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Wednesday August 1, 2012

It’s August one. Do you know where your tropical formations are?


Thursday April 10, 2008

Forecasters are predicting the next hurricane season: 15 tropical storms, 8 hurricanes, 4 intense hurricanes. They’re doing it very sheepishly, though, because they know their predictions have been worth squat for years. Meanwhile, other scientists “worry that errors in the long-term predictions will undermine faith in real-time forecasts of actual storms.”


Wednesday March 12, 2008

This year’s winter is the hottest since 1932. (They’ve been keeping records in Miami only since 1895.)


Wednesday February 20, 2008

Total eclipse of the moon tonight. The action begins at 8:45 pm and the moon will be completely eclipsed from 10:01 to 10:51 pm. Hopefully not too many clouds to get in the way. For best results, get thee to the middle of the everglades or other wise away from major concentrations of light pollution.


Wednesday January 2, 2008

Keeping warm in sub-freezing Miami

43 degrees I’m always hot and sweaty, so on those few evenings every year when the temperature dips below 60°, my response is usually a bitter “too little too late,” and some attempt to enjoy the cold while it lasts. But when the outdoor feels-like temp starts to approach 30°, even I have to resort to some drastic measures, living as I do in an unheated and drafty apartment. My big discovery this year: ironing. Just so happens that I had a pile of recently-laundered but unironed shirts laying around, plus more stuff that stood to benefit from a freshen-up, and ironing is just the perfect get-warm and do-something-useful activity perfect for a freezing evening. Other tips for staying warm in a normally-temperate climate, in order of increasing effectiveness:

10. Hot baths The problem here is that you have to get out eventually.
9. Liquor No reason not to drink, and it may well keep you from dying if you fall into icy water, but sorry: booze does not actually make you feel less cold.
8. Layered clothing A necessary, but not really sufficient solution. Right now I’m wearing four layers (three long-sleeved), and while it’s better then nothing, I’m very far from snug.
7. Slippers Growing up, my parents would never let me walk around barefoot when it was the slightest bit cold. They had sort of a point. Of course nobody here has slippers, but two pairs of socks, or even sneakers indoors, can help.
6. Cuddling No particular explanation required, except that unless you’re wearing your slippers to bed, your toes will still have issues.
5. The hat thing You know how on all those survival shows they tell you that you looks 40% of your body heat through your head? They’re exaggerating, but still.
4. John Coltrane, Ascension “You could use this record to heat up the apartment on those cold winter days,” goes the famous quote, and it’s true. The only problem is that this is effective in proportion to the volume it’s played at, so on those cold nights your neighbors might not be happy if this is your only recourse.
3. Ironing As previously explained.
2. Tea Or any hot liquid. Soup, coffee, even hot water. Yum.
1. Suffer, baby Geez, it’s for what, 24 hours? People go for months sleeping on the streets of New York in the winter, looking for crappy grates that spit a little steam every few hours(?), and you can’t take one evening of discomfort? How about going for a nice brisk 2-hour walk for some perspective on the situation.

Update: Oh, and don’t go messing around with space heaters — you will burn down your house and die (The last line made me chuckle, too: “protect exposed pipes. Freezing temperatures can cause pipes in burst, especially those in unprotected areas” … like, huh? What am I supposed to do, wrap my pipes in blankets?)


Friday November 30, 2007

The tropical depressions live satellite map has been retired as per due to because of the end of hurricane season. See you next year, map! On a personal note, with the notable exception of Dean, the season was a bit of a let-down. Here’s to a more exiting season next year. (And more rainfall.)


Monday November 12, 2007 for Miami. An interactive website that gives you the weather and asks what you’re wearing. Explanation here.


Wednesday October 31, 2007

Noel’s rainbow, from this morning. It was gone by 10 am.


Monday October 29, 2007

cone noel

Dadies and lentlemen, no doubt you will be glad to find yourself back inside the snug cone of possibilities (click for kewl animation). ETA for peak of whatever weather’s coming to us is Wednesday afternoon, but note that I took the bike out a few minutes ago and was able to go a few blocks westward without pedaling, under wind power alone.


