Category Archives: Weather


Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale
(Written 9/28/15, in the hills of Berkeley, CA)

When I first looked out here, I could see only the house across the street. Now I can see some rooftops, but beyond that is Fog, just a blur as the houses across the street seem to drop away down the hill.  I am house-sitting in the Berkeley hills for a friend of my sister while I visit Sue in the East Bay near San Francisco. It’s a chilly morning so I’m seated with a cup of tea, inside the sliding glass door. I hear crows and traffic, so I know there is life beyond what I can see. I hope I can find my camera.

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Ah, now I can make out several large pine trees farther down the hill. I know that behind them are more houses and more trees, then smaller and smaller houses as the hills level off to the “Berkeley flats”, the franchise strips like San Pablo Ave, the freeways, and finally the Berkeley Marina and San Francisco Bay. Last night it seemed that millions of lights dotted this view – this morning, Fog.

I try and remember the Carl Sandburg poem we memorized in 8th grade:

“The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.”

My memory takes me back to another time: In the early 1970s I spent two years living in El Granada, a tiny coastal community 45 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1. I’d already spent two years in S.F., so I knew a bit about Fog. When I (and my dad) bought my VW, I made sure it was the new bright yellow that would show up in the Fog. Living on that coast, I would wake up many mornings to the foghorn – that low, haunting vibration that makes you want to burrow back under the covers. But the Fog would usually “burn off” by noon, often revealing a crisp sunny day.

When I moved back to the Midwest, I seldom encountered Fog. When I did it was usually an anxious time, me creeping along in the car because I couldn’t see what was ahead of me. I realized I missed the kind of Fog that comes in morning, then bows out and lets the sun through – missed the foghorn.

I suppose we could move to Duluth.

When have you had an encounter with Fog?


Upbeat Up North

Today’s guest post comes from Clyde of Mankato.

For our second of two anniversary parties—two is excessive, I know, but you have to go where the crowds are—we drove up to Two Harbors, which proved to be a mostly foggy weekend on The Lake. Strangers we encountered, such as store clerks, made comment or even apologized about the weather. Not one friend said a word. Locals know and accept the beauty of The Lake in all her clothing.

Sandy and I like Superior in her dark and diaphanous gowns. We were in a fine mood ourselves from the party, which the weather only enhanced.

Do you take your mood from the weather?

The Minnesota 10

Today’s guest post comes from tim

35 years ago a guitar teacher told me we only get 10 perfect per year in minnesota and they are all in april and may before it gets hot and buggy.

i observed that he was correct and have been keeping track ever since. 10 is about right with the exception of a summer 3 years or so ago when we had 100 perfect days. no rain so no bugs or humidity made for the nicest summer ever but the drought was another issue.

i have discovered along the way that when you are thinking about the really hot or the really cold days here in our weather driven world that there are a max of 10 hot days and 10 cold days per year too.

it helps put it all in perspective

what do you hate? tolerate? and appreciate?

O Crispiness!

Header photo by Cameron Strandberg from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada

I like my potatoes crispy whether they are french fries, hash browns or chips.

But when they’re in the ground in places like California and Colorado, I’d like them to get a little water. That could become harder in the years ahead, especially since NASA researchers now say a “megadrought” may be ahead in the western and central plains states.

This is all connected to climate change and our unfortunate habits of consumption, which we (including me) can’t seem to shake.

Somehow it has me thinking about the poem Katherine Lee Bates wrote in the summer of 1893 after drawing inspiration from the view atop Pikes Peak in Colorado – one of the areas destined to suffer under the coming Great Dehumidification.

We know her words today as the lyrics to “America the Beautiful,” though by 2050 it might make more sense to change it up a bit.

O beautiful for cloudless skies,
for parched and scorching sands,
for burning mountain tragedies
for cracked and blistering hands!
America! America!
There’s no place dry as thee!
We’ve earned a good Sahara-hood
From L.A. to D.C.

The land at first was green and lush
Indians, thanks a lot!
But after shove had come to push
It started getting hot.
America! America!
We filled the air with gas.
And made the rate exacerbate.
De-moisturized! Alas!

O Mega-drought! The experts say
if we eschew our cars,
we might, calamity delay.
But that’s not who we are!
America! America!
We’d rather face the thirst,
than pay the toll through self-control
so prepare for the worst!

What’s your favorite anthem?

Complicated Relationship

Yesterday was the day of the annual Winter Solstice.  From now on the days slowly lengthen – until they begin to shrink again.  This on-again, off-again type of relationship has led to many angry/needy notes like the one I’ve just written to The Sun.  


So I get this feeling that things are warming up again between us.

Am I wrong? I don’t think so. You’re coming back, aren’t you?

Well don’t.

And don’t say you haven’t changed. Change is all I get from you. Last summer … well let’s just say June 15 was pretty special. Not going to forget that soon.

