Archive for August, 2008

Tropical System Cloud Bands

When tropical systems have passed through leaving the inevitable wreckage and Yankees start whining about people that didn’t watch television or listen to the news and therefore couldn’t know the system was coming (because apparently po’ folks live deep in the Swamps without electricity or even batteries for their cell phones and suddenly, WHOOMPH! they’re in a hurricane), I have to laugh.

When you look up in the sky and see clouds like this,

then you know some tropical shit is comin’ your way. Now if you live so deep in the swamp you don’t have a sky, well, maybe that lil’ tropical system will remove the trees so’s your view ain’t blocked.

A beach provides a nice preview of upcoming weather attractions:

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Caylee’s Mother Out on Bail; Caylee Remains Missing

See the Orlando Sentinel for details.

Now everybody from the news stations will be anxiously awaiting to see the miraculous return of Caylee now that her momma is out of jail.

To me it looks like her list of suckers and enablers has gotten way, way longer. Wonder how many media outlets are bidding for an interview?

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Fay’s Main Rainfall Hasn’t Reached Northeast Florida (YET)

I hate to be one of those naggy people that always knows everything (and here is where the but is inserted) BUT the worst flooding I’ve experienced in NE Florida has been from slow-moving tropical storms and depressions in the big bend area of Florida. I’m afraid we’re going to have days of rain as Fay travels west. I know we haven’t seen a lot of wet stuff yet (my rain gauge just had 3.7 inches as of this morning). However, the ground is saturated here in my portion of northeast Florida from recent rains. There is already some wide but shallow puddling on area fields. There will be flooding, possibly severe, as the rains do arrive and, since the roots of even the giant oak trees have very shallow root systems, it won’t take much wind for those trees to start falling. If you have a choice in the matter, do not park under or near any trees.

If you are new to the area and do not know whether your property is subject to flooding, check with your county office or neighbors that live in the area. If nobody in your housing development is local and are from out of state or down state, Lord ha’ mercy, you are going to get a lesson on how quickly land turns back into swamp.

Update: The Daytona Beach people are wondering whether Fay is going to become a permanent fixture, much like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. That’s going to be tough on Bike Week and the Daytona 500. Maybe they can change it to boat week and have people yelling “show us your anchors”! As for Nascar, racing speed boats around the track would be nice.

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Tales from Kindergarten and First Grade

“Jeeeeeesus Christ, this is BULLshit!” said the cute little kindergarten boy with big brown eyes and a truculent expression. Papers and crayons had just been passed out to color circles in either red or blue, depending on the colors of the circles above the blank circles, the purpose of which is to work on developing pattern recognition and not to torture little kindergarten boys.

So far this week, I have been kicked, hit, spit at, had green snot sneezed all over me, had shoes thrown at me, and told how much I am hated. I’ve also been hugged, kissed, and told “I love you!” and, a high point, have not (yet) been thrown up on or had to change poopy pants. (These are developmentally delayed children; one is not “potty” trained.)

After explaining to the cute little kindergarten boy that first we do our work, then we play, he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “ain’t no bitch gonna tell ME what to do”.

Sigh. It’s gonna be a loooooong year.

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The Chronicles of the Obamessiah

If this space is blank, Google took the video down.

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Morning Weather Commute Headache: Dames Point Bridge is Closed

With Fay currently moving so slowly, it may be awhile before the Dames Point bridge opens again.  The winds were steady out of the north northeast with stronger gusts to the point where I would be hesitant to drive a high-profile vehicle such as a van over a high bridge with a wet road.

Update: Dames Point bridge opened again just in time for rush-hour traffic. Police officers will shut the bridges down on a case-by-case basis as wind speeds hit 40 m.p.h. Tourists in their RVs or towing their travel trailers being blown over the side of a bridge is bad for tourism and attracts lots of negative media attention. Yeah, I’m joking. We don’t get tourists in Jacksonville.

Afternoon Update: Oh, snap, Dames Point bridge closed again. Hope y’all have fun playin’ musical bridges on the way home from work tonight. Sorry, truck drivers. That’s what happens when you have to go through the River City.

