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Kickstarting Winter 28/11/2014

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: With an Alberta Clipper zooming by on the average of every other day, there’s a few fresh inches of snow on the ground to make up for the past weekend’s welcome thaw. (Largely as expected, by the way.)

I took advantage of the thaw to collect a few gallons of meltwater off the garage roof, to feed to my indoor plants, which include aloe vera (every home should have some), parsley, tarragon and lavender (the leaves of which, alas, have lost much of their scent in the move). I figure the atmospheric water is better for them than the chlorinated stuff from the tap.

Outside, the lingering leaves of the elderberry, (red) currant and cherry have been a welcome sight. Not so much the sight of the rabbit tracks in and out of the storage space under the deck: Those critters will be wanting a long season’s worth of food. They have me wondering if I protected the trunks of the three fruit trees well enough. Plus, I didn’t put chicken-wire cages around the currant bushes this year. Will those wabbits take to chewing off the bark, killing the stems that would hold next year’s berries? (Will I take steps to protect them?)

Locally, the temperature for November 2014 has been nearly eight degrees below average. And the somewhat early snow and cold that came during the second week was — let’s be frank — rude. But still run-of-the-mill rude.

Far ruder was the early cold that enveloped the entire contiguous US of A, and the massive “Snowvember” dump of precipitation off Lake Erie that hit the Buffalo, New York, area. The latter was a perfect storm wrought by a combination of relatively warm lake water and strong cold winds blowing across nearly the entire length of the lake. After several rounds of such storms, dropping up to five to six feet of snow, came a major rebound in temperature and rain, producing local flooding and collapsed roofs. It sounds really tough, even though that area is well accustomed to heavy snow. Just not that heavy.

What accounts for it? The sequence of conjunctions of Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn.

The transitory Full Moon — an atmospheric high tide, occurring a few days after lunar perigee — of 6 November set the stage. At the time of the Full Moon, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Saturn meridian lines all passed through the Gulf of Alaska. (Notice in the astromap below how the angling Mars and Pluto ascendant lines cross the vertical  lines of those other bodies in that region.)

FM-Nov2014_GulfAlaska

When Super Typhoon Nuri moved into that area from Japan in the following days — bringing subtropical heat and moisture — it produced a reaction that many meteorologists termed an “atmospheric bomb” that “kickstarted winter.”

Triggered by Nuri, a frigid air mass plunged in the course of the following week across North America all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Many, many early-season cold temperature records were broken.

As one might expect from such a cluster of planetary bodies in a “fixed” sign — Scorpio — the Arctic air mass held on rather stubbornly. But the cluster has broken up, and rapid movement of weather systems is the new regime. For a time.

-<zoidion>-

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