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Big Blow 09/03/2017

Posted by zoidion in Climate, Event, forecast, Long Emergency, Photography.
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IMG_7552

Twin Cities ephemera: That was quite a storm we had, followed by a dramatic drop in temperature. Here in the metro: thunder and lightning and a bit of rain around sundown, mid-thirties temperatures and a dusting of snow in the morning. But here near the center of the continent, that’s not particularly unusual.

What was unusual was tornadoes, two of them, nearly two weeks earlier than ever before in recorded history in these parts.

That counts as an incident of global weirding.

The two days of high winds and now deepening chill have convinced the perennials to keep at least their shoulders below ground level: I can stand up from my desk and see outside to where small leaves of Culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum) remain visible, even on the west side of the house, exposed to the colder winds.

I’ve never seen the like before — not before the Ides of March.

That was quite a storm that blasted most of the center of the continent, from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. In terms of effects upon human activity, the worst of it apparently fell on the beleaguered region of Detroit, where many thousands of residents and businesses remain without electric power. There, a bright sun shone as ferocious winds toppled thousands of trees onto homes, commercial buildings, power lines and cars.

According to the Weather Underground web site, about one million customers — and thus well over one million affected people — lost power in Michigan alone on the eighth of March, with more than eight hundred thousand of those remaining without electricity the next morning. In all likelihood, weeks will pass before power can be restored to all most.

And there’s the often-crippling monetary cost for tree removal and repairs: Just have a look at the photo showing the huge pine tree that came to precarious rest on the house in the neighboring yard. And multiply that image by thousands.

The setup for the disaster was the record warm weather in February, and soil saturated by recent rains.

Alas, the prior astro-meteorological indications for severe weather are fairly clear.

The starting point, as usual, is the season chart, calculated for the Capricorn solar ingress (winter solstice). Add to that the calculation for the lunation — in this case, the first-quarter Moon — on 5 March.

CP-ing2016_1Q-March2017

Notice particularly, in the inner ring (the ingress chart), the circle with vertical line near the top: That’s the upper meridian: one end of an axis of special potency in weather forecasting. The lower meridian is of more interest here: eighteen degrees (rounded off) of Pisces. That shows a longitude where unusual weather events are apt to occur — when triggered by ongoing movements of Sol, Luna and planets.

Now take note of several bits of the outer ring (the lunation chart). Especially, note Sol and Mercury very nearly opposite the upper meridian point. That was a clear indication of a likely incident involving warmer weather (Sol) and wind (Mercury). George J. McCormack summarized the Sol-Mercury conjunction: “High wind velocity.”

(One of the most deadly Minnesota storms—involving a sudden and severe temperature drop, high winds and heavy snow — was the Armistice Day storm of 1940, when Sol and Mercury were conjunct. The astronomical occasion was a rare one: Mercury, in apparent retrograde motion, transited across the solar disc.)

The actual superior conjunction of Sol and Mercury occurred in the evening of 6 March at seventeen degrees Pisces, when storm planet Saturn was crossing the lower meridian at Detroit. The windstorm did its worst as Sol was crossing the lower meridian of the season chart, with Mercury now almost two degrees ahead.

Further indication of windy weather during the week: Luna in Gemini (where Mercury is lord) at the lower meridian of the lunation chart. (See Luna opposite the circle-with-vertical-line in the outer ring, and opposite Saturn in the season chart as well.) Plus: Sol, Mercury and Neptune appear near the horizon — the circle with horizontal line — of the lunation chart, and near the lower meridian of the season chart.

That is a classic case of astro-meteorology in action.

Alas for Michigan and Detroit. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

-<zoidion>-

References
George J. McCormack, A Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting, 1947
“Hellacious Great Lakes Windstorm Fells Trees, Knocks Out Power to More than 1 Million,” Weather Underground, March 9, 2017

(Hat tip to TF.)

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Winter’s Wiles 14/10/2016

Posted by zoidion in forecast, fruit, herbalism, homesteading, urban agriculture, Weather.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

oldhwy61

[Old Highway 61, Red Wing, Minnesota]

And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61
– Bob Dylan, “Highway 61 Revisited,” 1965

Twin Cities ephemera: The cycle of the yard landscape continues, gradually becoming bare. With some help. The ferns, long since dried up and turned brown, are now a shadow of their spring lushness. In their midst, the three ironwood saplings that I transplanted in early spring, now show that they have taken root.