Sunday October 28, 2007

Tropical depression 16

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a cone. Tropical depression sixteen, on the verge of becoming a tropical storm. Update: Hope you didn’t get too exited there — the map as of 2pm has it turning Northeast. Upgraded to tropical storm Noel.


Tuesday September 18, 2007

A completely fascinating article about changes in the insurance industry which I haven’t finished reading yet but wanted to get out there.


Wednesday August 15, 2007

Dean veering south . . . things looking okay for now, with maybe some serious rain around this time next week.


Tuesday August 7, 2007

Tips for dealing with the summer heat

the sun

The Herald has tips for dealing with the summer heat. Don’t bother — it’s the usual stuff. Here’s some real advice (the comments are for what I’ve missed):


Tuesday July 24, 2007

For the past few nights I’ve actually been sleeping with the A/C off. It gets cranked back up to 11 during the day, but the weather has been great compared to last week. This is the time of year when Southeastern Florida is sometimes the coolest place in the country.


Tuesday July 17, 2007

The helpful folks at are always looking out for you. Next up is an alert system that will send you an e-mail, pager alert, or text message (your choice!) in the event of a hurricane or other warning situation. More about your choice: English, Spanish, or Creole! Kindly direct yourself to this only slightly user-hostile page if you’re interested.



Nice try boys, but South Florida doesn’t have earthquakes. And yes, it is possible to build a hurricane-proof building. The company my dad worked for had a data processing center right in the eye’s path during Andrew, and they went about their business like nothing happened; didn’t loose power for even a second.



Miami Art Exchange with a good writeup of Saturday’s art walk: part 1, part 2. At least one person had to go to the hospital from the heat.


Monday July 9, 2007

“It’s not like I’m irresponsible about sunstroke, bleeding to death, or skin cancer, though. E.g., I know now that when it’s 92 degrees with matching humidity, it’s vital to remain hydrated: drink liquids! That’s why I always take breaks every 40 minutes or so to pound a cold beer.” — Steve Klotz mows his lawn.


Wednesday July 4, 2007

The 4th: It’s official — the afternoon will be a washout. Rains starting later this morning, heavy by the late afternoon, and scattered crazy thunderstorms.


Monday June 25, 2007

Hey kids, it’s Lightning awareness week! Stop by every morning for the next few days for fascinating information about this mysterious force, and helpful tips for staying safe. Lesson #1: Lightning can strike without warning out of a clear, rainless, and cloudless sky and kill your ass instantly. Bonus fact: Florida is #1 in the nation for lightning deaths.


Monday June 4, 2007

Get ready for hurricane season 2007

hurricane tracking chart Hurricane season began Friday, and goes through the end of November. No worries, though — this chart has things staying at a low simmer until around August, and peak of the season is in early September. But the beginning of June is important conceptually, because it’s a good time to at least start thinking about the storms. This survey found that more then half the people living in hurricane strike-zones don’t feel vulnerable, and haven’t done anything to prepare.

Well, as someone who lived through Andrew, I can safely (har!) tell you that you are vulnerable. And on the other hand: relax, people. It’s not the end of the world. Your chances of dying are vanishingly small, especially if you’re not a knucklehead who decided to go for a drive during a storm. Your property damage is covered by insurance. For the most part, hurricane season consists of watching storms whiz through the Atlantic, betting on who they’ll hit and when. When one comes close it generates a lot more in exited preparation, days off from work, and hurricane-party intoxication then it does in actual violence. Chill out, people — hurricane season is fun.

Having said that, I do recommend getting into the hurricane frame of mind. Here’s a hurricane crib-sheet to catch you up on the physics of a storm. Here’s the Red Cross hurricane preparedness style guide. Here’s NOAA’s think-piece about harvesting the energy of hurricanes. Oh, and click the retro-chic hurricane tracking map above for NOAA’s home page, with your daily official predictions. But don’t sweat it. If you want, get yourself some plywood or shutters if you don’t have them already (you don’t want to be one of those fools on TV standing in a Home Depot line for three hours and then going home empty-handed, now do you?). Pick up some basic supplies. And keep a stray eye on the news. For your convenience, I added live satellite imagery to the sidebar. Now hurry up and relax.


