Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Phenology: Storm System

(Reclaimed from Bubblews.)

Today's weather news is that that storm system that pounded the Florida Panhandle has an edge, and once again southwestern Virginia is catching the edge of something nasty. Regular readers may remember a free-verse "poem" about this phenomenon I published years ago. Somebody else gets something deadly--we get rain. Lots of rain. Fungal blight, wood rot, major financial drain and mood dampener, but still, nothing life-threatening, just rain.

On Monday someone said a tornado warning was in effect, up here. This usually doesn't mean much of anything. Monday was typical. By the time I left the computer center it wasn't even raining. Oh, but on Tuesday (yesterday), in Tennessee, the weather was expected to be life-threatening! Both the neighbor with whom I often ride to the computer center, and the relative with whom I often ride back, had to be out in it! I couldn't do anything outdoors and wanted to be online all day, but what I got was a day at home, watching it rain and praying for these good men who were getting paid to drive out into the path of the tornadoes...Fortunately, all they actually got was a long drive in discouraging weather; more steamy humidity than actual rain.

Whether North America really gets more extreme weather than the rest of the world, or whether we just have an industry that's really good at reporting weather as extreme or likely to become extreme, I'm not sure.

Today's weather: Very damp; rain off and on; temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flowers: People who don't pay attention to these things might say the dogwood and redbud trees along Route 23 are past their peak. Actually some trees are starting to shed their blooms by now, but many are not. What I'm seeing today is that other tree blossoms are popping out, making the dogwoods and redbuds less conspicuous. The color called "spring green" has a lot of yellow in it because the views we're seeing have a lot of yellow, brown, even red and orange, as well as the buckeye blossoms in this picture. (The ones in the picture were frostbitten and dropped off the tree last week. We're seeing more of them on the trees now.) Other trees that have yellow, green, and brown blossoms include oak, sycamore, and tulip poplar.

At the Cat Sanctuary, irises haven't bloomed yet, daffodils have given up, my dandelions have peaked, and the predominant flowers in the yard are white violets. I found a Morguefile picture that looks a lot like one section of my yard/garden in the small "thumbnail" view (posted with the "Sweet Violets" Bubble). Close up, what are in the picture turn out to be English sweet violets, which have a lot of blue as well as white on the petals, and are known for their fragrance. White violets are almost pure white, and don't have much of a scent.

Birds: The most noticeable birds today were "rain crows"--American crows behaving the way they typically do on wet days, flying for short distances and then alighting. Probably flapping their wings helps them feel less damp! Marsh and shore birds are fun to watch in wet weather, but the route to this computer center does not lead through any marshes or along any shores. 

(Photo by Pippalou at