| WEATHER IN ACTION
Wonder What this Vantage Pro2 is Forecasting
B. J. Loveless, of Melbourne Beach, Florida, sent this photo of his Vantage Pro2.
He wrote, "While I depend on my weather instruments to keep me up on the weather conditions, sometimes they really aren’t necessary. Like this morning, when all I did was look out the window and make my own prediction: probable rain."
Yes, but who cares? That's a pretty place to be caught in a rainstorm.
Beautiful Place to be a Vantage Pro2
Dr. Kostas Lagouvardos, the Research Director of the
National Observatory of Athens,
Institute for Environmental Research sent us this beautiful portrait of the Institute's 250th weather station. It is on Koufonissi Island in the southern Aegean sea. Gorgeous!
weather there is lovely too!
Blogging San Pancho's Weather
Ex-pat Curtis Hahn and his wife are living the good life in San Pancho, San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico, where Curt enjoys watching the weather with his Vantage Pro2. His is one of the few stations on the west coast of Mexico. He blogs about his adopted home -- you can just click through from his weather page.
Weather Check Quiz Question 1:
Which of these dishes has Curtis had to learn to love because it is the dish Nayarit is known for?
A. Anguilas en Escabeche con Jalapeño (Pickled Eel with Jalapeno Peppers)
B. Cucuraches de Camaron (Shrimp Cockroaches)
C. Ceviche con Cabrito (Goat Head and Raw Fish)
Helado de Calamar (Squid ice cream)
Extra Credit: Even though it is usually warm in San Pancho, the winters can be very chilly, frequently dipping into the 40s°F (4-10°C). True or false?
(Click here for answers.)
>> Back to Menu
Goodbye Summer Thunderstorms!
Okay, we'll admit it. We like lightning. Yes we know it can kill you and burn your house to the ground. It can fry your electronics, split trees down the middle, and knock your weather station out of commission. But seeing the dark sky split open for a nanosecond by that brilliant light makes us feel like the door to some other realm was cracked open a bit just for us. Then we get the bonus of thunder that seems to rumble right through your heart. It's weather-nut heaven!
So that's why we need a vacation trip to Venezuela to stand near the spot where the Catatumbo River empties
into Lake Maracaibo. This is perhaps the "lightningest" place on earth. For ten hours a day, half the days of
the year, up to 280 lighting strikes are created every hour. Called the "Everlasting Storm" it has inspired
poems and changed the course of history by putting a spotlight on the invading ships of Sir Francis Drake in
1595 and the Spanish in 1823. It's so regular, sailors consider it a "lighthouse" they call the Maracaibo Beacon. While protecting from invaders and directing sailors, it pours protective ozone into the air. Theories on what is causing this constant lightning have settled onto ionized methane gas produced by the Catatumbo bogs. The lightning is up about 5K, so thunder is muted. But who cares? Let's go! Who's with us?
(Then again, perhaps we should rethink. The US State Department and many European foreign ministries tell us that travel to this part of Venezuela is a bit risky. Maybe we better live vicariously through
Joshua Foer's story of his visit there on Slate.com. Plan B: let's all try to listen to this recording of two hours of
thunder and rain sounds without falling asleep.)
If you don't live on Lake Maracaibo -- or Kifuka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Teresina in Brazil; or in Singapore -- a nice little thunder and lightning storm can be a rare treat. But if that nice little storm develops into a tornado-spawning, flash-flooding supercell storm, it's no treat at all.
here to see where lightning has struck the earth the most between 1995 -2002.)
Meteorologists have defined two basic types of thunderstorms: air mass and severe thunderstorms. What sets them apart are how strong they are, how many there are in a localized group, and whether they tilt and rotate.
All thunderstorms form when warm, moist air rises into a layer of cold air. As the moist air rises, it cools and forms clouds and further rising produces precipitation. This might end with a fat cumulonimbus cloud in a blue sky, or go on to offer dramatic lightning and thunder while dumping rain, hail, or in cold weather situations, sleet and/or snow.
Our favorite kind of thunderstorm is a single cell thunderstorm, or pulse thunderstorm. They are usually short, just 20 or 30 minutes and rarely produce severe weather -- except for hail, which is fun too. And since what goes up must come down, for every updraft, there is a downdraft that forms in response. The combination of the two constitutes a cell. The downdraft consists of the cool, moist precipitation core. In most thunderstorms at maturity, they descend through the updraft and choke off the warm, moist air source to the thunderstorm, essentially killing it off.