But I can’t count on you. Just weeks before that I felt so frozen and hurt.   You could have warmed me then but where were you? Behind a cloud all day? What does that even mean?   In what kind of relationship do you get to do that and it’s OK?

And it’s like this every year. You get closer and the intensity is overwhelming.  Then you fade. It’s like I hardly see you. And then it seems like you’re hanging around a few more minutes each day until you’re always here and I can’t get any sleep because there is So Much You.

And as soon as I start basking in that, I can sense you turning away.

This is getting old. Like billions of years old.   Make up your mind – do you want to be close or distant?

And don’t say I’m the one who’s all tilted and elliptical and orbity.   That’s a cop-out. I know for a fact that you wobble. And I don’t think it’s me that makes you do it.

I turn to you every day and some days you are just not available. But still I turn to you again the next day and the next so tell me who’s steady and reliable.

When it comes to temperament, only one of us has spots. Only one of us has flares. And only one of us can give the other one a stroke.

So now you’re coming back and I’m supposed to be all happy but get over yourself because I already know how this turns out.   So don’t waste your time and mine trying to heat things up if you’re just going to leave again in six months.

I can live without you … Is a lie that I tell myself every year. But this time around I am not going to get burned by you.  I bought a hat.

How do I look?

Your forever,
I’m Still Angry

So what’s up with you and the sun?   


Lightning Strikes (Almost) Twice (As Much)!

Today’s post comes from professional alarmist Bathtub Safety Officer Rafferty.

At ease civillians!

Relax but keep an eye on the sky, because I know we have had words in the past about my nemesis, lightning.

This past week, we received some hair-raising news – climate change may well hike the frequency of lightning strikes on our planet.

I know you are thinking several things right now that might disarm my urgent message. Let’s take them in order:

  • “Lightning isn’t a big threat to me right now. Two times zero is still zero.” 

Shame on you for using math to diminish a safety problem! That’s like saying there’s little chance you’ll get Ebola if you don’t come in contact with someone who has it. That’s the kind of reasoning that suppresses fear, which is the only tool nature gives us in the never-ending battle against unlikely calamities. If I did that, I’d be out of work today. And don’t forget The Human Lightning Rod, Roy Sullivan! If we apply math to his story, the number of personal strikes goes from 7 to more than 10!

  • The research says lightning will increase 50% by the year 2100. I’ll be dead by then, so who cares? 

Your “dead by then” argument is simply wishful thinking. Scientists are constantly finding ways to extend life spans. And if you make it to the year 2100, you’ll likely be in a wheelchair, which is made out of metal – a conductor! And … if you DON’T make it to 2100, you’ll most likely be in the ground, which is where lightning hits! Frankenstein’s monster thought he was safe on a “being dead” exemption – until lightning struck!

  • Lightning is troubling, but I have more immediate concerns. 

That’s what lightning WANTS you to think.

  • Lightning has no thoughts or desires. 

That means you can’t reason or bargain with it. You find THAT comforting?

Friends, there is no doubt in my mind we will experience more lightning in our future.

My advice:

  1. Buy a sturdy pair of rubber-soled shoes.
  2. Sell your golf clubs.
  3. Keep doors and windows closed in a rainstorm.
  4. Learn to bathe away from pipes and all plumbing.
  5. Yours in Safety, B.S.O.R.

What are you doing to prepare for the future?

Storm Porn!

Today’s post comes from Bart, the bear who found a smart phone in the woods.

Having the Internet through this phone is good, but there’s a lot of stuff I can see on it that doesn’t interest me much.

Like all that human porn.

He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods
He Found a Smart Phone in the Woods

What I see there is animals without much hair, making faces and wriggling around. What’s that about? I mean, I get what it’s about, but when you live in the woods like I do, you can see that kind of thing going on right in front of you with all the deer, raccoon, muskrat, chipmunks, etc. Don’t get me started on those chipmunks. If they spent more time looking for food or sleeping, there wouldn’t be so darn many chipmunks!

But when it comes to reproduction, it’s just not that interesting. The only time I watched for more than a few seconds was when I saw a couple of porcupines getting together because, you just have to wonder about that, y’know?

All the porn on the Internet just says to me you people aren’t really connected in any real way to nature. If you were, basic stuff like that wouldn’t be so fascinating. Maybe you need to get out more. Then it wouldn’t be so simple to get you to look.

But the thing that really gets my attention on the Internet is when there’s a storm coming! Now THAT’s exciting.

When a big snowstorm is building up, I can’t turn away. I mean literally, I can’t turn away because I LIVE IN THE WOODS!

And the worse it’s expected to be, the more I wanna watch, especially if I’m hibernating. Then it’s really fun to snuggle down into my hidey hole so I can see it come in on the radar, looking all mean and colorful and blotchy.

If I’m not hibernating, I go looking for a place to hang out until the worst is over. Note to all you folks who spent yesterday working in the yard – don’t forget to leave your tool sheds unlocked!

Your pal,

How do you prepare for a snowstorm?