Wednesday May 30, 2007


Tornado in downtown Miami, May 12, 1997. (via Rakontur, via SDoFB)


Wednesday May 23, 2007

Here come the hurricanes, 2007

2007 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook - 3 to 5 major hurricanes, 75% chance of above-normal season So you thought the rate at which housing prices are falling was slowing down? Well, here’s just what the doctor ordered to keep it moving along: a nice and busy hurricane season. The NOOA’s official hurricane predictions are out, and here’s the scoop: 75% chance of an above-average hurricane season, 13 to 17 named storms and 7 to 10 hurricanes, 3 to 5 of which will be major.

I just heard Al Roker say there’s a 100% chance of landfall of at least one hurricane, which is of course stupid. He was misquoting from the full report, which actually says:

While NOAA does not make an official seasonal hurricane landfall forecast, the historical probability for multiple hurricane strikes in the United States increases sharply for hyperactive seasons. For the U.S., all hyperactive seasons since 1950 have had at least one hurricane strike, 92% have had at least 2 hurricane strikes, and 58% have had at least 3 hurricane strikes. For the eastern seaboard of the United States, 92% of hyperactive seasons have had at least one hurricane strike, and 42% have had at least two hurricane strikes. For the Gulf Coast region of the United States, 83% of hyperactive seasons have had at least one hurricane strike, and 58% have had at least two hurricane strikes.

(Click the links if yr be enjoying bar graphs of doomz and destruction! (Note to NOOA: Blind people care about hurricanes too. Please to be making your graphs accessible in the futur.)) I’ll say this again for the skeptics: we’re in the middle of a 10-year run of strong hurricane seasons. Last year El Niño came along and unexpectedly bailed us out. No such luck this year. In fact, there is a chance of La Niña forming, and La Niña actually makes hurricane seasons worse (not joking), so the above predictions could turn out to be low. Good times.

Here’s my favorite bit: NOOA calculates something called the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index: “The ACE index is a wind energy index, defined as the sum of the squares of the maximum sustained surface wind speed (knots) measured every six hours for all named systems while they are at least tropical storm strength.” Got that? Well, for 2007, the ACE index is predicted at 125% to 210% of the median. In other words, brace yourselves kids.


Monday May 21, 2007

Saturday’s storm.


Friday May 11, 2007

The Florida Division of Forestry’s map of existing Florida wildfires (updated daily). Yikes!


Wednesday May 9, 2007

The smoke’s plans for today are to fade out by the afternoon and then return in the evening. (via TV)


Tuesday May 8, 2007

A thought: if today’s high is 78° and the water restrictions make it illegal to set your thermostat any lower then 78,° does that mean that no air conditioner in Miami will even kick on today??


Thursday May 3, 2007

Holy crap: Part of the water restrictions is that large buildings can’t be any cooler then 78 degrees. That includes office buildings, shopping malls, government buildings, and even the common areas of condominiums. The only thing exempt is homes. Yikes!! (via KaiB)


Sunday March 18, 2007

Heavy weather

I love Miami weather. This was around 10 am Friday, I-95. After an hour or two everything cleared up, and the afternoon was calm, cool, and wonderful.


Tuesday January 2, 2007

Meterological question: The Gulf Stream only happens in some years. It’s happening right now, and which is why the hurricane season was so uneventful. But is that also why the winter so far has been so warm? Update: I completely bungled this question — I got my El Niño confused with my Gulf Stream. See comments for more information, and the answer.


Wednesday September 20, 2006

Some cranky guy bemoans the death of traffic reports done live from helicopters. Possibly related: Forecast Advisor links to various online weather predictions, and more importantly, lists how accurate each one has been over the last month and year. This type of information should be available for TV station weather. And radio traffic reports!