This downdraft often has a secondary effect of forcing warm air upward, which will often birth other thunderstorms next to each other. This case is referred to as a multi-cell storm. Many other mechanisms can force warm air upward and create thunderstorms such as frontal boundaries, mountain ranges, and sea breezes.
A fascinating, but not so fun kind of thunderstorm is a severe thunderstorm. It differs from an air mass thunderstorm in that it is tilted allowing its updraft and downdraft to be separated This allows it to last much longer (for hours) and become much stronger producing large hail, strong winds, flash flooding. If there is a significant change in wind speed and/or direction from the bottom to the top of the thunderstorm, this creates an environment that is favorable for tornadoes. Severe thunderstorms that form along a line are typically referred to as squall lines. Clusters of storms that help keep each other alive for even longer periods of time (over 12 hours) are referred to as Mesoscale Convective Complexes.
For all the bad PR generated by supercells and their violent tornados, there are many more lovely little storms that give us weather buffs a thrill -- but still terrify the poor dog!
>> Back to Menu
Update Your Console with WeatherLinkIP?
Our Tech Team has been asked the same question a few times lately. We figured we ought to share the answer!
Can I update my weather station console with WeatherLinkIP?
Yes! All you have to do is download the new firmware to your PC, run the updater program, and, voila, the new console firmware goes through your network and IP data logger into the console.
Yet another reason you need to add WeatherLinkIP to your holiday wish list.
Possessed Vantage Pro2 Seeing Rain That Isn't There
Jeff James's, Ogden Bench, Utah, Vantage Pro2 seemed to be seeing things. Like rain.
Here's his story:
"The first thing I did when I got home from work was to check the highest wind gust on my Vantage Pro2 console because we were having an episode of very strong easterly winds. To my surprise, the console showed that it was raining and the daily total was over twice my average yearly rainfall; yet there had been no rain all day! I went outside to check the rain collector and the cone was lying on the ground about 8 feet away. The exposed tipping mechanism was being moved by the strong wind, which kept adding to the 'imaginary rain storm total'!"
As we all know, those imaginary rain storms are the worst!
The tech tip here, of course, is to make sure your rain collector is turned solidly into the cleats. Jeff could have cleared the crazy data from that day by pushing the 2ND button on his console, then Rain Day, then holding down the CLEAR button until the console showed zero rain.
Weather Check Quiz Question 3:
How many times did the wind have to tip Jeff's Vantage Pro2 tipping spoons to register one inch of rain?
What if the station had been a Vantage Vue?
(Click here for answers.)
>> Back to Menu
I spy a davis weather station
Vantage Vue Oversees Team-USA's Comeback Win of America's Cup
Our own engineer Bob Jameson took a vacation day to take his grandson to see the exciting America's Cup race in San Francisco. He was not able to leave work too far behind, however, when he saw the Vantage Vue up on the pavilion at Americas's Cup Park.
Watching for Racing Weather
Tom Stolze, owner of four Vantage Pro2's, posted this photo on our Facebook page with this note:
"So I was at the NHRA MIdwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park last weekend and noticed a
on top of the big screen."
We love that the Vantage Vue has such a place of honor up there. And we are sure the racers loved having real time weather data as they tuned their engines for optimal performance.
Science Teachers Love Vantage Vue
Meteorologist John Marshall was at the New Jersey Science Teachers Convention. He was showing off his innovative program in which students become on-screen meteorologists. He brings the "studio" to the school and puts young forecasters on the blue screen during assemblies. Here science teacher, Ms. Matthews (with her co-star Vantage Vue) gives it a try. The convention was sponsored by the NJSTA.
>> Back to Menu
Just for fun
Did you just hear something? Sounded like the wind blowing a tree branch against the window? But the Vantage Pro2 console shows no wind at all. It's just days away from Halloween, so we know what it is. Ghosts.
Well, as it happens, ghosts are okay with us because they love a good thunderstorm as much as we do.
MysticalBlaze.com, apparitions are a form of energy. And thunderstorms are all about powerful energy. This means that during a thunderstorm it is a "highly conductive time to see ghosts." One theory is that ghosts can use the power from the electrically charged environment of the storm. Another is that the observer is also affected in a way that makes him more attuned to the "higher vibrational frequencies" of apparitions. (A third, not mentioned on MysticalBlaze, is that thunder keeps you awake and maybe a little nervous, causing your imagination to run free and fast as a lightning bolt.)