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National Agricultural Summary 8/11 – 8/17/2008

Corn: Cool, mostly dry weather prevailed across the Corn Belt. Development of corn acreage to the silking stage reached 97 percent, lagging last year’s pace by 3 points and trailing the 5-year average by 2 points. Silking was complete or nearly complete in all States. Nearly half of the crop was at or beyond the dough stage by week’s end, 28 points behind last year and 19 points behind the average pace. Progress was behind the 5-year average in all States except Colorado and Michigan, where development to the dough stage was ahead by 12 and 18 points, respectively. Progress in North Dakota was 37 points behind the average pace of development to the dough stage. Fourteen percent of the national corn acreage reached the dent stage by week’s end, 24 points behind the previous year and 16 points behind normal. Acreage in Tennessee and North Carolina was most developed by week’s end, with 70 and 75 percent of the acreage, respectively, reaching or exceeding the dent stage. Condition of the corn crop remained unchanged nationally from last week’s 67 percent good to excellent rating. Changes in condition from last week at the State level ranged from an 11 point decrease in Wisconsin to an 11 point increase in North Carolina.

Soybeans: Blooming was nearly complete at 94 percent, 3 points behind last year and the 5-year average. Blooming was complete in Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Ohio. Acreage was blooming at or behind the normal pace in all States except Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. Three-fourths of the acreage was setting pods, 14 points behind last year and 12 points behind normal. Pod-setting occurred most rapidly in Kentucky and Minnesota, where 23 and 27 percent of the acreage set pods during the week, respectively. Nationally, condition of the crop declined 1 point from last week to 62 percent good to excellent.

Winter Wheat: Ninety-five percent of the winter wheat crop was harvested, 4 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. Harvest was complete or nearly complete in all States except Idaho, Montana, and Washington, where 30 percent or more of the crop remained unharvested.

Cotton: Several inches of rain fell in the central Delta and central Oklahoma. While California remained dry, light showers fell over central and East Texas and the Texas panhandle. In the Southeast, several inches of rain accompanied cooler-thannormal weather. Boll setting reached 84 percent, the same as last year but 5 points behind the 5-year average. In Louisiana and Oklahoma, major development occurred during the week, with at least 30 percent of the acreage advancing to the boll setting stage. Development in all States was within 9 points of the normal progress. Bolls were opening on 12 percent of the nation’s acreage, the same as last year but 1 point behind the 5-year average. Cotton condition improved 3 points from last week, reaching 48 percent good to excellent.

Sorghum: Cool weather prevailed in the nation’s midsection, while conditions were warm and dry in the West. Three-fourths of the sorghum acreage was headed, 11 points behind last year and 5 points behind the 5-year average. Thirty percent of Nebraska’s crop reached the heading stage during the week. Welcomed rains were received in Colorado and New Mexico, where heading was ahead of the average pace by 15 and 21 points, respectively. Nationally, 40 percent of the acreage was coloring, 6 points behind last year and 1 point behind the 5-year average. Twenty-six percent of the acreage was mature, the same as last year but 2 points ahead of the 5-year average. Louisiana and Texas acreage was most advanced with 87 and 59 percent mature, respectively. Condition ratings improved 4 points from the previous week, reaching 54 percent good to excellent.

Rice: Seventy-four percent of the acreage was headed, 14 points behind last year and 13 points behind the 5-year average. Nationwide, producers had harvested 8 percent of the rice crop. More than half of the Texas rice crop had been harvested. Harvest activity was limited to Louisiana and Texas. Condition of the rice crop was rated 72 percent good to excellent, unchanged from the previous week.

Small Grains: Barley producers had harvested 42 percent of the crop by week’s end, 33 points behind last year, 17 points behind the 5-year average. Producers had reaped 50 percent or more of the acreage in North Dakota and Washington. All barley-producing States were between 11 and 35 points
behind the average pace. Fifty-two percent of the barley crop was rated good to excellent, unchanged from last week’s rating. Oat harvest reached 74 percent complete, 14 points behind last year and 8 points behind the 5-year average. Progress was significantly behind the normal pace in Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Spring wheat acreage was 35 percent harvested, 32 points behind last year and 19 points behind the 5-year average. Harvest progress was most advanced in South Dakota, where nearly two-thirds of the crop was harvested. Condition of the crop was rated 56 percent good to excellent, 3 points better than the previous week.

