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Mercury Tricks 11/02/2015

Posted by zoidion in Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Fortunately, it was a short walk — with only one skid and no fall — in the dark tonight, coming back from the bus stop. The temperature wasn’t terrible, but the wind was nasty — nearly blowing away the sweet memory of a walk in the sun only two days before, and the generally easy weather of the previous week.

Yesterday featured a rosy dawn, a classic indication of an imminent storm. And lo and behold, within a couple of hours a barrage of sleet was sounding on windows and settling into an icy sheet on every exposed surface. Just enough snow followed to obscure the slipperiest parts of any walking path.

Typically for this winter, it didn’t amount to much precipitation: two-tenths of an inch, with only three-tenths for all of January.

It seems a mean joke, and one that will stick around a while: The techno-weather forecast accords with my own cold one for the coming week, issued back in December. But as rude and unpleasant as the outdoor reality is here, the reports about some other areas are much worse, or just strange: recipients of Mercury’s tricks during the just-ended retrograde phase.

“Mercury retrograde,” commonly-dreaded three-week periods three times a year, relates to astro-weather study as a primary indicator of shifts in wind patterns. And in the past few weeks, in apparent retrograde motion, Mercury has transited for a second time over the place of Mars in the season chart of 21 December 2014. On 27 January, to be exact.

The start of the retrograde period (22 January) coincided with the weather shift that has brought one storm after another (one of them with hurricane-force winds) with vast amounts of snow, to Boston and the rest of eastern New England.

In the western tropical Pacific Ocean during the same period, water and air were of course much warmer. That area was marked in the season chart by Mars on the ascendant: a focus of the season’s warmth. (Note the angling red line toward the right side of the astromap below.)


That was exactly where short-lived Typhoon Higos developed to peak intensity, becoming the strongest cyclone on record for so early in the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Why? “Sea-surface temperatures were close to 1°C warmer than average across the region where Higos developed, part of a pattern of unusual warmth covering much of the western tropical Pacific.”

During the week following February’s Full Moon, when Higos arose, the astromap showed the storm’s region again marked by Mars, as well as Uranus: the two (their rising zones represented by the two red lines in the right half of the astromap below) comprising the most turbulent combination.


Fortunately, there were few islands, few humans in Higos’ way.

Mercury’s tricks were of a similar sort, but with devastating results, in the Balkans region. They served to illustrate human folly: deforestation and soil erosion contributing to the worst flooding in forty years in Albania. “Over the last two decades, many Albanian trees close to powerful rivers such as the Vjosa, Osum and Shkumbin have been chopped down by poor villagers desperate for wood, and by entrepreneurs clearing the way for buildings and dams in a construction boom that has largely benefitted foreign firms. The trees had held soil in place for centuries – acting as a sponge during rainfalls – but without them, soil erosion has accelerated flood damage.”

The Mercury-on-the-lower-meridian line for the season runs north-south through the center of the Balkans, and Greece, where, early in the Mercury-retrograde period, the populace elected a new government pledged to reverse the devastating policies of the previous four years.


But during February Full Moon, the Moon and Jupiter were at the upper meridian through the region, the Jupiter line running right through Albania.


Jupiter alone would indicate a period dominated by dry, pleasant weather, but the lunar influence brings a high tide of atmospheric moisture. Good luck turned to bad, worsened by unsustainable harvesting.

Alas, this is a type of story likely to be much repeated, worldwide, as Earth’s atmosphere seeks to rebalance human-caused anomalies, as Gaia shrugs off excess human population.




1. zoidion - 12/02/2015

Another notable story during the Mercury retrograde period was about advanced forecasts for major storms. The first big storm that hit eastern New England had been forecast to hit the New York City and Philadelphia areas, prompting officials there to preemptively shut down normal operations; but they went to a great deal of needless trouble and expense. Why? Because forecasters, faced with discrepancies between the US Weather Service’s computer model and that of the European Center (which has a better track record), opted to call the storm track according to the European model. It turned out that the US model was correct. (See: http://www.resilience.org/print/2015-02-10/as-extreme-weather-increases-a-push-for-advanced-forecasts )

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