Either way, as long as you do your ghost hunting safely inside during a thunderstorm, we're all for it. Before you start however, you might want to check out The Shadowlands'
Ghost Weather Station.
It tells you about the current level of the sun's solar flare activity. You need to know this, according to The Shadowlands, because "research has shown us that during periods of heightened solar flare activity and geomagnetic activity in space, the amount of spirit activity increases. M class and X class flares are good sources of energy for the spirits to use to manifest."
You should also consider the moon phase. This Halloween, the moon will be a waning crescent, just a few days from a new moon, so the night will be nice and dark. According to The Shadowlands, this is good news because not only do spirits like a spooky dark night, geomagnetic fields also increase spirit activity and are strongest near new and full moons. (It would be nice to have a full moon on Halloween, wouldn't it? Well, we'll have to wait until 2020 for the next time that happens.)
The Making of a Ghost Town
We like a good ghost story as much as the next guy, and especially like the idea of ghost towns. Desolate, empty, maybe haunted -- what's not to love about a ghost town?
We are especially pleased to find that the weather (especially floods and droughts), not ghostly activity, has been the major player in the creation of many ghost towns. But alas, a really scary thing, human greed, and the boom and bust activity around gold, diamonds, coal, seal fur, whale blubber -- whatever -- is the prime maker of ghost towns.
Here in California with have the gold rush ghost town of Bodie, for example. A genuine "Wild West" town that once was home to thousands of gold prospectors, immigrants from China and Mexico, as well as gun slingers and prostitutes, is now said to be cursed and haunted. If you pick up so much as a nail on a visit to the California State Park, you may find your life turning sour until you return it. You can read about Bodie ghosts, such as the "heavyset Chinese woman" who tries to suffocate visitors, or the child ghost, Evelyn, along with some sound debunkings and interesting Bodie history on
Haunted Bay's web site and on the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry's
"Curse of Bodie" web page.
We'd love to see the "nature wins" boom-and-bust ghost town of
Kolmanskop, Namibia, where the Nabib desert is quickly taking back the town after the brief diamond rush that built it ended. The desert is simply pouring sand into the buildings, filling them to the ceiling.
Perhaps the creepiest of all ghost towns is Pripyat, in the former Soviet Union, abandoned after the explosion at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. Now, if you are brave and willing to be tested for radioactivity afterward, you can visit Pripyat and see what mother nature does when humans leave her with houses, churches, hospitals, schools, cars, and an amusement park to do with as she pleases. (To see images of these and other eerie ghost towns, check out the Weather Channel.com's photo essay, "9 Desolate Ghost Towns.")
And then, just to prove that weather truly does get the last laugh in ghost town stories, there's
Epecuen, a Buenos Aries lakeside spa. In the 1970s and '80s, people flocked there to float in the high-salt content lake and enjoy a healing spa-cation. Then came the storm of 1985. The dykes broke and people fled - leaving everything behind. It took only 20 days to submerge the town 10 meters (33 feet) below the surface to the lake. Now here's where it gets scary: 25 years later, the town rose from its watery grave like a phantom. A long drought has dried the lake and the city reemerged, spookily skeletized by the salty water. Now it's a tourist attraction for a totally different reason!
We hope your Halloween neighborhood is not in a ghost town, and that all your Halloween scares start with a bit of eerie knocking on the door and end with adorable princesses and super heroes saying "Trick or Treat!"
(Here's a little treat for ghost and weather fans: Hurricane Katrina figures highly in this spooky episode of
Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel.)
Weather Check Quiz Question 5:
To weather buffs in the US, the scariest Halloween ever was in 1991. Why?
A. NOAA National Weather Service experienced a power failure that took its computers offline for 48 minutes.
B. A plaque honoring
Cleveland Abbe, the "Father of the Weather Forecasting in America" at the Smithsonian Museum, fell from the wall and shattered, for no apparent reason.
C. The upper midwest US was hit by a brutal blizzard and ice storm, while the eastern seaboard was hit by a "Perfect Storm" nor 'easter.
Pig Spleen forecasting was made illegal in Wisconsin, Idaho, Ohio, and Nebraska.
(Click here for answers.)
>> Back to Menu
What do you think of the E-Newsletter? How can we improve? How do you use your Davis weather products? E-mail us at email@example.com.
ANSWERS TO QUIZ QUESTIONS
Question 1: Which of these dishes has Curtis had to learn to love because it is the dish Nayarit is known for?
