury moves into the sign of Libra; the latter, being a cardinal sign, heralds an abrupt shift in the wind patterns. Here, the anticipated shift will allow a pool of cold air in the Canadian north to plunge southward. But the lunation does not show significant moisture for this area, where drought conditions have intensified during the past month.

Overall, the week following the New Moon can be expected to be particularly chaotic, turbulent, even violent—as indicated by Sun, Moon, Mercury and Uranus in a complex web of parallels and contraparallels of declination (equal distances north and south of the celestial equator).

The Moon’s second contact will be with Saturn, due to shift from Libra into Scorpio on 5 October. Moon-Saturn will be at 6:30 Tuesday morning, Central time, when the techno-weather guys see the cold air arriving in these parts. It could be a rudely chilly dawn.

(The Farmers’ Almanac  has this forecast: “[September] 16th-19th. Rain over Plains east, then fair, cooler.” )

Meanwhile, what is being described as the most powerful tropical storm of the year thus far—with winds attaining 172-miles-per-hour and gusts even higher: a Category 5 storm–is endangering east Asia. According to a story on The Examiner web site, “The forecast track for the storm places it passing very close to Japan on Sunday morning with a potential landfall in South Korea early Monday morning local time. Normal uncertainty in the forecast does not preclude the possibility of a landfall in Japan.”

Somewhat fortunately, the storm is expected to weaken as it moves north, but Sanba is obviously a very dangerous typhoon. And it is close to the seasonally problematic Saturn zone marked by the 2012 Cancer Ingress chart.

Here’s the September New Moon astromap for that region:

The most prominent storm-related line is for Neptune anti-culminating–that’s the vertical dashed line through the center of the map, through North Korea. But on the far right, again vertically, are the Sun and Moon culminating (noon) lines, serving as a reminder that throughout the region, the New Moon (Sun and Moon conjunct) and Neptune are opposite by sign, and only 22 degrees from exact; the oceans will be in greatest turmoil, and tides most emphasized, between these lines.

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