Monday September 11, 2006

El Niño might signal end of hurricane season. Could also be accounting for why the hurricane season has been pretty unimpressive this year; something to do with cross-winds shearing and sort of tearing storms apart as they try to form. Confusing, and apparently the formation of El Niño right now is sort of a freak occurrence, so maybe back to 2005-type storm season next year. (thanks, Skip)


Monday August 28, 2006

The Critical Miami guide to hurricane shopping

food is delicious

It’s insane out there. I just got back from Publix, where the parking lot was choked up, more cars were coming in then leaving, and people were either at each other’s throats or being creepily nice (the guy in front of me offered me nuts he was munching on). I only went to get some fun stuff, thinking it’d be empty, but of course I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Anyway, y’all need to relax. It’s a hurricane. You’re going to live. Stop shopping like it’s the end of civilization, and buy stuff that’ll help you have fun during and after the storm. From the picture above, and in no particular order:

  1. Whole wheat pita and beans: I had a batch of Miami Hummus in the fridge, so I decided to add some beans, garlic, and oil to it to bulk it up. This, plus the pita, is a decent staple. Unrefrigerated hummus will keep for a few days.
  2. Juice: I normally buy juices and mix them with seltzer. If the power’s out water will work, since room temperature seltzer is kind of nasty. Like Rebecca says, though, just fill up some pitchers before the storm, and you’ll have plenty of water (plus if you haven’t bought it by now it’s too late anyway).
  3. Booze: I’ve opted for a couple of bottles of Shiraz and a big bottle of Bushmill’s. Both work great at room temperature.
  4. Extra sharp chedar: You want to be sticking with the hard cheeses—anything soft will spoil (ever tried eating brie that’s been out overnight? Yikes!). Plus, it goes great with the wine.
  5. Tomatoes: I got the delicious ones on the vine. Any veggies that can be eaten raw would work, though.
  6. Yuca: I might feel motivated enough to cook this up tomorrow morning, and do up some olive oil and garlic to go with it.
  7. Coconut, avocado: more fun stuff from the produce isle. Cracking open and eating a coconut sort of makes anything feel like a celebration.
  8. Candles: I’m required by the Responsible Blogging Act of 2003 to tell you to use a flashlight, because you will burn down your home if you light a candle during a storm. But for myself, I rather like the candles. Plus reading by flashlight is a little jr-high for me. All the good hurricane candles in tall jars were gone, of course, and I can’t abide scented. Luckily I found these awesome Kosher candles. 72 to a box!

That’s it; there’s plenty of other stuff in the house. Plust, last year I didn’t even loose power. Bonus tip: if you have a hand-basket, you can pile as much stuff as you want in it, and they’ll let you slide at the express lane, regardless of how many items it is. How’s everyone else’s day going?


Friday August 25, 2006

Tropical storm probabilities show south florida in the outer cone

Ladies and gents, I give you Tropical Depression Five He doesn’t look like much, but by the time you read this his name might be ‘Ernesto.’ Didn’t I just say things were going to get dicey? Ok, this one doesn’t look so tough. But what about the next one? This would be a good time to grab a NHC RSS feed.


Monday July 31, 2006

African dust settled over our city is apparently causing rosy sunsets and milky daytime skies. Didn’t notice anything this weekend, but I’ll watch for it tonight.



The heart of the hurricane season is about to begin. And meteorologists still expect it to be a powerhouse, unless El Niño rides to an unexpected rescue. Get ready, y’all! (via Pulp)


Monday July 3, 2006


A nifty, and hair-raising, animation of the 5 hurricane categories. How much for a hotel room in Atlanta until the end of hurricane season? (via hiddencity)


Sunday June 11, 2006

alberto tropical force probability graph includes south florida

Alberto doesn’t look like much, but it’s good to see that we’ll have hurricanes to kick around again.


Monday May 15, 2006

Heavy weather today. I heard reports of hail, and although I didn’t see it, here on the Beach I saw quite a few big branches down, and the power is out around Lincoln and Alton. Update: 30,000 people lost power, damage to the Opa-locka airport. Update: Dang – same thing in north Dade. Sorry, but the rainy season is fun. Update: The Herald gets all dramatic about it (replete with an 11:31 pm post time, and talking about “tomorrow” like it was “today” . . .).