The paved path through the backyard is passable again, without goose-stepping — especially since harvesting the spaghetti and  Amish pie squash: fifty-two in all. Too much for home use, many have gone to a local food shelf. The volunteer hybrid butternut squash — with a mottled dull-orange-and-green skin in the familiar bulbous shape — that took over one of the compost bins yielded fifteen.

Another obstacle is now temporarily tamed: the great leaves and sagging stems of the two clumps of elecampane, started from seed last year. I dug up one clump, washed and dried the roots, and started another tincture.

The view toward the alley is slowly returning, as the elderberry bushes drop their leaves, and especially since I clipped all of this year’s growth of the hops vines back to the ground; it’s amazing how much shade the hops give, as they grow as much as twenty feet in this northern climate. I hadn’t used any of the hops before, but after offering their aromatic strobiles — that’s what their papery scaly globes are called: neat word, eh? — via a community gardening listserv and having one young man come to harvest a bit, I was properly motivated to begin brewing. My first one-gallon batch, using the “apple crisp ale” recipe in the Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book, is ready for bottling today.

Oh, and did I mention the pear harvest? Back in August, when I found one of the three fruits from one of the two trees on the ground, I picked the others but found them juicy but mealy. Week after further week went by as I monitored the one fruit on the other tree, said fruit being dark brown, rough-skinned, fissured — and hard. At last I figured it was high time to pluck it. Then it sat on the kitchen counter for a couple of days. When I finally braved learning the inner truth of it, I discovered it to be both juicy and tasty. Juicy fruit from both trees I expected: Thus far, 2016 has been the wettest year on record for most places in the upper Mississippi River region. (No surprise there, thanks to astrometeorology.) But tasty, from one at least, has been a relief. I’ve been talking to both trees about greater production of quality fruit next year. For pear cider?

What are the prospects for winter, you wonder? Well, in several crucial respects, the indications are similar to those for the summer just past.

That’s because the meridian and horizon in the winter solstice (Capricorn solar ingress) 2016 chart are nearly identical to those in the summer solstice (Cancer solar ingress) 2016 chart — and those for the spring equinox (Aries solar ingress) chart. Why is that? I don’t know, but it’s typical.

(A couple of years ago — a couple of years into my study of astrometeorology — I put together a table of such information, starting with the year 2000. I found that with great consistency, the zoidia — Greek for zodiacal signs, plural — on the meridian and horizon are the same for all the ingresses in a given year, with the exception of the Libra ingress, when the previous zoidion appears on each.)

Thus, once again for the coming winter, the water zoidion Pisces appears on the lower meridian of the chart cast for this location, and the water zoidion Scorpio appears on the ascendant (eastern horizon). In addition, Neptune — another indicator for wetness, from fogs to floods — is in Pisces and close to the lower meridian.

cap-ing_2016
[The chart is rendered with Placidus houses, rather than with whole-sign houses generally used on this site, in order to make meridian and horizon more readily apparent.]

This time, Mars is also in Pisces, near the meridian, making for a more interesting — probably in the Chinese sense — mix of phenomena. George J. McCormack, in his 1947 classic Text-Book of Long-Range Weather Forecasting, wrote:

“The Mars-Neptune configurations . . . are more extreme [than Venus-Mars combinations] and productive of freak changes. . . . Temperatures rise, peculiar calms ensue and are followed by squally storms of short duration . . . Barometric pressure falls rapidly.”

Since in the season chart Mars is approaching Neptune, and eight degrees away, such phenomena will be more prevalent during the period from the solstice through the first days of January. Not a good time for travel in the midsection of the continent. Freezing rain and temperatures hovering near the freezing point will be more problematic than usual: Snow and cold we can deal with, but ice is treacherous.

The general forecast: a wet, chilly, but not particularly cold winter — not in the same category as the most recent “real, old-fashioned” winter: 2013-14. (Neptune was exactly conjunct the ascendant in the chart for that season.)

The wettest portion of the winter will match the period when Venus moves through Pisces: early January through early February.

Another notable interesting period: late February – early March 2017, around the time of the New Moon (actually, an annular solar eclipse) on 26 February. An unseasonable warmup is likely to result, in northern regions, in flooding, while in the south, unusual atmospheric turbulence challenges business as usual.

Times to be risk-savvy.

-<zoidion>-

[ Currently reading: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Between the Woods and the Water (sequel to A Time of Gifts), recounting his journey, mostly on foot, across Europe in 1934. ]

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