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Cold and Dark 27/12/2012

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera – The nearly Full Moon is shining almost clearly tonight as a thin mist of very fine snow settles to the ground. It’s been a good week for observing the night sky, though I missed by a couple of hours and one continent the Moon’s occultation of Jupiter on the 25th.

The price for clear skies in late December and most of January around here is cold weather, and it has been cold—just seasonably cold. No record breakers in this region that I’ve heard of. We haven’t even quite dipped down to zero Fahrenheit here in the urban heat island.

The mercury has been below freezing since the morning of the 16th, ending the thaw that started on the 12th. The compost pile has ceased cooking. The frost is now reaching deeper into the ground each night, so there seems little point in continuing to carry buckets of bath and kitchen water outside and dumping them. But I find it painful to see water going down drains and hear gurgling in the pipes.

I sit inside and try to imagine how dry or moist my garden areas are, as they sleep. But I sleep easier and longer knowing that I’ve done everything I know and can think of to prepare the soil for a more verdant season. And I’m spending some time poring over books about herb gardens.

I’m also more hopeful about trends within this quadrant of the city. A couple of weeks ago, after deciding to join the “stewardship council” of the “local foods resource hubs,” I attended a small meeting of the hub for this part of town; there we began planning an event on or around Earth Day that will include distribution of seeds to hub members,  opportunities to buy compost at nominal cost and exchange experience-based knowledge, music and movement. More good news: Mother Earth Gardens, an excellent business that’s tuned in to urban ag developments (and where I bought three hop plants last May), is opening a second store on this side of town in the spring. And the Northeast Investment Co-op, organized only about a year ago to help revitalize the mostly funky old commercial district, has signed a purchase agreement for its first project. Yippee!

With water signs on both the lower meridian and the Ascendant—Pisces and Scorpio, respectively—of the Capricorn ingress chart, it appears this central section of North America is due over the winter season for overall wetter conditions than through most of 2012. As C.C. Zain puts it in Weather Predicting, “Its [Pisces’] influence in the Temperature Chart [seasonal chart cast for the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn (winter), Aries (spring), Cancer (summer) or Libra (autumn)] is consistently toward somewhat lower temperatures, but not of an extreme nature. . . . its influence in general is not violent, but mild. It is consistently a wet sign, but not given to the downpours that Cancer occasions, nor to the floods and disagreeable storms indicated by Capricorn.”


This seems borne out so far in this young season by the significant snowfalls and rains from the Mississippi and Ohio River valleys to the middle Atlantic region—Pisces is on the lower meridian for locations from the longitudes of Denver to Washington DC. Drizzly, foggy, even freakish and destructive  weather is most likely to be problematic around Denver’s longitude (105 degrees West), where Neptune was on the lower meridian for the Capricorn ingress, particularly so around 4 February, when Mars joins Neptune; the potential for deluges causing flash flooding will be present around 28 February, when Venus catches up to Neptune . (The basic Neptune factor, minus Venus and Mars, is similar to the situation for New England with the Libra ingress of 2012, during which period Superstorm Sandy inundated the New Jersey/New York coast, where vastly more water was available to wreak havoc.)

For the area of the Twin Cities, however, considerable variability of weather—and somewhat windy—can be expected through the season, as indicated by Mercury at an exact right angle to the axis of the meridian.

The metro area has missed the past several precipitation events—sorry to use such a stuffy but necessary term—but the snowstorm of the 19th was a particularly interesting one to investigate. And precipitation calls for reference to the Moisture (lunation) charts. The heaviest snow—a foot-and-a-half and more—fell in a band from east central Iowa (sorely beset by drought during the growing season) to the area of Madison, Wisconsin.

The date of course was two days before the Capricorn ingress and, strictly speaking, was still within the domain of the Libra ingress chart for temperature and general indications: primarily dry and cool. But as mentioned, the Capricorn ingress chart shows distinctly wetter conditions overall. In that regard, the nationwide snow cover maps of December 6 and December 26 offer quite a dramatic comparison: from six percent to sixty-one percent.

So the new season kicks off a wetter pattern, but one could say that the first quarter moon in twenty-nine degrees of water-sign Pisces on the 19th ushered in a particularly wet period within the season. The Ascendant for the first quarter at Madison was twenty-two degrees Virgo, and the Moon was opposite that point at about noon—during the hours of heaviest snowfall.


For Little Rock, Arkansas, site of an unusual nine-inch snowfall on the night of the 25th—still within the first quarter lunation week—the lunation chart has nineteen degrees Virgo on the Ascendant. So the Moon was ten degrees above the western horizon at the lunation. Its snowfall came with the Moon in Gemini, passing first over the place of the lunar eclipse on November 28 (seven degrees Gemini) and then over the place of Jupiter—the aforementioned occultation. (This seems to be a point in favor of regarding Jupiter, not Neptune, as lord of the sign Pisces for weather work.) The Moon reached nineteen degrees Gemini at sunset on the 26th. It appears that the Moon-eclipse point-Jupiter-occultation was the combination that triggered such an unusually copious southern snowfall.

It was the snowiest Christmas Day on record for Little Rock—more than twice the previous record, dating to 1926—with even more falling to the northeast. A small swarm of tornadoes and lesser winds tore at a swath from east Texas to Alabama, along the boundary of cold and warm air masses. Such turbulence accords with the square angle between the Sun and Uranus, which attained exactitude in the evening of the 25th.

Somewhat similar to the seasonal chart, the Full Moon chart for the Twin Cities shows a snowy week—both Moon in water-sign Cancer (and Sun, of course, exactly opposite) and Saturn closely connecting to the primary weather factor, the lower meridian. Of special interest is the (November 13) solar eclipse point on the Ascendant, although this of itself is unlikely to herald any historic precipitation event. The most pregnant period for precipitation—related to the Moon’s movement—during the week appears from New Year’s Eve into the morning of New Year’s Day.


Keyed by the New Year’s connection of the Moon in Leo with Venus in Sagittarius, celebratory spirits are apt to be unusually boisterous. End-of-party decisions are especially crucial.

Best wishes for 2013. Stay in touch, y’hear?



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