Other Crops: Peanut pegging was 98 percent complete, 4 points ahead of last year and 1 point ahead of the 5-year average. Pegging was within 5 points of normal in all States. Condition ratings improved 5 points from last week to 62 percent good to excellent.

Source:  USDA

With many of the crops in the north behind schedule, an early winter could be disastrous for farmers.  In NE Florida, the weather patterns are more indicative of September or October than August.

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Blogging Will *Probably* Be Light for the Next Couple Days….

I work at the beach but live inland. Our daughter lives at the beach @ 45 minutes further south but works inland across the St. Johns. Her kids go to day care and Pre-K at the beach. Our former daughter in law and her husband both work across the St. Johns but live inland, and my granddaughter goes to school inland. My husband works inland near the Georgia line. Our son lives inland with various work locations.

This is the downside to hundreds of thousands of people commuting daily across the intracoastal waterway, the St. Johns river, or both. We’re all hoping that the storm and the models get together sometime overnight so that the forecast has some degree of accuracy, and none of us get suddenly stranded on the wrong side of a bridge and are unable to make it back home to our families.

In the meantime, I’m kinda/sorta preparing, or attempting to prepare. I got home late from work, completely exhausted after a long day back at school without time for breakfast, lunch, or even a pee break. After 8 hours on my feet at school, 40 minutes of aerobic exercise, picking up last-minute items at the Super Wal-Mart, driving home, feeding the livestock, doing some laundry, and cooking, I don’t really have much energy left, and 5 a.m. comes early. SwampMan was busy with school paperwork, and his storm preparation was limited to asking if I’d washed his underwear yet.

I’m trying to make sure the laundry is caught up as is the vacuuming, dishes, and freezing lots of ice as I’m not sure when the electricity will go out and for how long. Small pails filled with water make great chunks of ice to help keep the freezer cold when the electricity goes out. Plastic gallon bags partially filled with water make great ice packs to put around perishables in ice chests and can be used as drinking water when they melt.

Oh, snap. I forgot to pick up a propane tank for the grill, and there won’t be any left now. Dangit! I knew I’d forgotten something.

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Bloggers Searching Woods for Evidence of Caylee

Well, I’m certainly happy that area bloggers are taking the initiative in this. Yeah, I know this could contaminate the scene.  It doesn’t look as though anybody else is interested in the frustration and futility of searching for a tiny unmarked grave which will probably never be found.

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Florida: Casual Yet Serious Approach to Fay

I tuned into the Weather Channel this morning to check out the latest projected track and strength of Fay (which changes hourly) to hear one of the on-air people say that the Floridians were taking Fay casually yet seriously. 

That phrase reminds me of the invitations where the expected attire is listed.  When you get an invitation saying something like semi-formal, beach casual, or business casual, do you know what that means?  I never do.  For me, beach casual means a hat, full sunscreen, and long, baggy clothes covering as many extremities as comfortably possible due to the skin cancer that I had removed.  Other women receiving the identical information may show up wearing a thong.  Business casual, I suppose, would depend on the business.  What do “call girls” wear on casual Friday?  I have no idea.  If I receive an invitation that says “business casual”, I generally just toss it in the trash anyway.

Fay looks as though it’s going to be an inconvenience more than anything else.  Yeah, we’ll probably get a significant amount of rain and it looks like most of us have the possibility of tropical force winds which, with the shallow root systems of Florida trees combined with a few days of rain before the storm arrives, means lots of downed trees and power outages.  Once the winds hit 45 m.p.h., bridges will be closed, so schools will probably be closed as the storm progresses throughout Florida, depending on the strength and track of the storm. Tourists in areas with a possibility of being effected by storm winds will have to evacuate whether they like it or not for their own safety. 

So, Floridians are evaluating whether they need to board up the windows to protect against flying projectiles and deciding how much ice they’ll need to keep their food cold during the electrical outage.  We’ve been there and done that before.  At this point, it isn’t a big deal.

People new to the area need to know that tropical storms are scarier than they might think.

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