B. Cucuraches de Camaron (Shrimp Cockroaches). Don't panic. It has no cockroaches, just shrimp.
No pickled eels with jalapeno. (Harry Potter might eat pickled eels when visiting Mexico, because he eats them at the Lucky Cauldron. However, the jalapeno version is as fictional as Harry. Real, non-fictional people in Japan, Italy, and Scandinavia do eat pickled eels -- even though eel blood is poisonous to humans.) No goat head ceviche. (Everyone loves ceviche, a citrus-marinated raw fish dish, especially in the coastal regions of Mexico. And goat head is loved by many carnivore humans. But not so much together in one dish.) And no squid ice cream. (Though if you really have a craving, head over to Japan, where the 39 flavors at the local ice cream shop might include squid, fish, octopus, eggplant, crab, shrimp, eel, wasabi, and chicken wing ice cream.)
Extra Credit: Even though it is usually warm in San Pancho, the winters can be very chilly, frequently dipping into the 40s°F (4 -10°C). True or false?
False. Why would Curtis and other ex-pats want to flee the cold winters up here in the US if it gets that cold there? An unusually cold winter day in San Pancho MIGHT get in the low 70s°F (low 20's°C).
>> Back to Menu
Question 2: Can you have a thunderstorm without rain?
Yes. Dry thunderstorms are rather common out here in the west where humidity is low and temps are high. Usually it is actually raining -- that rain just doesn't hit the ground. It is produced so high up in the sky, it evaporates as it falls. These storms are very good at starting fires....and at producing dry microbursts, sudden intense downdrafts that do not help firefighters deal with a wildfire started by the dry thunderstorm.
>> Back to Menu
Question 3: How many times did the wind have to tip Jeff's Vantage Pro2 tipping spoons to register one inch of rain? What if the station had been a Vantage Vue?
Kind of a tricky question! You can say 100 tips for both the Vantage Pro2 and Vantage Vue and be right, as long as you understand that in a Vantage Pro2 the tipping spoon is a double spoon, but in the Vantage Vue it's a single spoon
>> Back to Menu
Question 4: True or False: Sailboats can go faster than the wind pushing them.
True. Just ask Team Oracle, winners of this year's America's Cup, held right in Davis' back yard. Their boat could go not only faster than the wind speed, but up to THREE times faster, due to the amazing new technology of their rigid sails and hydrofoils, along with old amazing technology of multi-hulls and winged keels. The design causes the boat to lift, so it doesn't so much sail through the water as fly over it. These yachts have reached speeds of 47 knots (55 mph, 87 kph). See more in this story in the Telegraph.
>> Back to Menu
Question 5: To weather buffs in the US, the scariest Halloween ever was in 1991. Why?
C. The Halloween blizzard/ice storm wreaked cold havoc over the upper midwest US. The blizzard and ice storm killed 22 people and injured a hundred more. The three-day blizzard dropped a total of 28.4 inches of snow on the Twin Cities of Minnesota (the single storm record for the metropolitan record) and 36.9" inches on Duluth, the largest single snow storm total in Minnesota history. The concurrent "Perfect Storm" sunk a fishing boat, killing several fishermen off Massachusetts. Now that's scary.
>> Back to Menu
WHO YOU GONNA CALL?
Each month after the E-News goes out, we receive messages back. Sometimes the messages are in response to a story we shared; other times they are a request for help of some kind. We read all the emails, answer those we can, and pass the rest on to the appropriate departments. If you're interested in the fastest possible reply, firstname.lastname@example.org may not be the best place to send your message. Questions about how things work should be addressed to tech support directly at email@example.com. For general information about the products, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a catalog, see the links for catalog requests on our web site at www.davisnet.com/contact/catalog.asp.
What do you think of our E-news? Please continue to send your comments, weather URLs, and story suggestions to email@example.com. We look forward to getting your comments and any responses you have to the Davis E-News. Member participation is what keeps the Davis E-News alive and kicking.
Well, that's it for this edition. You'll be hearing from us again next month!
If you would like to receive the Weather Club e-newsletter via email every month, sign up now.
The Davis Weather Club E-Newsletter is published by Davis Instruments.
Vantage Connect, Vantage Vue, Vantage Pro2, Vantage Pro2 Plus, Vantage Pro, Vantage Pro Plus, Weather Monitor, Weather Wizard, WeatherLink, WeatherLink IP, Weather Envoy, and Perception are trademarks of Davis Instruments Corp.