Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Slither down the greasy pipe

Mr. Three et Monsieur Trois.

This is a blog entry about the weather. I have hit bottom, I know, but I have disgusting news.

Today my children and I and the neighbor child spent the whole afternoon in the backyard, playing pirate and digging compost and tilling the garden beds, drawing with chalk. It had to be 80 degrees. We were wearing tshirts.

So, I have this friend Anton, he's a meteorology postdoc. Among other things: if you ever meet him ask him about the whole Bolivian lost cities thing, or about tornadogenesis, or Peruvian frogs. I met him when he visited my museum to look at aerial photos of Andean glaciers that had been shot in the 1950's early 1930's and never printed (god knows how he and his partner knew about them, but the partner worked for the Air & Space Museum and may have had weird government information) (that's not true). Eventually I ended up taking him to the Ornithology Dept archives, tracking down maps of remote northeast Bolivia that had been hand-drawn on some bird-shooting expedition over a hundred years ago (could have been Chapman, could have been J. A. Allen in 1889).

The kind of guy you Google and you wonder what the fuck you've been doing with your own life.

Anyway, Anton is kind of snow-mad. He sends out email bulletins whenever something intense and wintry is about to transpire. He parses the National Weather Service alerts, reads between the lines, analyzes the same data in alternate ways, and delivers a very clear, detailed, sometimes footnoted picture of just how sleety, snowy, or freezing-rainy things are going to get, along with a large dose of yay-snow-ism.

Anton has saved my husband's reputation at least once. Bob used to be in the decision chain about whether to close the city schools for inclement weather, and, armed with Anton's information, he never looked like an idiot for closing schools for a flurry.

Here's what Anton has to say about our lovely weather today:
March, ever the month for extremes, is revving up for some smashing theatrics over the next several days. Today's sunshine has many inland locations warming into the 70s all the way to southern Maine -- and even 80s down in Washington. Yet just last week we experienced record late-season cold...

It may seem hard to believe, but we're about to descend into deep winter conditions once again. A strong cold front will press southwards across the Northeast tomorrow, setting the stage for what could become a significant snowstorm for much of the region on Friday into Saturday. At this point it is difficult to anticipate how the storm will evolve, which makes discussion on snowfall amounts of little value... but what can be said is that the overall setup is certainly quite promising.

The storm will also herald the onset of another serious cold wave. Far below normal temperatures, with possible near-record lows, are likely to persist for much of next week. Daytime temperatures will have trouble getting much above freezing starting on Saturday. There is another chance for snowfall on Monday.

I'll send out an update about Friday's storm potential tomorrow.

I love this guy, really - he could dine out for decades on his Spalding Grey story alone - but that thing about the storm looking "promising" just makes me want to go back to bed.