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Winters Mild, Wild 04/03/2016

Posted by zoidion in Climate, forecast, fruit, Photography, urban agriculture, Weather.
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Twin Cities ephemera: Winter is over, even here near the center of North America. It wasn’t much of a winter, nothing much to report. (Meteorologists now tend to refer to the December-February period as winter: the coldest stretch of months.)

There were a few short stretches of below-zero weather, but overall the weather tended toward mild and dry: typical of an El Nino winter. (Statistically, it was the sixth mildest here, going back to 1895.)

Around here, the norm used to be that there was snow on the ground by mid-November, almost surely by Thanksgiving. This time, there were only brief periods when the ground was snow-covered, and the first day with a below-freezing high temperature was 17 December. That’s very late.

Only one notable snowstorm occurred, and it began on 2 February: the day I was leaving town.  A week later, most of the snow had melted away again.

This past week, I’ve been spending more time outside in the yard, most of it just looking around as I ponder what edibles to start where. And how much area to sow with nitrogen-fixing clover.  But also: checking on the two hazelnut saplings, wondering how much more they’ll grow this year: year three, the year of leaping. (“Sleep, creep, leap.”) 

And pruning the cherry tree — a rogue gust of wind broke a branch last summer. After sawing it off, I stood there a bit and imagined building and having a “fruit wall”  — I have a fair amount of urbanite (concrete pavement) on site, next to the garage: the parking spot, ruined by the roots of the now-gone silver maple tree that I foolishly let grow big, and the currently-useless triangular spot that I’ve had my eye on for years. I could use chunks of urbanite to build a protective wall. That would be another round of heavy labor, but if I do nothing that tree, in the space between two houses, will continue being buffeted.

A regular reader might wonder: Did I schedule my getaway astro-meteorologically? Well, of course, to a degree.

The dates for the photography workshop were not my doing, but I noted that the first few days would be during the waning Moon, with both Mercury (more unusually) and Venus (more commonly) far enough from the Sun’s rays to be visible. The crescent Moon, Mercury and Venus would make a tantalizing sight. (See photo included in previous post.) In fact, all the planets–Mercury through Saturn–would be visible, like beads on a long string arcing most of the way across the pre-dawn sky.

But I wanted to allow myself a full day there before the workshop began. That would make 2 February a travel day, a day during which Moon shifted from Scorpio to Sagittarius. Fiery-zoidion Sagittarius,  was at the bottom of the season chart — the key indicator for a mild season, even with cold Saturn exactly on the lower meridian.

The Moon approaching that point on 2 February, not reaching it until the 3rd, was a strong indication of a significant weather shift, toward a shot of cold. Prior to that, however, the Moon’s passage through water-zoidion Scorpio included contact with the place of moisture-indicator Venus in the season chart.

Thus, it was easy to anticipate a snowstorm — although not so easy to anticipate where it would impact most strongly.

And so, when I made my plans, I chose to avoid a scheduled departure until just after Moon entered Sagittarius. It was close: Departure was delayed for an hour, but we got away as the storm arrived and scores of flights were cancelled.

In the past week, Moon has come full circle again, but since the Capricorn ingress on 21 December 2015, Mars has crossed the place of Venus, while Venus has also continued moving ahead through the zodiacal belt. And so as Moon entered Scorpio on the 27th and began approaching Mars in late Scorpio, a notable brief (but unsurprising) warmup occurred; many new high-temperature records were set across the region on the 27th, though the weather was chillier and blustery the following day. By late on Leap Day, Moon’s entrance into Sagittarius and approach to Saturn brought below-average temperatures.

Nothing terribly problematic.

And with Mars (general signifier of warming) now (as of 5 March) in Sagittarius, a pronounced “mild bias” is indicated. In other words, an early spring.

Across the pond, however, it was a horrendous winter — particularly in the United Kingdom and Ireland, a region close to a vortex of climate chaos. Pools of cold water near Greenland — probably the result of glacial ice melt — have been situated in proximity to areas of outrageously warm waters. Robert Scribbler has the story.

“10 degree Celsius above average sea surface temperatures off North America . . . are just insanely warm. Ocean surface anomalies used to rarely exceed 2 degrees Celsius warmer than average. These spikes off North America are an indication that the Gulf Stream is backing up and that overturning circulation off Greenland is slowing down.”

Wales and Scotland received the most rainfall ever recorded for a December-February period, with totals about two-and-one-half feet — even more than the previous record set only two years ago. At least one spot received three-and-one-half feet!

Even though the heavy rain pattern apparently started in November, the winter season’s deluge is clearly indicated astro-meteorologically. The lower meridian — the most potent zone, where events are most grounded — for Neptune, indicator for freakishly heavy rains and flooding, runs north-south through Wales, Scotland and westernmost England.


Two other moisture indicators are also present: the Venus-ascendant line (through Wales and England) and the Moon-descendant line (through Ireland and Scotland).

One could say the islands were in the cross-hairs. Have a look at the chart cast for Cardiff, Wales: Neptune at the bottom, with Venus and Moon across the horizon.


But let’s not overlook hapless Fiji, beset by a rising sea level, a leader in urging more serious responses to climate disruption, and lately devastated by tropical cyclone Winston. Fiji too has been marked this season by Neptune: The island nation is close by Neptune’s upper meridian line.


(Suva is the capital of Fiji.)


[Reading material: Look Homeward, America and Bye Bye Miss American Empire, Bill Kauffman. For an audio sample of his views, listen here.]

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